A very interesting piece of video cropped up today in my inbox, I wanted to share it immediately. As you might remember, 1987 was a very turbulent year in the band’s history. The album that came out that year (The Eternal Idol) turned out to be a quite solid release, despite it’s gestational nightmare. In late October of 1987, the band turned up at Docklands in London to shoot a music video for “The Shining”, which was the first single off the new album. But even that was difficult. At that point in the band’s history, they didn’t have an actual bassist, and as such a “stand-in” was used (more on him later). But beyond that, not much else was known about the video shoot. Until today.
The video that cropped up is a fascinating seven minute look into the making of a Black Sabbath video. This was shot by a fellow on Youtube that goes by the name of “BillyKarloff”, who at the time was working for the production company who made the video. He said in Youtube user comments that he was there those two days, and shot a bunch of behind the scenes stuff on Hi8 home video, and edited it together recently. There’s not a ton of very clearly audible talking, but you can get a feel as to how things proceeded.
L-R: Unknown Bassist, Tony Martin, Tony Iommi, Terry Chimes, Geoff Nicholls. Given the tour (short as it was) for the Eternal Idol had Jo Burt on bass, and he wasn’t here for the video, he hadn’t come on board yet. The first date of the tour was November 22nd, so there’s plenty of time to pick up Mr. Burt. The guy in this video though is still unknown. I’ve written about that guy a few times over the years, but this seems like a good time to repeat what I’ve said about him before.
Speaking of the video for The Shining, here’s an amusing piece of trivia. Given the upheaval in personnel in 1987, when it came time to shoot a video for “The Shining”, the band had no actual bassist there on the day. In a bit of a panic, the band ended up pulling a complete unknown off the street to stand in for the video shoot. Tony Martin elaborates a bit on this:
The bassist on the video was some guy that we pulled in off the street. He was actually a guitarist, and he just stood in for the video. When the shoot was finished he asked if he could audition for the bass player position, but when we tried him out he just didn’t cut it. So back out on the street he went. He kept saying that he was a reincarnate red Indian, and that his spirit guide was some famous chief!!!! But that’s his claim to fame, I bet NOBODY believes him, can you imagine just getting shoved in off the street to audition for Sabbath. then getting kicked back out the door!!!
I asked the guy who posted this video if they happened to say who the guy was, and he said he didn’t know what the dude’s name was. I’d like to hope some day the guy in question would see this, and contact me. But I won’t hold my breath. :)
The guy who posted the video also told me a few other factoids about the video shoot:
- The fellow who shot the video was Roger Charity. Previous to this, he’d done only still video shoots before, this was his first video work.
- The guy with the flying jacket in the crew is Haydn Gridley he was the assistant director and passed away some years ago.
- The guy with the baseball jacket on is Guy Sinclaire the producer and owner of The Sinclair Company, who produced it, at the time.
- The girls with the birds in the finished promo where shot in a studio just off Oxford Street London owned by The Sinclair Company.
- The final composition of the promo was done at Complete Video Covent Garden London.
- We finished filming at 4am in the morning, it was shot in a disused warehouse in Docklands London before the area was developed into what it is now.
This is some really nice detail on a piece of Sabbath history that I’ve never heard of before. A big thanks to BillyKarloff for filling in some detail here.
Check out his behind the scenes the video below, and if you’ve never seen the actual music video before, check it out on Youtube. You might also want to read the “20th anniversary look back” at the Eternal Idol album I posted a few years back. It’s still a good piece on an album that’s mostly forgotten about in Black Sabbath lore.