As we continue our occasional returns to music videos of the 1980s, I present one by Stray Cats that you probably haven’t seen before. In 1985, EMI released a “Video 45” VHS tape of the band’s four US top-40 hits to date. Three of them were well-known chart-toppers. Stray Cat Strut and Rock This Town got the band its first serious US exposure when they hit #3 and #9 respectively on the Billboard chart in 1982. A year later, (She’s) Sexy + 17 reached #5. Also in 1983, one more Stray Cats tune peaked at #35.
I Won’t Stand in Your Way by Brian Setzer sounds as if it had been written in 1959. The doo-wop harmonies mingle with the band’s signature three-piece style. (In fact, the flip side to the single had the same song recorded in doo-wop a cappella.) As with the best from that period, Setzer’s lyrics and performance add plenty of emotional depth.
Peter Heath, directing his first music video, did a magnificent job of using a few vintage vehicles and a lot of dark street scenes to take us back to 1959 New York. A young, shirtless Setzer looks vulnerable and dedicated during his guitar solo. Only one blatant anachronism always bugs me when I watch this, but the rest of it is so moody and so well crafted that I can’t help but overlook it. Enjoy the ride.