Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer': Has The Video Stood The Test Of Time?
On This day in 1987, Peter Gabriel cleaned up at the MTV Awards, winning best video, best male video, best concept video, best special effects and five other awards for the track "Sledgehammer". It still holds the record for the most awards won by a single video. Thirty five years later, the song itself has most definitely stood the test of time but what about the video?
Directed by Stephen R. Johnson, produced by Adam Whittaker, the video features then state-of-the-art innovations like claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation provided by Aardman Animations and the Brothers Quay. Many of these techniques had been employed in earlier music videos, such as Talking Heads' 1985 hit "Road to Nowhere", also directed by Johnson.
The video was no easy task for not just the directors, producers and animators, but Peter Gabriel himself, who lay under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video one frame at a time. "It took a lot of hard work," Gabriel recalled. "I was thinking at the time, 'If anyone wants to try and copy this video, good luck to them."
Let's give the video another look and find out if it's stood the test of time or has aged like a bad banana. Wait a minute. Aren't there bananas in this video? I think so! Hard to remember it's been so long. Then again, who could forget those dancing chickens?
I say it's still a pretty damn good video and has stood the test of time. Would it blow minds today the way it did back in 1987? No. But I don't think it would be laughed off of YouTube if it were to have dropped in 2022.
So, what do you think? Let me know if the comments section below and, for you Peter Grabriel fans, I think you'll dig episode 20 of Booked On Rock, featuring Graeme Scarfe, author of "Peter Gabriel: Every Album, Every Song":