While this is indeed one of my all time favorite Elton John songs, it’s not the song I’m concerned with here. As I’m sure you figured out by now, I am part of the generation that MTV was created for (which is why I find it such a pity that the channel turns my stomach now). Watching music videos was a fine way to spend an afternoon in my teenage years. And the video for “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” is still one of my favorites. And one of the best, I think.
Now this is obviously not a technical or special effects wonder. Nor is it provocative or controversial. It’s just a little love story, with a happy ending I might add. But it is well done. The director and artistic people obviously paid attention to detail in creating the atmosphere. The switch from black & white to color adds to the mood. And the actors are actually acting (say that five times fast). It’s a short film, with plot and action and all the things that people didn’t believe music videos possessed. “I Guess. . .” came out in 1983, the same year the video for “Thriller” was released and rewrote the music video rulebook. Music videos had been required for commercial success for a year or two by this point, and artists were just beginning to see their potential. Videos were becoming more than just a vehicle for selling singles; they were becoming entertainment in and of themselves. Elton John understood that pretty quickly and made videos that complemented his songs. The story of the song and the video mesh perfectly with “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.”
It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I cry every time I watch it.