This is Takin’ 5, in which Y,WGAV! takes a category, runs with it, and compiles the top 5 videos relating back to that category. Simple enough? Thought so.
Let’s kick off with today’s category. We’re looking at cameos – they happen all the time in movies, where you swear you can see a familiar face. Happens all the time in music videos, too; as you will soon find out with this top five.
5. Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
Cameo: Chevy Chase
The comedic actor was part of the reason this solo number from one half of Simon & Garfunkel was such a hit. As Chase and Simon sit together in what appears to be a waiting room, Chase delivers a highly animated lip-sync interpretation of the lyrics as the man who actually sang the song twiddles his thumbs and offers half-hearted backing vocals during the chorus. Hilarious and timeless in its humour, this is easily one of the more unforgettable things either one has done.
4. The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
Cameo: Kate Moss
She might have wasted a year or three on smack with Pete Doherty, but Moss’ sexiness was at its most insurmountable peak at the time of filming this. Gorgeous in its black and white cinematography and perfectly choreographed to fit Jack’s twangy guitar and bluesy howls, this was a part of the trifecta of video clip smashes from the band’s Elephant record that also included Seven Nation Army and The Hardest Button To Button. Gotta love those Whites.
3. P. Diddy – Bad Boy for Life
Cameos: Ben Stiller, Dave Navarro, Travis Barker, Ma$e, Crazy Town and most of the artists on Bad Boy Records at the time
Diddy’s recent comedic turn in the hilarious Get Him to The Greek shouldn’t be a revelation to those in the know – for the tough guy persona he is known all too well for, he sure does have a sense of humour about him. Look no further than this ridiculously catchy cut from 2001’s The Saga Continues…, in which the Bad Boy family move into an upper-class suburban neighbourhood andvwreck total havoc. While Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and blink-182 drummer Travis Barker jam in Diddy’s garage, the man himself is up on the roof of his new house, driving golfballs into the window of his neighbour – who just so happens to be comedian Ben Stiller. There’s a lot to see and do on this video, so there’s not much left to say except to enjoy it. We can’t be stopped now!
2. Fatboy Slim feat. Bootsy Collins – Weapon of Choice
Cameo: Christopher Walken
Perhaps the defining “cameo” video of the early 2000s and arguably the best-known video of Norman Cook’s career. It was this video and this video alone that saved Fatboy’s second album, Halfway Between The Gutter and The Stars, from being a total commercial bomb. There is nothing more to the video than the fact that you get to see Christopher Walken, one of the greatest film actors and general badasses of our time, dancing joyously around an expensive-looking hotel and, in one very special moment of the video, flies through the air. I repeat: Christopher Walken flies through the fucking air. Oh my God. An absolute joy, this is a triumph of music video making. Hell, it’s videos like this that made me want to start a blog like this to begin with.
1. Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down
Cameos: Too many to mention!
With the first posthumous addition to the Johnny Cash discography, director Peter Kaye decided to send off Cash with a star-studded, black-and-white tribute. Although a word isn’t spoken, the expressions on the faces of everyone from Kanye West to Johnny Depp says it all – we are all sinners, we are all human and we are all equal. It’s a grim video, and it needs to be watched several times away from the “hey, I know that person” vibe. Even so, it’s a fitting homage to one of the darkest and most important songwriters of all time.