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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Making of "Touch the Night" Music Video by Tim Pope

Frames from "Touch the Night" -
Neil Young Music Video directed by Tim Pope

Last year, we did a post on the making of the "Wonderin'" video by director Tim Pope which was a little journey through the past. Recently, we did the Ten Random Neil Young Videos That Showcase His Range and Depth, and thought it might be a good time to take another look at of one Tim Pope's videos for Landing on Water: "Touch the Night".

"Touch the Night" is a brilliant single shot* video with Neil as the hapless "action TV reporter" which is almost too real in it's fake newsiness.

From article in Millimeter (March 1987) by Jim Farber on the Landing on Water music videos with Young's portrayals representing different aspects of the American character, including:
- a drunk Elvis impersonator who drowns in a swimming pool (Weight of the World),
- a tap dancer who has a problem with dog droppings ( People on the Street)
- a pig farmer with a history of incest (Drifter),
- a loner who wanders off into a nuclear testing zone and turns into the Lone Ranger (Violent Side)
- an obnoxious TV reporter chirply covering a grisly highway accident (Touch the Night)

Regarding the "Touch the Night" music video, the "unexpected context for its violence takes the banality of TV news splatter and puts the sting back in."

From Tim Pope blog on making video of "Touch the Night":
"i only decided to use the ambience of the live sound later to make things feel edgier. similarly, i shot on video and hanheld camera to make things real and edgy. considering i had not, at this time, watched too much yank t.v., not a bad parody, i'd say and perhaps even foerunner to cop reality shows you now see two-a-penny. the mustachioed cop and the other were real cops and this for me was a real eye-opener, culturally - that cops in america could 'act cops' just as well as actors could. i believe we were the first people after sly stallone to close down a freeway for filming purposes whey-hey!"

Watch video of "Touch the Night".

Also, see Tim Pope: Making "Wonderin'" Video with Neil Young.

Also, see Ten Random Neil Young Videos That Showcase His Range and Depth.


At 2/24/2010 09:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumours that Neil Young will feature in the Olympics closing ceremony.

At 2/24/2010 10:02:00 AM, Anonymous Where Only Misfits Can Roam said...

I always was interested in these videos. I thought Neil was always lampooning other musical 80's acts in them or other bits of 80's culture.
I saw a bit of the band Taco in the video for People on the Street.
I thought the character in Pressure reminded me of David Byrne's in Once in a Lifetime.
The reporter in Touch The Night is an excellent portrayal of TV media.
I've never seen the videos for Violent Side or Drifter, but I am intrigued.

At 2/24/2010 10:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't anybody notice that two members of the Canadian Hockey team are called Crosby / Nash?
Gives me the feeling someone is missing there…
that's probably why they lost from the USA

Peter Dees (Holland)

At 2/24/2010 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous punkdavid said...

I love Neil's 80's videos. I can't wait to get clean versions on future Archives sets.

Touch The Night is the best. I really got my appreciation for that song from the Feb 1984 Crazy Horse Catalyst shows though. 10 minute jams with the Horse are what that song should have been.

At 2/24/2010 11:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, is that Timothy Huttons' brother in the "Touch the Night" video? Timothy had a lot to do with Neils' "Freedom" album. Also, Timothy sang "Heart of Gold" with a caveman in a movie who's title escapes me right now. Also too, the film "Made in Heaven", another Hutton film, has Neil as a truck driver in it. Hasn't been released on DVD yet. Wonderin' why...

At 2/24/2010 11:47:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

These are all great videos... but there is one that I really love and I think would fit perfectly in the 'range and depth' thing. It features Neil Young as a grizzled, dirty gas station attendant in a dusty, run-down old town.

"This Town", from Broken Arrow (ca. 1996)...

I think it's here:

Also directed by Tim Pope (I had no idea). I love this song, and this video. It's just so Neil, and once again, in character.

At 2/24/2010 12:46:00 PM, Blogger The Loner said...

This reminds me that it is time for listening to Landing on Water again. The album is not that bad after all, is it?

At 2/25/2010 07:42:00 AM, Blogger Grandmaster T said...

I couldn't help but include "The Drifter" from Landing on Water in my radioshow/podcast "Palace in the Gravy- Very Best and Worst of Neil Young". What a great song from a delightfully odd-duck of an album. here's the podcast:

and yes, I love the video for "this town. great technique from mr pope -and of course, Neil is classic

At 2/25/2010 12:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my surprise the film "Made in Heaven" is out on DVD. So I ordered my copy today. Neils' song "We never danced" is the soul of the film. And he's in it too.
Amazon has some nice reviews too of Neil fans who know about this amazing film. A must have if you dig Mr. Young.

At 2/26/2010 02:49:00 AM, Anonymous Al said...

@ Peter Dees...

The commentator here in the UK during the Canada v USA hockey match metioned Crosby and Nash playing for Canada and said it was a shame Stills and Young weren't in the squad too. Made me smile...

At 1/01/2022 08:15:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

Tweck9, that video for This Town is fantastic. Almost better than Touch the Night! It's not at Pope's website anymore but they're on the Neil Young Archives website. I never really noticed how many videos are right there on the songs in the cabinets. Pressure is pretty freaking hilarious too. They're so amazing to go through and watch. Back in my day you had to sit in front of the MTV for five hours praying to see your favourite video, or really even any good one. The videos on NYA even have super crappy sound to simulate watching it on a 13 inch dorm room TV. If you click on the same song on the same card it sounds great but on the video it sounds totally 80's


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