music video – early beginnings

Already in 1894 people started looking for a way to further support sound through imagery. One of the first was George Thomas, who tried to combine sound – of a live performance – with projected images. The first video ever created – or rather called a „sound film“ – was directed by Theodore Case made in New York in 1921. The film depicts Gus Visser singing the song „Ma, He’s Making Eyes at Me“ while holding a duck. The duck quacks each time the word „Ma“ is said, sounding as if she is saying „Ma“.

The era of the silent cinema so seemed to have come to an end and a whole new industry started to develop. As this experiment with sound and film got more popular, also a lot of critics came along. At the time lots of film theorists claimed that cinema ended at this transition. For others this was a necessary step to endure through and to try to understand how sound could affect the moving image. Continuing with the recording of live performances, 1966 is slowly started to explore more options in the cinematic language realm. For example Bob Dylan with Subterranean Homesick Blues as probably the first Lyric Video ever made.

In 1967 the Beatles started to take a step further together with the director Peter Goldman. With Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane they finally started using avant garde techniques in music films, that were already well-known in cinema production for many years.

Many more artists finally started to experiment more with the correlation of music and film. Between 1968 and 1974 artists like Pink Floyd, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, among others, also started working together with directors and other creatives to explore the possibilities of the „music video“, leaving the medium radio and silent cinema behind.

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