Music History

Can You Solve This Music Video Mystery? [UPDATE: SOLVED!]

I often get emails from people asking for help in identifying a certain song from the past. My success rate is decent–if you can call 50% decent–but then I run into situations like this. I feel as if I should know the music video described in Kevin’s email, but it escapes me. But since I hate to leave musical mysteries unsolved, I turn to you, dear reader, appealing for help. Can you identify the song/band/video/link?

I first heard the song on 102.1 CFNY-FM (“The Spirit Of Radio” still being used) in the spring/summer of 1984 and then saw the video top the ‘CHUM 30 Countdown’ on CITY-TV on Labour Day Weekend. Whoever the name of the artist is I could recall because Gord James kept saying over the bumper “Coming up next, videos by [name], [name] and [these guys]” and I wanted to see this video*. So since viewers were teased throughout the hour this artist/band hit #1 in Toronto on modern rock AND general pop radio and airing near the end of the countdown was not filler or some new and noteworthy release (don’t think that station messed around with Seacrest-esque BS!). With that, I cannot say whether the artist/group is/are Canadian or not and therefore how many music experts out there might know what I’m talking about.

Vocals were sung by one or several female vocalists and musically would be new wave/dance-pop—very trendy for the ’80s. The promo music video was shot on videotape, not film; it was in colour, clear, real-time and all too immediate, possibly low budget. Don’t remember performance/miming segments and whether anyone lip-synced, mostly drama/acting: a man is on an operating table surrounded by nurses and surgeons (band members?) and a low-angle patient POV camera catches them maniacally gathering over him. Early on viewers see a broken line and “Cut here” instructions written in marker on the patient’s forehead. After using tools to drill in various (impossible) objects are removed from the patient. The surgery ends and the camera hovers over the patient who is dazed and a blue/green chromakey effect on his forehead appears to show water swirling in a vortex (in his open head) to which the camera zooms in before cutting to another segment.

The only words I can recall might be “stainless” and/or “steel” at the start of the verses; may be way off though.

It is NOT “When The Lady Smiles” by Golden Earring despite having a surreal brain surgery sequence in an otherwise adult-content music video that probably wouldn’t be shown on daytime TV. That video was also shot on film, and after watching it on YouTube I didn’t see any video suggestions matching themes, content or release date to go explore further. I found a list on a website of the top 50 albums of 1984 by artists your former radio station would’ve spun but the more obscure names I saw didn’t match my recollections (although I did rediscover Sherry “I Want You Back” Kean and “My Soul Unwraps Tonight” by Savage Progress, which was also shot on video, may be inappropriate for sensitive children).

If any of this rings a bell or you know someone who might have been there I greatly appreciate anybody who can help me out here.
Thank you so very much!
– Kevin

*P.S.: I regretted wanting to see the video after it started showing; the freakiest nightmare fuel for this 7 year-old (and my parents successfully prevented me from seeing the notorious “Thriller” vid)!

UPDATE: Mystery solved. It’s Eva Everything thing and her 1984 single, “Painless.” I wouldn’t have got this in a million years. Karen provided the answer in the comments section below while Paul posted the answer on Facebook. Thanks for all the help!

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38431 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “Can You Solve This Music Video Mystery? [UPDATE: SOLVED!]

    • That is the one; thank you!

  • Hey Alan, This sounds very familiar, I recall a video with items like a tuba being removed from a patient. The closest I can come up with at the moment is Afternoons and Coffeespoons by the Crash Test Dummies. Let me know when you get to the bottom of this one; I’d be curious to find out what it is.



Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.