10 Excellent Pre-MTV Music Videos

To commemorate the space shuttle Atlantis’s return from its final mission, Boing Boing posted the music video for David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” It’s a great and weird clip, featuring Bowie as a retro-futurist, silver-clad astronaut gyrating through space. And he’s also ground control, which you can tell because he’s wearing a red baseball cap that says “GC.” Then there are some girls with big hair, who don’t appear to be astronauts. Anyway, it got us thinking about how much we love stumbling upon music videos from the days before MTV, when the medium was new and unpolished. Ten of our favorites, including everyone from the Beatles and the Stones to ’60s French pop and Devo, are after the jump.

David Bowie — “Life on Mars?” (1973)

“Space Oddity” (which was directed by Mick Rock and accompanied the song’s 1972 US re-release) was hardly David Bowie’s only pre-MTV foray into music videos. Always an early adopter, he made several elaborate video promos for singles in the ’70s, all of which are collected on his 2002 DVD anthology Best of Bowie. Our favorite is Rock’s simple clip for Hunky Dory track “Life on Mars?”, an attractively overexposed video portrait of Bowie in a powder-blue suit with ample eyeshadow to match. We dare you to stare deep into those mismatched eyes and not fall in love.