Some music videos change lives. Today I would like to talk about one that I guarantee will change yours: "King Of Rock" by Run-DMC.
I mean, I feel like I say this EVERY week ladies and gentlemen, but sit down and watch this video. Watch it more than the "She's Gone" video, as great as that one was. Because THIS one will destroy your insides and teach you a new language, it's so fuckin rad.
Yes, watch it at least a couple times, and then answer me this question: how do you feel about rock music now? Probably not too good, right? Right. The entire history of rock music is a load of old-dude bullshit, and Run-DMC were the first to prove this DEFINITIVELY. That includes punk! Sorry Sex Pistols!!
The premise: so simple and beautiful I could almost cry. The year is 1985. Royal MCs Rev Run and DMC arrive at the so called "Museum Of Rock" looking to enjoy a fine day date, when they're stopped by the terrible old white guardman. "Hey - this is a ROCK N ROLL museum. You guys don't BELONG in here," he bellows, followed by piercing laughter to stop your soul cold.
But never fear - Run-DMC don't cower from elitist rockish bulshit!! They bust some rhymes in his wrinkly face, knock down the doors and proceed to fuck up 30+ years of rock history. They mess up the Beatles' moptops, ALMOST smash a guitar, pull the cord out on Jerry Lee Lewis, and - most controversial of all - step on Michael Jackson's glove. Damn!!
By the struggle's end, the message is clear: rock history isn't SHIT compared to Run-DMC, the forever true Kings Of Rock. There is absolutely no doubt.
Now let's get the "hypocrisy in hindsight" stuff out of the way: yes, Run-DMC would eventually become just as much of a stuffy museum piece as Little Richard and Jerry Lee, and EVEN WORSE, would themselves be inducted into the ACTUAL Rock 'N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009. Feel free to check out the Hall Of Fame yourself sometime and I'm sure you'll find a pair of those classic Addidas behind glass, properly bleached and cleaned and proper. Run-DMC, and hip hop as a genre, have both become just as lionized as classic rock music.
But none of this was the case in 1985. This is important to remember. Hip hop had NO respect in the mainstream. It was very very new music borne of black youth culture, sneered at and marginalized by white-dominated AOR rock losers. Rock was treated with the highest regard, and rap was viewed as a rabble-rousing novelty that would hopefully go away. So to have a music video with a couple of young black rap dudes fucking up white-centrist rock history - damn! How could anything be better than that! Rock can go fuck itself!!
Also important to note: Run-DMC are not fucking up rock history to destroy it. No sir. They are here to DOMINATE it. "King Of Rock," yes. A rap group not only comparing themselves to rock bands, but calling themselves the KINGS of rock, must have upset a lot of racist jerks. Good! Good good!
Oh also it's a premonition regarding rap's eventual ascendacy in popularity over rock, predated their collaboration with Aerosmith, influenced Limp Bizkit etc etc etc. You've heard all that before I'm sure, I won't bore you again.
At the end of the day, it's just a super fuckin fun video. I love watching Run-DMC jamming with that doofy rock band behind them. So many guitars! So much jumping! And damn - THIS dude:
In terms of sheer badness, I am not sure how you can make a better music video than this. I can only imagine what it must have been like, being a bored young 80s teen and seeing this thing for a first time, after years of your parents telling you that music isn't what it used to be and that they missed out. Life-changing, friends. Inspiring.
And as dated as it might seem, we must remember that elitist rock canon has only gotten moldier and older in the 30 years since this video came out. Run-DMC's fuck-you to the so-called "greatest music of all time" is still cool to this day. Don't live in the past! Fuck up the past and make something new. That is the Run-DMC way. Beautiful.