max abelson's super groovy music video spectacular

awfully fine videos from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s & 00s


and the website for my journalism is right this way...


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ft. the beatles, aretha franklin, neil young, dr. dre, serge gainsbourg, duke ellington, the kinks, jimi hendrix, pavement, the clash, smog, the smiths, al green, the rolling stones, cat power, dusty springfield, yo la tengo, antony, wilco, elvis, talking heads, elliott smith, r.e.m., ray charles, otis redding, the monochrome set, randy newman, the cure, gillian welch, queen, stevie wonder & more


"mtv makes me want to smoke crack." -beck


see the archives & a random post


"i just happen to be here, and it's okay." -caetano veloso


"sing a simple song but keep the swing strong." -de la soul


"think straight, keep a clean plate." -joanna newsom


"keep a clean nose, watch the plain-clothes." -bob dylan


"keep your feet warm, but keep your clothes on." -harry nilsson


"it took me about three or four weeks to toilet train my cat, nightlife. most of the time is spent moving the box very gradually to the bathroom." -charles mingus


"think about something else. was art tatum talented?" - shoot the piano player


"she had a chihuahua named carlos that had some kind of skin disease and was totally blind." -tom waits


"he had a huge room with nothing in it except this huge vast hammond organ, right next door to the police." -david bowie


"he's got a mind like a sewer, and a heart like a fridge" -elvis costello


"you can't hold the hand of a rock 'n' roll man." -joni mitchell


"lou's jukebox spun for love and many other things, too – beauty, pain, history, courage, mystery" - laurie anderson


"hey there, hey now, well, you can make a pacemaker blink, easy thing, make a man's heart go bibbity bom. -john cale


"i’ve still got things inside me, sad things, happy things, that people don’t know about." -loretta lynn


"to try to maximize the relationship of listening to a record through promotion is like experiencing driving a car by reading about stimulus programs." -bonnie 'prince' billy


"after cheesecake with all of your friends and family, who's gonna front the bill? me... say you want to take first-class trips, well i want to work those first-class hips. yes i do." -r. kelly


"too much cheesecake too soon! old money's better than new" -roxy music


"my mother used to tell me about vibrations. to think that invisible feelings, invisible vibrations existed scared me to death." -brian wilson


"i'm a lunatic, and you are so super cool." - george jones


"i'm an idiot for you." -iggy pop


"i mean every letter in the words in the sentences of my quotes." -lil' wayne


"lyrics choochoo from my mouth like locomotion." - pato banton


"i'm going to boogie my scruples away." -lowell george


"i drive a rolls-royce, cause it's good for my voice." -t.rex


"i'm dealing in rock and roll. i'm not a bonafide human being." -phil spector


"phil approached me with a bottle of kosher red wine in one hand and a .45 in the other, put his arm around my shoulder and shoved the revolver into my neck and said, 'leonard, i love you.' i said, 'i hope you do, phil.'" -leonard cohen


"they’d whisper at each other and look at phil and whisper at each other. finally this lady, tanked, comes over to phil and says, 'alright, sonny, what’s your problem?' and he said, 'premature ejaculation, what’s yours?'" -tom wolfe


"i bite my nails and if that fails i go get myself stoned, but when i do i think of you and head myself back home." -gram parsons


"i would say groucho marx, to name one thing, and willie mays, and the second movement of the jupiter symphony, and louis armstrong’s recording of potatohead blues, swedish movies, naturally. sentimental education by flaubert, marlon brando, frank sinatra, those incredible apples and pears by cézanne, the crabs at sam wo’s, tracy’s face." -woody allen


"where have you been all my life?" -emmylou harris, to my brother tommy


brian eno songs that will make good book titles for my 10-volume memoir, in order: here he comes, baby's on fire, golden hours, brutal ardour, taking tiger mountain, events in dense fog, through hollow lands, some of them are old, everything merges with the night, dead finks don’t talk


ry cooder albums that every man should own: into the purple valley, boomer's story, paradise and lunch


"really, we don't want people twiddling their goatees over our stuff." -radiohead


thelonious monk's middle name: sphere


#1 song on the white album (tie): long long long, happiness is a warm gun


"the only word is love." -john lennon


"i love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. and mother. and god." -johnny cash


"i could even find it in my heart to love mike love." -belle & sebastian


"the moon is clear, the sky is bright, i'm happy as the horse's shite." -the pogues


"i hope that you all out there, young, old, tall, short, fat or thin, quick or slow, no matter what kind or color or shape or person you are, if you like to make music, why, go ahead.” -pete seeger


"chuck berry isn't merely the greatest of the rock and rollers, or rather, there's nothing mere about it. say rather that unless we can somehow recycle the concept of the great artist so that it supports chuck berry as well as it does marcel proust, we might as well trash it." -robert christgau


mashable says about us: "expect the unexpected with this awesome gem. groovy." and 33 1/3: "nice to have someone steer me in a worthwhile direction"


download albums, see album covers, photos, posters, quotes & 'staches


the olden days: 2008 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2009 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2010 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2011 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2012 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2013 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2014 j. f.


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#837: serge gainsbourg - new york u.s.a. (no. 2) (1964)

of course the french son of russian jews named ginsburg would make the truest song about new york city by lifting his entire percussion track from somewhere else—drums of passion, the 1959 nigerian album from babatunde olatunji. olatunji, coincidentally, went to college in manhattan, so this is a european child of asian immigrants pledging love for america by stealing music from an african who once lived here. it’s ecstatic, silly, and perfect.

see the other new york u.s.a. video here.

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#836: serge gainsbourg - new york u.s.a. (no. 1) (1964)

i have nothing against the continuing crop of think pieces about new york in the decade since 9/11 (and i really mean that, like for example i adore peter w. kaplan’s essay), but it would be lovely if the internet shut down for a day so everyone could watch serge gainsbourg’s two music videos for the song he wrote about new york city two years before the world trade center’s 1966 groundbreaking, on repeat.

see the other new york u.s.a. video here.

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"time and life building! american hotel! cbs building! rca building! first national city bank!"
(no. 1 and no. 2)

"time and life building! american hotel! cbs building! rca building! first national city bank!"

(no. 1 and no. 2)

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i swore that no one would ever be able to merge my two interests—lyrics from the album serge gainsbourg made with bob marley’s wife and illustrations of shower products—but i was so wrong i’m blushing, this shade of pink.
[leanne shapton’s month of monday shower songs paintings from the new york times in february was very underrated: part 1 of 3]

i swore that no one would ever be able to merge my two interests—lyrics from the album serge gainsbourg made with bob marley’s wife and illustrations of shower products—but i was so wrong i’m blushing, this shade of pink.

[leanne shapton’s month of monday shower songs paintings from the new york times in february was very underrated: part 1 of 3]

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#666: serge gainsbourg - ah! melody (1971)

six hundred and sixty six? have we really come so far on the super groovy music video spectacular? we have. and so here is an evilly good video by an evil man in evil clothes, from his evillest album. this isn’t the song where he says, as far as i can tell, “mister iceberg loves love on the rocks, mister iceberg loves girls in socks,” though i think you’ll find that it nevertheless establishes what francophile oceanographers would call serge gainsbourg's subthermal abyssopelagic body temperature. the man is cool.

happy 666!

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#579: serge gainsbourg - pas long feu (1980)

i was pleased as punch that monsieur gainsbourg popped up in my profile this week (“‘it’s a call for action to restore credibility, to restore faith, a call for action to find solutions,’ mr. attias explained on the gramercy roof. serge gainsbourg’s aux armes et cætera played softly in the background. jane birkin, he said, is a friend.’”)

if you don’t have that 1979 album, made by the frenchman with bob marley’s wife and bandmates in kingston, don’t tell the government but you can download it here. it’s the kind of music that remote beaches listen to during nap time.

pas long feu isn’t the best song on the album by a long shot, but i have long considered its video to be the bohemian rhapsody of french reggae.

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i was happy to see that someone left a comment on thursday’s serge gainsbourg video thanking me for my nice serge selection and including a link to their site, but dismayed when i clicked on the link and it turned out to be a collection of dirty jane birkin pictures. no one should click on it or they’ll probably get some terrible virus, but it’s exciting that high-end internet pornographers are leaving personally-written comments.

i was happy to see that someone left a comment on thursday’s serge gainsbourg video thanking me for my nice serge selection and including a link to their site, but dismayed when i clicked on the link and it turned out to be a collection of dirty jane birkin pictures. no one should click on it or they’ll probably get some terrible virus, but it’s exciting that high-end internet pornographers are leaving personally-written comments.

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#342: serge gainsbourg - aux armes et cætera (1979)

you might think it would be physically impossible for serge gainsbourg to ever show more suaveness than this, more tussled-heir ennui than this, more droopy-eyed casualness than this, or more polkadotted trippiness than this. but then he sets his scotch and pipe down by his armchair, sighs heavily, crosses his legs, scratches his cat’s belly, looks you in the eye, sighs again, calls up reggae geniuses robbie shakespeare and sly dunbar and bob marley’s wife rita, then records a wildly blunted version of the french national anthem, la marseillaise.

except he half-heartedly replaces “aux armes, citoyens, formez vos bataillons, marchons, marchons!” with “aux armes et cætera,” which upsets kooky french war veterans, whom he then ameliorates by revealing an early manuscript of la marseillaise that very clearly shows “et cætera” written on the song sheet. and after all that it turns out bob marley may or may not be upset that his wife sang slightly dirty words for serge. but you can’t win them all.

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cigarettes are only okay if you’ve an ivory-tickling frenchman who’s said, “i wanted to have an artistic genius, and all i had was talent.”

cigarettes are only okay if you’ve an ivory-tickling frenchman who’s said, “i wanted to have an artistic genius, and all i had was talent.”

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#275: serge gainsbourg - ecce homo (1981)

according to google’s analytics services, 69 french visitors (truly) have read the super groovy music video extravaganza this year, which really warms my heart, and would definitely have warmed serge gainsbourg’s heart too if it hadn’t stopped its amorous ticktock in 1991. i bring that up because i’m going to france tomorrow (to paris—and then maybe the countryside in england afterwards) and i won’t be coming home until the end of the year.

so this video, #275, will be the last of the year. please tune back in on jan. 1st… and if you get sad, watch this from 1964, and this or this from 1971, stare for a while at this, and repeat over and over something serge once said: “melody nelson has red hair, and it’s her natural color.”

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#171: serge gainsbourg - en melody (1971)

back in my innocent, youthful, bright, happy, wonderous first week with this website, i wrote: “the album historie de melody nelson might be the coolest thing serge gainsbourg or any other man has ever done, except for the accompanying television special, which starred serge’s real-life doll of a wife, jane birkin.”

god, what a funny kid i was. and i spoke the truth. the real truth.

but if i had been more mature, smarter, sharper, i would have put up the album’s second-to-last song—three minutes of a francophile george clinton funk riff and a jane birkin arm-dangling dance that will make your eyes pop out of your sockets and steam rise from your ears and the whole world will be filled with the noise ayooooooooga ayooooooooga ayooooooooooga ayoooooooooooooooga!

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photo #12: serge gainsbourg will fucking kill you—without getting blood on either his pinstripe suit or his girl’s white feather boa

photo #12: serge gainsbourg will fucking kill you—without getting blood on either his pinstripe suit or his girl’s white feather boa

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#86: serge gainsbourg - ce mortel ennui (1964)

whenever guys like serge gainsbourg or, say, me walk up a flight of stairs we wear extremely well tailored suits and are practically never not flanked by excessively beautiful women in those nice long gloves that girls used to wear, the kind that go all the way up to the elbow. and yet the tall-haired, well-postured girls can’t shake our old ennui.

the only type of person that can gid rid of that gnawing nothingness is someone like the observer's former photo editor, kat, who made the best mix i've ever gotten, a chronologically-precise ensemble of serge gainsbourg songs, some that were so rare that she had to record them off vinyl [Ed. note—whoa!]. kat left to work at pratt, to be surrounded by other brunettes looking at photographs through their thick black glasses. i hope the rest of her life is like this.

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#74: monochrome set - eine symphonie des grauens (1979)

jesus fucking christ. the observer's managing editor, tom mcgeveran, whose knowledge of incredibly cool british post-punk bands (usually that no one has ever heard of) is shockingly deep, just introduced me to something called the monochrome set. they wear sunglasses, sound like lou reed without wimpiness, and name their songs for german expressionist silent horror films.

here’s the band playing somewhere in minnesota in 1979, before they ever had an album out. i think this is the kind of music that tom mcgeveran and tom verlaine and tom waits (and maybe the ghost of serge gainsbourg?) listen to when they hang around chewing the fat, thinking about pompadours, arguing about the moral imperative and string theory, not answering the phone calls of doting models, and just generally being awesome. also they all smoke winstons.

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Anna Karina - roller girl
by craigga

#6: anna karina - roller girl (1965)

kat, the new york observer's photo editor, who wears black spectacles almost as cool as the pair in this film, said she enjoyed sunday's serge gainsbourg video, but promised that his soundtrack for the 1967 film anna (france’s first tv film in color) was better.

the lady was right. is there anything grander than watching anna karina—jean luc godard’s muse, and, really, the most beautiful woman in the history of worldly beauty—dancing around an apartment in socks, a man’s shirt, and a cigarette? no.

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