Before John Landis brought reanimated dancing zombies for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, fellow Master of Horror Tobe Hooper brought undead dancers to MTV in Billy Idol’s Dancing with Myself. Hooper’s involvement might have been lost in the annals of history had Idol himself not mentioned the connection recently via Twitter. While Dancing with Myself isn’t listed on Hooper’s IMDB page, Wikipedia confirms that he was the man behind the camera.
Sad 2 hear of director Tobe Hooper passing .. he directed my Dancing With Myself video in ’82 with break dancing zombies etc..
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) August 28, 2017
A [Dancing with Myself] music video directed by Tobe Hooper was produced for the 1981 American release, which gained heavy airplay at the beginning of the MTV television broadcasts. The set for the video was co-opted from an L.A.-based production of Ann Jellicoe’s punk rock-themed play The Sport Of My Mad Mad Mother, produced by and starring Dan Shor.
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Once you know, Hooper’s hallmarks are all over the place, from the husband swinging a sledge hammer over his unsuspecting wife’s head to the skeleton dressed in a suit (is that you Nubbins?). Of course, the inclusion of zombies was ahead of its time; while this was the era between George A. Romero’s Dawn and Day of the Dead films, it would be decades before zombies achieved mainstream popularity.
Rewind back to the early 80s with Billy and Tobe in the video for Dancing with Myself below. Tobe Hooper passed away this weekend at the age of 74.
“Dancing with Myself” is a song written by singer Billy Idol and bassist Tony James, first recorded by their band Generation X in 1979. The song was re-recorded and commercially released by the band newly re-branded as Gen X as a 7″ single and a 12″ in July 1980, but was a sales failure, reaching only #62 in the UK Singles Chart. It was included on the new band’s subsequent first album Kiss Me Deadly (1981).