Ebony and Ivory

Let us take a moment to be thankful for the demise of Hands Up by Ottawan from the top of the New Zealand charts.  After two long months Ottawan were finally toppled by the awesome might of the Human League… “don’t, don’t you want me”.

Must be time then to review the charts in June  of 1982 in New Zealand.

Coming in at number two on 6 June, 1982 was Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Sorry, that was a bit unclear:

That’s better.

I think this is a song that must be a contender for the title of most-pitiful-attempt-at-world-peace-through-flimsy-metaphor-award ever (hard to beat “War, war is stupid, and people are stupid…” by Boy George).  Check out this head scratcher:

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

This clearly had a profound effect on the dude in charge of filming the video.

I think that the director did an admirable job of overcoming the subtlety of the original metaphor in his video although I have added some titles in case you’re not sure what is happening here.

WOW.

…so many levels…

THE BLACK GUY IS WEARING WHITE WITH A BLACK JACKET AND THE WHITE GUY IS WEARING BLACK WITH A WHITE JACKET AND THEY’RE SITTING ON A KEYBOARD OF WHITE AND BLACK KEYS SINGING ABOUT BEING WHITE AND BLACK!

Somehow this whole exercise is made even better by the fact that Stevie Wonder is blind.  It makes we wonder (no pun intended) how the original pitch to Stevie went.

The video is ok overall I guess.  If you like to be beaten to death with your metaphors (as I do).  Paul seems like he’s not sure how to exchange meaningful glances with Stevie (the director probably told him to do this), and Stevie isn’t sure what to do with his hands when his keyboard is taken away.  My favourite thing about Stevie’s awkward hand drumming on the massive black “key” between his legs is that Paul can’t help but glance down awkwardly not once, but twice.

tubechop.swf?vurl=r7L8yE1YHVE&start=159&end=171&cid=391752

Arise, Sir Paul.

Penis jokes at this point would be totally inappropriate

5 thoughts on “Ebony and Ivory”

  1. Speaking of hitting-you-in-the-head metaphor, the problem with my following your blog is that I often see posts on here that make me begin bashing my head into the wall because I didn’t think of it first.

    Seriously. This song always bugged me. I don’t think I’d ever seen the video. The best was the Saturday Night Live version with Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy singing: “I am dark and you are light. You are blind as a bat and I have sight.”

  2. Ever see the Dave Chappelle sketch where he plays blind black man who doesn’t know he’s black and thinks he’s a racist white redneck?? Awesome. I’m not a fan but I’ve had it shown to me several times, and, let me tell you, I can heartily recommend it. Why, I nearly wet myself laughing. No, seriously, I did. I thought I’d have to go home and change.

  3. Nice. They take a while to get to the good stuff but the last few lines are awesome. It’s also pretty sad remembering that Eddie actually used to be funny once.

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