Spinning Platters Picks Six: Hidden Music Gems on Youtube

by Gordon Elgart on June 16, 2009

Shhhh.  Don't tell the record label that this video is out there.

Shhhh. Don't tell the record label that this video is out there.

Many an hour in my life has been spent hunting down classic music moments on Youtube.  From live performances that have never been released on home video–only a moment from being removed by a copyright holder–to modern-day music videos, Youtube is a treasure trove of musical moments.  So although I’m picking only six today, you can be sure that I’ll be picking six again.   Here are six Youtube music videos I can watch over and over again, and do.

1. LL Cool J performs “Mama Said Knock You Out” on MTV Unplugged

LL Cool J doing Mama Said Knock You Out on MTV Unplugged was the absolute highlight of that series.  So when the Best of MTV Unplugged came out on video, where was it?  It was nowhere to be found.  So all we have is this poorly transferred copy from someone’s VHS tape.  Thankfully it’s out there, because this is awesome.

2.  The Go! Team’s music video for “Junior Kickstart”

There’s a spoiler in the title of this video which is horribly disappointing.  The first time I saw it, I had no idea what I was watching, and the reveal was absolutely perfect.  Never mind, though, because this is still one of the funniest videos ever made.  Because music video budgets have dropped precipitously, it’s forcing the video makers to be more creative to get noticed.  This definitely meets the creativity standard.

3.  The Blue Man Group and Venus Hum cover “I Feel Love”

It’s at about the 2:45 point of this video that it becomes truly worth watching.  The Blue Men start by doing some brief teases of some classic tunes as if they’re going to cover them.  The crowd overreacts embarrassingly.  But then Venus Hum is brought up on stage and they do a cover of the Donna Summer/Georgio Moroder classic “I Feel Love.”  And they instantly create a definitive cover version.  They also stop with the gratuitous crowd shots.

4.  James Brown gives you dancing lessons

I wish this video were about three times as long.  It’s just James Brown showing off his dance moves in a long shot showing his entire body and feet.  I’m proud to say I can actually do a few of these moves.  Others of these moves would have me in the hospital.  If you learn all of these steps as well as the Godfather, you’re guaranteed to be the coolest guy in the room.

5.  Elbow performs “One Day Like This” with the BBC Concert Orchestra

I’m a huge fan of the band Elbow, and they won last year’s Mercury Prize for their album, The Seldom Seen Kid.  Soon after, they were invited to perform the album live with the BBC Orchestra for a television special.  The whole thing is a joy to watch–even though they’ve sounded better–because the band is having a great time.  There are plenty of moments where you can tell they’re thinking “holy crap we’re playing with an orchestra at Abbey Road!”  The particular song I chose is the centerpiece of the album and features plenty of strings and choir.

6.  Zach Hill proves he’s awesome in a Vans commercial

Here’s Zach Hill.  With one shoe.  On a beach.  And that’s it, completely uncut.  For nearly five minutes.  It’s hypnotic.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie Carney June 16, 2009 at 9:31 pm

You know, I can’t watch the “Mama said Knock you Out” video because his nasty deodorant creeps me out.
But I guess it’s not as noticeable/disgusting in a grainy youtube video… so kudos to that!


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