1986 was a pretty damn good year for music artist Peter Gabriel. After almost a decade and a half of music biz shenanigans (including a stint as Genesis frontman and a few solo hit singles), the singer scored a worldwide smash with his album, So.
Of course, this was made possible by the eye-popping, revolutionary and, not to mention, fabulously fun video for the first single from the album, the iconic Sledgehammer.
Now 30 years old – yes, we know you feel old now – here’s what you need to know about that classic slice of 80s pop.
1. It is MTV’s most played music video of all time.
2. In 1987, the video swept up at the MTV VMAs winning 9 awards including, Video of the Year. This is the most awards a single video has won.
3. The video also won Best British Video at the Brits whilst the song was nominated for 3 Grammys (including Song of the Year).
4. It was directed by Stephen R. Johnson who had previously helmed the Talking Heads video Road To Nowhere – which also utilised the lip-sync stop-motion style.
(Johnson would also collaborate with Peter again on the promos for singles Big Time, just a few months after Sledgehammer, and the sexually-charged 1992 hit, Steam – which used motion-capture for the first time in a pop video.)
5. The video uses claymation, pixilation, and stop-motion animation.
6. The video was shot and edited in just over a week.
7. Aardman Animation, the company behind Wallace & Gromit and Shaun The Sheep, were involved in the production of the video.
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