Mr. Mister – Broken Wings
Among the various groups of the ’80s that had a limited number of famous songs, but who nevertheless remained in the memory and heart of us Dinosaurs, Mr. Mister certainly deserve a prominent place. Their career saw a turning point on September 25, 1985, with the release of Broken Wings, the first song from their second album Welcome To The Real World (another of those fantastic 80s album titles, like Songs From the Big Chair, Flaunt the Imperfection, Misplaced Childhood, The Dream of the Blue Turtles and many others … do you remember who released these albums?).
Until then, Mr. Mister were mostly known in the United States. They formed in 1982 on the initiative of Richard Page, the singer bass player we see in the video, who was an experienced musician and session man, and had played with people like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins, the author of Footloose, and many others. Richard had closed the experience of his previous group, the Pages, and with his childhood friend Steve George he abandoned Pages to found Mr. Mister.
The name derives from a habit of another musical group, Weather Report, where musicians such as Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius, icons of jazz and funk, had played. Weather Report jokingly called each other saying “Mr. This”, “Mr. That”, and they even titled an album Mr. Gone.
In 1984, however, Mr. Mister had enjoyed some success with their first album, so much so that good Richard received various proposals to enter famous groups, in order to replace Toto’s Bobby Kimball of Toto or Chicago’s Peter Cetera. Richard, however, decided to stay with Mr. Mister, and began to work on the songs for the new album.
Broken Wings immediately presents itself as an important artwork: from the very first notes we understand that we are facing a song that is not at all trivial. The title derives from a book by the great Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran, The Broken Wings, telling the story of a love hindered by social conventions. Gibran has often inspired titles or verses of famous songs. In the song, at the end of a love story, during the last meeting, the protagonist of the song invites the woman to take her wings, however broken, and learn to fly again, to be free again. There is a strong sense of melancholy, but also the hope that she will eventually return, that is, that the book of love will open up again for them, and let them in.
The video is absolutely a masterpiece, and was directed by Oley Sassone, director of successful TV episodes like Xena the Warrior Princess. The video has the austere importance of black and white, and depicts the protagonist’s sense of bewilderment, getting lost on the roads of America in an iconic car, a Ford Thunderbird. The maps show us the desert area between California and Nevada, but the video was shot around Los Angeles.
In the video two tango dancers appear, almost always seen exclusively by their legs, representing sensuality, the physical memory of a love story that perhaps no longer exists, but is still very present in the mind and heart.
There is another protagonist in the video. The hawk, which represents the direction, the higher, divine will of destiny. Richard follows the hawk but while driving he takes a different direction, and he soon realizes that he is lost. He reaches a church (the San Fernando Mission near Los Angeles) and enters to seek spiritual comfort. Right there a ray of light hits him from the window, and in the light we can see the silhouette of the hawk, which has returned to bring him back on the right path, not only as a car driver, but also in a spiritual sense.
Broken Wings was obviously a resounding success: the song quickly reached the top of the Billboard charts, and launched the star of Mr. Mister into the radiant sky of the 80s history.
Mr. Mister on Wikipedia