The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven
And I'm standing on ice when I say that I don't hear planes
And I scream at the fools wanna jump my train
And Heaven, is the whole of our hearts
And Heaven, don't tear you apart
#Heaven #ThePsychedelicFurs #PsychedelicFurs
In the 80s many songs mentioned rain in the lyrics and titles, just think for example of Here Comes the Rain Again by Eurythmics, Rain by Terence Trent D’Arby, Shadows in the Rain by The Police, Hold Back the Rain by Duran Duran, I Wish It Would Rain Down by Phil Collins, November Rain by Guns N ‘Roses, Red Rain by Peter Gabriel, When the Rain Begins to Fall by Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora, and of course the most famous of all, Prince’s Purple Rain.
Usually, however, these songs mentioned the rain, but it was not always present in the videos, except in some limited scenes.
There was a song, however, released towards the end of August 1984, which does not mention the rain in the title or in any verse, but in the video of this song you see a lot of rain, a real rainstorm, and many remember it just as “the song where it was raining”.
We are talking about a beautiful song by a group that was well known and appreciated in England, while it was a little less famous in the rest of the continent, The Psychedelic Furs. The two Butler brothers, singer Richard and bassist Tim, had founded the group in 1977 and they were one of the many punk groups on the English scene. In the early 1980s they sensed the change that would bring international music from punk through new wave to electronic pop, and they changed the name (they had had various names previously) to mark their passage in this direction to some extent.
In 1984 they were ready for the release of their fourth album, Mirror Moves, and the song chosen to drive this album was the beautiful Heaven. A rhythmic and very pleasant song to hear, but which was actually meant to be anything but light, as frontman Richard Butler often said. In fact, the song talks about the fear of an imminent nuclear war, a recurring theme in those years, let’s think of Sting’s Russians, Culture Club’s The War Song, or Industry’s State of the Nation. The text is a bit hermetic, but with this interpretation the references to the planes, or to the people behind the windows, who could be the pilots of these planes, become clearer.
But what does the rain have to do with it? Honestly, it had nothing to do with it, but when it was the time to record the song and shoot the video, things were not simple at all. Richard Butler apparently was not an overly compliant person, and at that moment he was also going through a delicate phase in his life, for which he seemed to be particularly groovy with everyone. For example, when he had to record the song, he made only one recording and categorically refused to record other versions or record some pieces again. Producer Keith Forsey, who had worked with Billy Idol and Simple Minds, had to find a trick and ask him to record a double voice, in order to have a backup version of some passages.
When it was time to shoot the video, director Tim Pope, who had already directed major videos like Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, and would later direct the great videos of Talk Talk, The Cure, and many others, found himself to deal with Butler’s limited availability, and decided to completely abandon any reference to the lyrics and meaning of the song, in order to get away with it quickly and painlessly, and basically filmed The Psychedelic Furs while they performed the song.
But, with a touch of sadism masked by creativity and genius, he added a detail: he made them sing under a pouring rain. And it’s not an effect, it was just a deluge! Look at how their clothes change color: Richard Butler’s jacket has the shoulders soaked in water already in the middle of the song, and his brother Tim’s white shirt has become literally transparent from the rain it has absorbed!
However, we must recognize a skill to Richard Butler: even in these prohibitive conditions, his interpretation is fantastic, with actor’s gestures and movements that manage to fit the rain into the video, which he certainly could not have prepared before.
In short, The Psychedelic Furs were able to overturn a prohibitive situation, and shot an unforgettable video. Of course, a little credit also goes to the director and his idea, but I am sure that Tim Pope that night covered himself with a huge umbrella!
The Psychedelic Furs on Wikipedia