OMC “How Bizarre”

1994-omc-how-bizarreGuys, we did it. This song was in the August 1994 funding round, but the video wasn’t released until very late 1995, and didn’t become a bonafide massive global hit until 1996. Someone knew they had a hit on their hands.

A bit of history about the video. A first version of the video was made by directors Gideon Keith and Marcus Ringrose (who later directed the Headless Chickens’ “George” video). But their version was rejected because, among other reasons, the lighting made Pauly Fuemana look like “a raisin”.

So a reshoot was ordered, this film directed by film-maker Lee Baker who had also played the memorable guitar part on the song. So Pauly, singer Sina and a Filipino guy named Hill was stood in for Brother Pele cruised in a Chevy Impala along the gardens at Ellerslie racecourse.

Record label owner Simon Grigg notes that the video “had over 15,000 TV plays in the US between 1997 and 2000 and cost a total of $7000 to make.” And indeed it doesn’t look particularly fancy, with most of the action taking place in the lyrical Chevy or on a circus themed stage.

And Simon tweeted some more info about the making of the video.

it was a real rush job as we had rejected the first. It went to number 1 in NZ without a vid.

…and the opening sequences – the car – was copied countless times in the US. The director was offered heaps of US work

Then we left NZoA logo off accidentally and brendan rang asking if we could please add it. Happy to of course.

It’s the first video I’ve seen so far that has proper dancing girls – wearing sequinned bras and not playing any significant role in the video, other than to shake their booties. It’s a clever move – a lesser video would have had clowns in it.

Listening to the whole song for the first time in years, I suddenly realised that there’s a lot of accordion in it. This make it seem even more improbable that it would become a massive worldwide hit, and yet it did.

But at the centre of “How Bizarre” is Mr Fuemana, Mr Pauly Fuemana, looking dapper-as in a cravat. “How Bizarre” seems like a moment in time when Pauly Fuemana stood on top of the world, with unlimited possibilities in front of him. Knowing how the story ended is sad, but doesn’t stop the spirit of “How Bizarre”.

Doof it up, Pauly.

Best bit: Sina’s practical sports bra.

Note: Can things get more complicated? There are at least two versions of the music video. This version has the NZ On Air logo so I assume it was the first to be made.

And this video looks to be the second version. It’s based on the same clips at the first, but with less of the car and more of the dancing girls.

Director: Lee Baker
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… playing the November Rain card.

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