Remembering Van Halen’s Crazy ‘Pretty Woman’ Video
In 1982 Van Halen decided to record a cover of the Roy Orbison classic "Pretty Woman". The band never expected it to be such a big hit and MTV never expected the crazy video that would follow. In fact, the then upstart network banned the video altogether.
I can imagine the guys in a room drinking, smoking and taking other things as they came up with the following concept: Why not have David Lee Roth as Napoleon? Throw in a samurai Michael Anthony, Eddie Van Halen as a cowboy and Alex as Tarzan. Now, let's have a hunchback call them to help a guy in drag being held captive by a couple of little people.
The word was that back then MTV found the whole thing just too odd, and they didn't like the man in drag twist at the end, so they refused to air it.
I think the video is amazing because it is so randomly bizarre and I hope there is a sequel someday with even more adventures of this gang of heroes.
Interesting side note: Van Halen meant to release "Pretty Woman" as a stand alone song to buy them more time to work on a new album. However, due to the popularity of their version, the record label demanded a new album right away. The band then recorded a few more covers, added a few originals like "Hang 'Em High" and "Little Guitars", and released them all on their Diver Down album.