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Who's Who of Pop Peers From U2's 'Window'
Somehow, that interpretation led to the idea of a montage of . . . musicians.
The resulting video features 137 clips, including several "Where's Waldo?"-type crowd shots in which the various members of U2 can be seen, if only briefly. There's also footage of people dancing, people kissing, flowers blooming, and what Koepke calls "the money shot" -- an atomic bomb turning into a sunset. But the guest musicians are the stars, their presence overpowering U2 and its featured song.
It's a little bit Bruce Conner (he of the famous found-footage film "A Movie"), a little bit Christian Marclay (he of the multimedia music presentations). And it's a whole lot of Jeff Estow: As director of business affairs for Modernista!, Estow spent endless hours making licensing deals for the archival footage and trying to secure permission to use the artists' likenesses.
In making his pitch, Estow says, he told the musicians' reps that the video would be "a very tasteful homage to artists from across eras and genres who've provided particular influence and inspiration to U2."
Sinatra's estate attorney signed off on the project almost immediately (it didn't hurt that Bono had befriended and worked with Sinatra before the crooner's death). Shortly thereafter, Presley's estate agreed to allow the singer's iconic image to appear in the video and provided footage from a 1968 comeback special that synced exceptionally well with Bono's singing. "Once that happened, we went to other artists and said Sinatra and Elvis are in the video, and things really got rolling," Estow says.
While the video celebrates musical greatness, it is not meant to be a comprehensive yearbook of popular music's best. Can't cram 'em all into 4:19, for one thing. And Koepke says he couldn't get clearance from everybody, anyway.
"There were a few legends we missed, obviously, that we really would have liked to get," he says. Among them: Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, James Brown, Chuck Berry and Bruce Springsteen. While the Beatles didn't make the final cut, their representatives approved the project after the deadline, and because, well, they're the Beatles, the video has been redone to accommodate them. The new version will likely be released this week. And then, Koepke says, that's it: No more music videos. At least not ones in which a quartet transforms itself into a cast of thousands in the editing bay.
"This project took a quarter of a year to finish," he says. "If I do another one, it will just be a picture of the sun rising and the song playing over it. Very conceptual!"