Bringing Brenda To Light

"Piano In The Dark" in this week's Forgotten Video
  • Brenda Russell in "Piano In The Dark"
September 02, 2010 -- 8:00 am PDT
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. Well, for some forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or, we'll be giving a fresh look at a video that deserves to be collecting dust. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

Brenda Russell
"Piano In The Dark"
1988

How do you produce a video for a somber, grainy and muted ballad of lost love? With somber, grainy and muted production values, naturally. Brenda Russell's hit "Piano In The Dark" has those qualities in spades (and clubs and diamonds too). It had a lot of heart also. After all, this was the little song that could, the first and only top ten hit (her "So Good, So Right" went to No. 30 in 1979) from a singer/songwriter who had been performing and making records since the early '70s. Russell earned three GRAMMY nominations based on this song and its album, Get Here, including Song Of The Year (Bobby McFerrin's omnipresent vocalese hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy" won that award). The album's Russell-penned title track was also a No. 5 hit for singer Oleta Adams. The video also poses some lingering questions. For example, does Brenda's house still feature a giant harp as an objet d'art? And, is it just us, or is that Axl Rose playing piano, at the height of Guns N' Roses' fame? Probably not, but it could be Duff McKagan.

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