Jazzin’ for Blue Jean – short film

The 20-minute short film 'Jazzin' for Blue Jean' was created to promote Bowie's 1984 single 'Blue Jean'

The 20-minute short film Jazzin’ for Blue Jean was created to promote Bowie’s 1984 single ‘Blue Jean’. It was directed by Julien Temple and released as a video single.

The film won the Grammy Award for “Best Video, Short form” (later renamed “Best Music Video”), which proved to be Bowie’s only competitive Grammy Award during his career.

The film depicts the adventures of the socially incompetent Vic (played by Bowie) as he tries to win the affections of a beautiful girl (played by Louise Scott) by claiming to personally know her favourite rock star, Screaming Lord Byron (also played by Bowie). Rightfully disbelieving him, she challenges Vic to introduce her to him. They make a date for a Screaming Lord Byron show, where Vic attempts to sneak backstage to convince Mr. Screaming to come say hello to him and the girl after the show.

Screaming does come to Vic’s table after the show and says hello to him and the girl, but the girl and Screaming Lord Byron have already met (in Peru), and she leaves with the rock star instead of Vic. As they drive off, Bowie breaks the fourth wall and asks the director why the story changed from his concept.

Three different Bowie songs are played during the video, namely ‘Don’t Look Down’, (from ‘Tonight’), ‘Warszawa’ (from ‘Low’) and ‘Blue Jean’ (also from ‘Tonight’).

Bowie takes the opportunity at several points in this film to poke fun at himself and his career – particularly his history of drug abuse, his relationships with groupies, and the commercialisation of his music (“You conniving, randy, bogus-Oriental old queen! Your record sleeves are better than your songs!”). Kinder self-references are also present, such as the song ‘Warszawa’ being played backstage to soothe Mr. Screaming while he’s applying his makeup.

Interestingly, Screaming Lord Byron’s band features Richard Fairbrass, of ‘Right Said Fred’ fame, who had a worldwide hit in 1991 with ‘I’m Too Sexy’.