Leave It (partially found series of Yes music videos; 1984)
In 1983, the British progressive rock band Yes released their eleventh album 90125, reaching 3 million copies sold in the US alone. After the success with their number-one hit single "Owner of a Lonely Heart", the band released their second single "Leave It" in February 1984. The single peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the Top Album Rock Tracks chart. Unconventionally, accompanying the song were eighteen music videos to the song. The videos were all shown with MTV announcing a version that was about to be played on MTV. After a while, Version 11 of the series was declared the "official video" to "Leave It" and the other videos fell into obscurity.
The "Leave It" videos were directed by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley, also known as the rock duo Godley & Creme. Yes' manager Tony Dimitriades remarked that the choice of having the duo direct the videos was to get away from "the MTV video clip cliches." Dimitriades also said that the videos were made to create audience participation. Lol Creme during the making-of documentary on the videos said they intended to make the most boring music video ever.
Each of the videos were all improvised and shot in one day, back to back. All variants of the video has the subjects upside down, with each version having a difference from one another. An example of this being version 7 only having Jon Anderson appearing in it. When submitting the music videos for approval to the channel MTV, only fifteen versions were sent. MTV would hold a contest for viewers to guess the differences between the videos. The winners of the contest would receive a Sony video cassette of all eighteen versions of "Leave It".
All variants of the video has the subjects upside down, with each version having a difference between one another. An example of this being version 7 only having Jon Anderson appearing in it. MTV made a documentary of the making of the music videos, showing it on April 1, 1984, the same night as the marathon.
Reception to the music videos appeared to have been negative by cast and crew members. Anonymous crew members at the time were quoted as saying that the videos were the "Heavens Gate of music videos," negatively likening the project to Michael Cimino's 1980 Western film and its infamously troubled production. Trevor Rabin, the guitarist and one of the singers for "Leave It", said in a 2021 interview that he considered the video to be "crappy". Jon Anderson briefly mentioned the videos in the book MTV Ruled the World by Greg Prato, mentioning that he liked the videos.
As of 2022, six versions of the video have been found. Version 11 has been the official music video to the song, included on their Greatest Video Hits DVD and is on the Yes Official YouTube channel. Version 1 was posted on YouTube by Anthony Riddle in 2019, sourced from a re airing on the British TV station Vintage TV. Version 7 has also been found from a 1984 MTV broadcast, having been posted on the Internet Archive by Mickeys Tape Collection on November 2nd, 2020, with this version of the video later being posted on Youtube by Spid on September 11th, 2022.
On October 18th, 2022, YouTube user MusicVideoTime (who had previously made a video extensively detailing the production of the "Leave It" videos) announced on Twitter that they had received copies of Versions 8, 9, and 10 of the videos from a YouTube commenter who had them in their possession, with these versions of the videos subsequently being uploaded to the Internet Archive.
Some of the other versions of "Leave It" were shown in the MTV documentary. However, it is unknown which version is which due to the contest being held by MTV at the time to have fans guess how many versions of the video were made. And the video cassettes containing all versions of the videos that were given to winners of the contest has yet to appear online.
|1||Members of Yes upside down||Found|
|2||Cuts to Trevor Rabin's face for two lines||Partially Found|
|3||Has Tony Kaye wearing a different colored tie||Lost|
|7||Only Jon Anderson in the video||Found|
|8||Different group of people in video||Found|
|9||Starts with a pan around the studio to show crew||Found|
|10||More movement with the band (Swaying, taking a bow)||Found|
|11||Official Music Video||Found|
Additionally, several non-numbered versions appear briefly in MTV's special on the making of the music video:
|?||Members of Yes facing the other way, then walking out of the shot||Partially Found|
|?||Shoes of the band in front of their instruments||Partially Found|
|?||Closeup of Trevor Rabin's feet jumping and dancing, ends with "This man has only 3 spleens left" title appearing||Partially Found|
|?||One band member in the foreground, rest of band in the background||Partially Found|
|?||Shoes of the band||Partially Found|
|?||Members of Yes minus Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin looks at his spot||Partially Found|
|?||Closeup on Trevor Rabin tapping his foot||Partially Found|
|?||Travelling shot of a closeup of each member's face||Partially Found|
|?||Lyrics overlaid on video||Partially Found|
Also seen in the documentary is a board of 15 sheets with enigmatic messages that Lol Creme writes on for every finished version. It is also implied that the shooting was not done from sheet 1 to 15 but at random. The board is upside down but reads:
|1||Basic in clerical grey||Likely normal shot|
|3||Tribute to Jeremy||Kaye wearing a different tie|
|5||4||Likely band minus Anderson|
|6||1||Likely Anderson only|
|7||Zoom for zoom's sake|
|10||Lords of the galaxy|
|12||5 on (Unknown)|
|13||(Unknown) 1. 2. 3.|
|14||Here today, gone tomorrow|
|15||The reveal pros|
- Interview with Trevor Rabin mentioning Leave It Retrieved on 25 Oct 2022
- Quote from Jon Anderson about Leave It's videos Retrieved on 25 Oct 2022
- Tweet from MusicVideoTime about obtaining these versions of the "Leave It" videos. Retrieved on 25 Oct 2022
- 1984 MTV Special: The Making of "Leave It"