Ebn Ozn’s “Bag Lady” music video depicted the struggles facing the homeless on NYC city streets

By on January 29, 2019

Originally airing on July 27, 1984, Night Flight’s “Take Off to Cameos” highlighted some of the special celebrity appearances found in early ’80s music videos, including Ebn Ozn’s “Bag Lady,” which depicted the struggles facing the homeless on NYC city streets.

Watch this fun video — starring Emmy- and Tony Award-winning comedic actress Imogene Coco, best known for her appearances on Sid Caesar’s 1950s variety show “Your Show of Shows” — on Night Flight Plus.

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Ebn Ozn were an ’80s NYC-based synth pop duo composed of Ned “Ebn” Liben (synths) and Robert “Ozn” Rosen (organs, vocals).

They are best known for their 1983 hit single “AEIOU Sometimes Y,” the first single from their one and only album Feeling Cavalier, released in the U.S. on Elektra Records in 1983.

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That single — which reached #20 on Billboard‘s Club Chart— was their first to be given the deluxe award-winning video treatment.

The duo’s second single, “Bag Lady (I Wonder),” also became a dance club hit, spending eight weeks on Billboard Club Chart, where it peaked at #36.

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The lyrics depict the streetlife struggles facing a “Shopping Bag Lady” during a cold New York City winter:

Oh gloveless, shattered frailty, the damp wind bites her hands,
She shuffles by a restaurant, towards their garbage cans
She eats the rotten refuse, like vermin on the dead
Screaming at the passersby, “Get it through your heads!”

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After their split in ’85, Liben (“Ebn”) worked with Scritti Politti, while Rosen created the house music outfit DaDa NaDa.

Rosen eventually left the music biz, and wrote screenplays as well as worked as a script analyst for director Oliver Stone.

Liben died of a sudden heart attack in 1998.

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Read more about Night Flight’s “Take Off to Cameos” below.

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The other unique pairings of artists and their performer friends in this episode begins with stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who shows up towards the end of Billy Joel‘s “Tell Her About It” video.

The video re-creates the original “Ed Sullivan Show” circa 1963, and Joel’s band are introduced as as “B.J. and the Affordables.”

After thanking Joel for warming up the crowd, he’s surprised to hear Ed Sullivan imitator (Will Jordan) inviting “Patriska the Dancing Bear” to the stage.

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Billy Joel’s video is followed immediately by Rodney Dangerfield’s “Rappin’ Rodney,” the title track from his 1983 album.

“Rappin’ Rodney” turned out to a a surprise hit for Dangerfield — it’s also credited as one of the first “rap” records to appear on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart — and the video features cameos by “Father Guido Sarducci” (Don Novello) and Pat Benatar.

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Next up is Bette Midler‘s music video for her cover of the Rolling Stones‘ “Beast of Burden,” featuring a cameo by Stones frontman Mick Jagger as her boyfriend.

Speaking of the Rolling Stones, bassist Bill Wyman can be seen briefly in the Sons of Heroes’ video for “Living Outside Your Love.”

The track was produced by Wyman, so it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to see him appearing here as a bartender.

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Next up is Tracey Ullman‘s “They Don’t Know” video, directed by Stiff Records president Dave Robinson, covering a song originally released by Kirsty MacColl (Ullman’s version hit #2 on the UK Singles chart).

The video features Paul McCartney — who was filming Give My Regards to Broad Street at the time, in which Ullman makes a cameo appearance — and a pregnant Ullman who, as Billboard once described it, can be seen “grocery shopping and dance-dragging her pom-pom scuff slippers along with a resigned bravado.”

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Next up are Hollywood hair metal rockers Ratt, who were able to get the legendary Milton Berle to appear in their video for “Round and Round.”

It should probably come as no surprise to learn that that Berle’s nephew Marshall Berle was Ratt’s band manager at the time.

Weird Al Yankovic‘s “I Lost on Jeopardy” — a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s “Jeopardy” featuring Greg Kihn showing up at the very end — contained several cameo appearances, including the real “Jeopardy” TV game show’s original host Art Fleming, announcer Don Pardo, Yankovic’s mentor Dr. Demento, members of Yankovic’s band, and Yankovic’s real-life parents.

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Speaking of parental units, Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun” — one of the videos we featured in our Video Profile, which we told you about in much more detail here — featured Lauper’s real mother as her mother, and wrestler Captain Lou Albano as her father.

The Eurythmics‘ “Who’s That Girl” video — featuring singer Annie Lennox in a sexy wig, playing male and female parts — also features multiple cameos, including Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston of Bucks Fizz; Kiki Dee, Hazel O’Connor and Kate Garner of Haysi Fantayzee; and all four members of Bananarama (including Stewart’s future wife, Siobhan Fahey, and future group member Jacquie O’Sullivan who would replace Fahey in Bananarama in 1988).

The gender-bending pop star Marilyn also makes an appearance in the video as another of Dave Stewart’s escorts.

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Finally, we ended our special “Take Off” with Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” video — directed by Ivan Reitman — which features actress Cindy Harrell haunted by ghosts played by the singer himself, along with cameos by a slew of Eighties-era celebrities: John Candy, Carly Simon, Ollie E. Brown, Peter Falk, George Wendt, Terri Garr, Irene Cara, Chevy Chase, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Melissa Gilbert, and Jeffrey Tambor, all of whom exclaim the song’s “Ghostbusters!” refrain onscreen.

Watch”Take Off to Cameos” and other “Take Off” episodes on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.