You gotta say “Yes!” to the classic ’80s Dieter Meier-directed video for Yello’s “I Love You”

By on May 29, 2019

We’re taking another peek at Night Flight’s “Take Off to European Rock” — it originally aired on April 14, 1984, but we found it in at the end of this syndication-era episode — which features Swiss electro-pop duo Yello’s video for “I Love You.”

This vintage “Take Off“– which also features videos by Peter Schilling, Nena, Nina Hagen, the Scorpions, George Kranz, Golden Earring, Taco, Chagrin d’Amor and Krokus — is streaming on Night Flight Plus.

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In the 1980s, Yello joined the Pet Shop Boys, Wham!, Eurythmics and Sparks to become one of the most successful duos in pop music history.

They just might be the most popular German-speaking Swiss duo of all time, though (most of their vocals are in English).

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Yello have claimed their videos “represent a congenial visual representation of the extraordinary Yello sounds — almost hypnotic image collages with thrilling cuts that shaped what today we call ‘MTV aesthetics.'”

“I Love You” was directed by the band’s visionary conceptualist and co-frontman Dieter Meier, who created all of the video’s special effects and animation (he makes a don’t-blink-you’ll-miss-it quickie cameo here too).

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Most of the the video, however, is focused on the duo’s other frontman, Yello co-founder Boris Blank, who can be seen flirting with actress Patrizia Fontana, seen here wearing vintage cat eye glasses and sitting behind the wheel of her foreign convertible.

(We think it’s a 1977 Triumph Spitfire 1500 TC, but we could be wrong, we’re not really a “car guy”).

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Blank composed and arranged all of the music on the band’s 1983 album You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess, their first for Elektra Records and the last Yello album to feature the other co-founding member Carlos Perón (he left to pursue a solo career in ’83).

The “I Love You” single — which has the distinction of being the very first 3D picture disc released in Europe — ultimately stalled out in the U.S., peaked at #103 on Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” pop chart.

It performed much better in the UK, topping out at #41 (in July 1983), and in Switzerland, Yello’s home country, it made it to #13.

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Read more about Yello below.

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Yello were initially formed by music producers Boris Blank (keyboards, sampling, percussion, backing vocals) and Carlos Perón (tapes) in the late ’70s.

Blank’s main interest was behind-the-scenes knob-twiddling in the recording studio, creating uniquely inventive instrumental electro-pop sound collages.

He’s also created and archived a huge library (over 100,000 samples) of man-made sounds.

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Blank was originally shy about being the “face” of Yello, and so, in 1979, Blank and Perón brought aboard the legendary Dieter Meier, who provided almost all of their distinctive lead and backing vocals (lyrics too).

Meier (b. March 4, 1945, in Zürich, Switzerland) had already made quite a name for himself across Europe and elsewhere as a millionaire industrialist, professional poker player, conceptual artist (film & video) and a member of Switzerland’s national golf team, among his many interests.

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In the 1960s, Meier had studied law, but he wasn’t committed to it: his real love and skill was playing poker, which led to him becoming a professional gambler.

By ’67, Meier was making his first experimental films, which were eventually screened at the Tokyo Film Festival, at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, and his first feature-length film was debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.

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For his very first public performance as a conceptual artist in 1969, Meier spent five days (from 8am to 4pm) in a wooden box in the Zürich Heimplatz public square, counting one hundred pieces of metal and putting them into bags of one thousand pieces each (he’s actually the answer to a trivia question we posed in this episode).

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In early 1971, at a reception held at the New York Cultural Center, Meier — holding a handgun — appeared in a performance piece accompanied by a sign reading “This Man Will Not Shoot” (a performance he likely couldn’t do these days).

You can read more about his conceptual art pieces here.

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Around ’77 or ’78, Meier’s interest in punk performance led to him collaborating and touring with a number of groups: Herz, the Assholes, and Fresh Colour, with whom he’d recorded his first single, “Cry for Fame.”

He was soon asked to join Blank and Perón’s new group, Yello, whose first recordings with Meier were released on the Residents‘ record label, Ralph Records.

“Oh Yeah” – directed by Dieter Meier

That’s Meier’s legendary deep voice you hear on their best-known single, “Oh Yeah,” which all these decades later is probably still their most memorable track after it was featured prominently towards the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

“Oh Yeah” can also be heard in Jonathan Demme‘s Something Wild and in many, many other films and TV shows.

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Over the years, Meier has added many more accomplishments to his performing arts-enhanced résumé, including directing numerous films and music videos (including 1990’s Snowball and Alphaville’s “Big in Japan” video), acting (including National Lampoon‘s Pledge This!), as well as author and publisher.

More recently, he’s focused on organic agriculture and in addition to being a restaurateur, winemaker, vintner and cattle breeder, you can also add gaucho cowboy to the list.

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In the late ’90s, Dieter Meier bought the 19th century Ojo de Agua ranch, and 2,200 hectares of land in the countryside outside of Buenos Aires, later acquiring vineyards in Mendoza, Patagonia, and Salta, where he produces organic wine, beef, and natural products like Patagonian nuts, honey and chia seeds.

Have another look at Night Flight’s 1984 “Take Off to European Rock,” now streaming 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.