I Was Standing, You Were There


ike most every teenager in the 1980s I had a copy of the INXS album Kick. It was released in 1987 from the Australian band and it had hit after hit on the radio and MTV. The album went to number three on the U.S. charts and sold over six million copies - it was a big album.

As for me, I liked them at the time, but I didn't fall in love with them. Almost 30 years later, I love their music. The music has aged very well from the 1980s and the band continued on after the death of Michael Hutchence as they released albums up until 2010. The last album he was on was Elegantly Wasted that was released in 1997. 


What I remember most about INXS was the beautiful video for Never Tear Us Apart filmed in Prague. Prague is one of those places, like Berlin, that fascinates me.

The video for the song is one of my all-time favorite videos. It's beautiful and it fits the song perfectly. The video was shot by Australian film director Richard Lowenstein. He was a friend of Hutchence and had worked with him before on his 1986 film Dogs In Space starring Hutchence. It is a visually stunning movie about the late 1970s punk scene in Melbourne and you if can find a copy somewhere you should definitely watch it.

Lowenstein likes to use long shots and have the camera move about the scene and you can see that in several places in this video.  The scene at 2:34 in the video where the camera pans the sidewalk below and then sweeps up to the cemetery above and back down to take in the view in the distance is just incredible. I love how we see Hutchence walk into the frame from the right and we follow him across the cemetery for a few moments and then he goes on about his way.

The song was released in August 1988 so one can assume that the video was filmed earlier that year in the winter or early spring.  The entire video was shot on location in Prague, one year before the Velvet Revolution would take place in 1989 and the Communist party was overthrown. Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s was still greatly behind in terms of modern development as was much of Eastern Europe as compared to their western counterparts. Prague was a time capsule filled with grand and decaying beauty covered in gray frosting. The timing of this video captures well what it was like just before the end of a long and depressing Communist reign. Back then Prague and the now Czech Republic wasn't on the tourist circuit as it is today, now everyone talks of visiting the city and being amazed at the beautifully preserved architecture.

I was so enamored by the video I decided to spend the time to try and locate the filming locations in the video and see what might have changed in nearly thirty years. It took me about three hours scouring Google Earth to find all of the locations.

This is the location of the opening scene in the video. The camera descends behind the lamp post on the left and a soldier is seen walking on a deserted street in front of the red tiled roof building in the distance.

Next we see Michael Hutchence singing as he walks along some water. This was filmed on an island in the middle of the Vltava River. You can see the bridge and the steeples of the buildings behind him in both photos.

Then there is a brief night shot from the same island. The buildings in the distance were filmed tighter than was it shown in the Google Earth photo.

Then we have the Charles Bridge used as a location. Hutchence is sitting on the same stone wall in the right of the Google Earth photo underneath that lamp post. The wrought iron fences in the right of the photo are still the same as they were in 1988.

Next is the first of two scenes shot at the Prague Castle. You can see the same red tiled roof of the building on the left though it is more covered by trees now. Also there is the same grassy area below and the domed buildings in the distance to the left. This location was the most difficult for me to find as it is across the river in another part of the city from the other locations.

This is the location of the scene that takes place below on the street then sweeps up to the cemetery above and back down to the street again. Reflecting the greatest change is this street where it was once a dark barren place it now features booths selling tourist souvenirs. The cemetery in this scene that Hutchence walks through is now a tourist attraction and is known as the Old Jewish Cemetery.

Then we are back at the Prague Castle for a scene showing these steps.

As the video begins to end Hutchence walks past the astronomical clock. It still looks exactly the same. The clock dates back to 1410, is the third oldest of its kind and the oldest one still in operation today.

The final scene is shot in the Old Town Square of Prague. It is still the same except for the people.

Click to enlarge.
An overview of the locations used for filming the video.