Bruce Gowers, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ video director, dead at 82

Bruce Gowers, the award-winning director behind a large number of music videos, including Queen‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has died aged 82.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director’s passing was confirmed by his family. Gower’s death was reportedly due to complications from an acute respiratory infection.

The English-born director got his start at the BBC, where he first worked as a production assistant and cameraman before working his way up the ranks.

In the 1970s, he made a name for himself in the burgeoning music video industry. His 1975 video for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” proved groundbreaking. The clip – which juxtaposed footage of the band members set against a black background with performance clips of Queen dressed in white – became iconic.

Watch the music video for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Historically, “Bohemian Rhapsody” would later be widely regarded as the first true music video, proving that the medium could serve as an important marketing tool for bands and indirectly help usher in the MTV generation. Yet it was far from Gowers’ only work.

The director would team up with Queen on several videos, including those for “You’re My Best Friend” and “Somebody to Love.” His further work included music videos for some of the biggest names in music history including: The The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Rod Stewartthat The Bee Gees, Trip, Alice Cooper, Styx, John Mellencamp, Rush, Toto, Kiss, Prince, Santana, Huey Lewis & The news and Michael Jackson.

Gowers’ music video output began to wane in the mid-80s as he turned his attention to live television work. Over the next two decades, the director would helm a string of comedy specials from stars such as Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Rodney Dangerfield. It was Gowers who directed Eddie Murphy‘s Deliriousconsidered one of the greatest comedy specials of all time.

Watch the music video for ‘1999’ (directed by Bruce Gowers)

Gowers also continued to work with musicians during this period as he directed many televised concert events, including Paul McCartney‘s MTV disconnected (1991), The Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon (1997) and Fleetwood Mac: The dance (1997).

Gowers’ skills with live events carried over to award shows, where he directed and/or produced such acclaimed events as the Emmys, Billboard Music Awards, MTV VMAs, ESPYs and People’s Choice Awards. He also directed 234 episodes of american idolspanning the singing competition show’s first 10 seasons.

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