Looking Back At The Video For Nelson’s ‘Love And Affection’ On The Song’s 25th Anniversary

The Brothers Nelson
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Longtime readers of the site know that Vince and I share a great deal of, well, love and affection for the 1990 hit single, “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection,” written and performed by the brothers Nelson. People often think we’re joking when we bring this song and its music video up, but we’re not – this song is a really great song and you should play it all the time at your house parties and definitely at your little brother’s Bar Mitzvah. It is, quite frankly, one of the few perfect pop songs ever recorded.

“Love and Affection” is such a good song that on September 29, 1990, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. It also reached No. 11 on the Canada Top Singles chart, which is impressive because the Top 10 were all Rush and Bryan Adams, and it peaked at 20 in Australia and 44 in New Zealand. Knowing absolutely nothing about the music of those countries, I assume those are both basically the equivalent of No. 1, because of the laws of counterclockwise toilet water. Now, some music historians would argue that since none of Nelson’s other songs were as successful, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson were nothing more than the faces of a classic ‘90s one-hit-wonder band. But I have maintained for so many years that they transcended such status by having the greatest one hit of all-time.

That’s another conversation for another time, though, as today is a celebration of 25 years of Nelson’s “Love and Affection.” The song was actually written as a tribute to Cindy Crawford, because who didn’t have a crush on the model in 1990? That’s why in the beginning of this music video that we’re about to watch together, one of the brothers is so focused on his copy of Vague magazine while the other is all about business. (I’ve never been able to tell them apart and I won’t start trying now.) What happens next is a brotherly compromise that leads to a wildly strange and over-the-top performance that can only be described as… the ’90s.

Let’s roll up the leather sleeves on our denim jackets and appreciate just how great the music video for the greatest song ever written really is…

Vague, for those of you who are already lost in this live-action Mona Lisa, is a play on Vogue magazine. Short of a “Weird” Al Yankovic video, you couldn’t find that kind of biting satire anywhere in the music industry in 1990. One of the Nelson brothers has the hots for the model on the Vague cover, so to snap him out of it, the other Nelson brother convinces him to dedicate this song to her.

Suddenly… what is this magical world that we’ve been transported to? Hey, it’s the Vague cover model and she’s dancing for the band! See? This is a truly special song. Special enough to make a woman dance for guys in bulge-tight pants with boots from the women’s section. Say, how does the energy of this song make you feel, super confident guy in the band?

And what about you guy on the drums and dude (I think) on the double keyboards?

We, as a society, do not pay enough tribute to those gifted musical geniuses who have the ability to play two keyboards at the same time, and we should certainly celebrate them more if they can also dance and flip their hair. There should be an entire wing of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame devoted to this. Hold on, it’s time for a wardrobe change – wait, where are you going?

Oh thank goodness, I thought that one Nelson brother was leaving forever, but he came right back. That’s a sign of true showmanship right there, because the video wasn’t even halfway over and he left me wanting more, before he returned. It’s like he put on an encore within the performance. Remarkable.

Anyway, I hope you’re not wearing 3D glasses while watching this!

Whoa! Wow! Haha! That was daring. But was the Vague cover model impressed by it?

Hold on, is she a ghost? Has the Vague cover model been a ghost this entire time? That’s some Sixth Sense sh*t right there, Nelson. I have to admit, I’m already pretty exhausted from singing along and having the time of my life. Can I get a guitar (pronounced GEE-TAH) solo with leather chaps to relax to for a moment?

Thanks, that was exactly what I needed. Now I’m ready to bring it home one last time and really belt out the words to this spectacular and unmistakably brilliant song, but let’s make it look like the studliest California high school yearbook photo shoot ever.

Just breathtaking. But whatever you do, Nelson brother, don’t forget that magazine…

Haha, well played, brothers Nelson. Well played. Here’s to another 25 years of the greatest song in the history of music.