"HE INNOVATED THE MUSIC VIDEO WORLD, HE WAS DOING THINGS PEOPLE HADN'T DONE BEFORE."
Giraldi set the tone for music videos in the early MTV days. His narrative and musical storytelling abilities were first seen in Michael Jackson's "Beat It" as the video swept the country and won numerous awards including that year’s coveted American Music Award, the Billboard Music Award and the People’s Choice Award. Hand-picked by Jackson himself after the singer saw an Eye Witness News commercial directed by Giraldi, about an elderly blind couple holding a block party for their new black and hispanic neighbors, the Beat It video became the stuff of legend partially because of its cast members: real life members of the Bloods and the Crips. The shoot almost turned into a disaster though, as Bob recalls Michael's decision to have the real gang members in the video, and an incident that almost halted the entire production::
"I thought he was crazy. He got the police to go along with it. He got the Crips and the Bloods to go along with it. Everything was fine for half a day. Then after lunch it got hairy. One of the Crips started smacking' one of the Bloods, and there was a little bit of a fight, The police came to me and said 'Bob, we have to shut this down'... I thought 'There goes the music video.' So I said 'Let me try one thing. Just one thing. If it doesn't work we close it down and go home. Let me play the music.' And we picked it up from Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo... Peace. The way they watched those kids dance,,,the look on the faces said: 'We may be the baddest asses in the world, but that's something we'll never be able to do.' It just was brilliant."
Next up was making the first music video to ever feature dialogue, as Bob directed Pat Benetar's "Love is a Battlefield" soon after, before directing Lionel Richie's "Hello." He directed Michael Jackson again, this time with Paul McCartney for company, for their song "Say Say Say." He continued to win acclaim and define the future of the medium, working with even more music luminaries such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ricky Martin, Hall & Oates, Will Smith, and more.