Renowned music video director Martin Kahan dead at 74

Kiss, Ian Hunter, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue music videos
(Image credit: YouTube)

Acclaimed music video director Martin Kahan has died at the age of 74.

Kahan passed away on July 18 in Lakewood, NJ, following a battle with cancer.

He was best known for his work with bands such as Rush, Kiss, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, although also made it as a celebrated director in the country scene.

Close friend and CEO of Yidstock Ventures, Arthur Levy, said: “In his final years in Lakewood, Kahan never stopped theorizing about country music’s gradual downsizing of its promo video output, and how he could work his way back into the fold.”

Born in New York on April 17, 1947, the hopeful filmmaker began his journey into the industry editing live promotional videos in Canada for prog titans Rush, with their songs Tom Sawyer, Freewill and Limelight. 

Returning home in 1983, his career immediately took off when he was offered the ground-breaking opportunity by Columbia Records to work on Scandal’s single Love’s Got A Line On You. This marked the first of many big-time projects for Kahan, who would soon become one of the record company's most reliable directors. Shortly after, he attained an MTV Video Music Award nomination with the video for Ian Hunter’s All Of The Good Ones Are Taken that very same year.

Many of Kahan's projects for the increasingly-popular MTV platform solidified his position as one of the industry's most prolific directors, including KISS' first ever music video featuring the band without makeup, for songs Lick It Up and All Hell's Breakin' Loose. He also worked on the videos for Bon Jovi's In and Out of Love and She Don’t Know Me, Motley Crue's Too Young to Fall in Love, The Firm with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers' Satisfaction Guaranteed, Scorpions' I’m Leaving You, and many more. 

Although numerous of Kahan's assignments were of the rock variety, his later projects saw him storm the country scene, working on John Anderson's Countrified, Sawyer Brown's Betty’s Bein’ Bad and Heart Don’t Fall Now, among others.

Into the 90s, Kahan worked on Alan Jackson’s award-winning Chattahoochee in 1993 as well as projects with Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams, Jr., and Kenny Chesney.

Due to a series of health implications rendering him no longer able to work, his final creation would be in August 2000 for Chesney's I Lost It.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.