The very first music video ever performed on MTV was The Buggles‘ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” however that assertion isn’t totally correct: music movies have helped launch the careers of numerous musical artists.
The primary music video was created in 1895 for the kinetophone and The Large Bopper was credited with coining the time period “music video.” However there’s little question that MTV and VH1, networks that had been initially devoted solely to enjoying music movies, introduced the type of musical leisure into the mainstream, with exhibits like MTV’s Whole Request Reside turning into licensed phenomenons within the late 1990s and early aughts.
An incredible music video can launch an in any other case meh music into the stratosphere or launch an unknown to new heights. Whether or not it’s cinematic or easy, the makings of the very best music movies of all time are fairly constant: Creativity, be it within the type of storytelling or styling; artistry in course, choreography and/or aesthetics; legacy and ongoing affect lengthy after its left the charts: Did they make you dance, chortle, cry, suppose? Listed below are our picks for the 71 greatest music movies of all time (minus among the ones that will provide you with nightmares or that had been as soon as iconic however now are questionable).
1. Beyoncé, Lemonade
Beyoncé didn’t cease at one music video. She made a complete visible album and utterly modified the sport with Lemonade, which chronicled her marital struggles with husband Jay-Z in addition to different traumas in her life, together with her father’s infidelity and her personal miscarriages. Whereas her self-titled report was extremely influential, Lemonade exhibits Beyoncé in a manner we not often noticed her: Weak, uncooked and never her ordinary flawless public self.
2. Madonna, “Like a Prayer”
The religiously and racially provocative “Like a Prayer” was so controversial on the time of its 1989 launch that it was condemned by The Vatican and price Madonna a Pepsi sponsorship.
3. A-Ha, “Take On Me”
The traditional animation-live motion hybrid of this infectious tune, which costars a Princess Diana look-alike (maybe inadvertently!) is eternally etched–and sketched–in our minds.
4. Peter Gabriel, “Sledgehammer”
One other animation breakthrough, “Sledgehammer” made Peter Gabriel an MTV staple. The stop-motion graphics (together with trains, faces product of fruit and dancing headless chickens) are the stuff desires, and typically nightmares, are product of.
5. Prince, “When Doves Cry”
Prince emerges from a bath. Different issues additionally occur, however that is probably the most memorable picture, which was comparatively groundbreaking on the time of its launch.
6. George Michael, “Freedom ’90”
George Michael burns his iconic “Religion”-era leather-based jacket in iconic imagery from “Freedom ’90,” an epic eff-you to his label on the time…however likelihood is what most individuals bear in mind are the supermodels: Cindy Crawford in a bath, Linda Evangelista in a turtleneck, Naomi Campbell strutting in lingerie and headphones, Christy Turlington in an enormous sheet and Tatjana Patitz smoking a cigarette.
7. Pearl Jam, “Jeremy”
Pearl Jam traditional “Jeremy” was iconic for its depiction of violence on the time, and the band launched an uncensored model in 2020.
8. Missy Elliott, “Work It”
The Nokias! The bees! The Kangol hats! Alyson Stoner! Since “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” and its legendary trash bag ensemble, Missy Elliott has been forward of her time musically and aesthetically, making critical visible statements (see her slavery vignette right here) in get together anthems.
9. TLC, “Waterfalls”
TLC‘s “Waterfalls” was one of many first songs ever to reference the AIDS disaster, and on the time of its launch, the $1 million music video funds was one of many largest ever.
10. Outkast, “Hey Ya”
It’s a truth: You’ll be able to by no means have sufficient Andre 3000.
11. Alanis Morissette, “Ironic”
Earlier than Andre 3000 wore all of the hats in “Hey Ya,” Alanis Morissette confirmed all of her sides in “Ironic.” She instructed Vogue that the driving force within the hat is the “accountable one,” the yellow sweater Alanis is the “quirkster,” the Alanis in purple who flails out of the window is a “romantic” and “risk-taker,” and the green-clad Morissette is her entire, enjoyable self.
One other enjoyable truth? Morissette calls again to the driving force’s look in her 2020 video for “Causes I Drink.”
12. Beyoncé, “Single Girls”
Beyoncé solidified her throne as King and Queen Bey with this iconic black and white clip.
13. Britney Spears, “Oops! … I Did It Once more”
The purple vinyl catsuit, the white eyeshadow, the astronaut, the provocative lyrics: Britney Spears proved she was neither “that harmless” nor a flash within the pan within the first single from her sophomore effort.
14. Soundgarden, “Black Gap Solar”
The “Black Gap Solar” video ends in a concurrently literal and surrealist manner with its superficial and shady characters getting swallowed by a black gap.
15. Sia, “Chandelier”
Sia discovered her spirit animal in Maddie Ziegler, who rocks a wig and represents the eccentric crooner on this clip.
16. Cher, “If I Might Flip Again Time”
The everlasting comeback queen made a serious second with “If I Might Flip Again Time.” The factor is, Cher would by no means need to as a result of she clearly does. not. age.
17. D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Really feel)”
D’Angelo wore nothing however a sequence and did nothing however sing in entrance of a black background and have become immediately iconic.
18. Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Someone”
For a lot of, “I Wanna Dance With Someone (Who Loves Me)” was their introduction to Whitney Houston, who mixed an irresistible beat with unmatched powerhouse pipes. The colours, hair and outfits are all very of their time—however have additionally withstood the check of time.
19. Jay-Z, “The Story of OJ”
Jay-Z makes use of racist imagery within the type of “traditional” cartoons to replicate on rising up as a Black man in america and the struggles that come together with it—even for the wealthy and in any other case privileged.
20. Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do”
It was robust to slender down which of Taylor Swift‘s movies was her most iconic, however “Look What You Made Me Do,” her first visible from Popularity, options all of her prior video and plenty of of her purple carpet seems as much as that time—and skewers them. It was additionally the place her obsession with Easter eggs grew to become actually apparent, sending her beloved Swifties to put in writing thinkpieces for days.
21. Olivia Newton-John, “Bodily”
The well-known good woman from Grease received severely cheeky on this aerobics-inspired clip.
22. Celine Dion, “It’s All Coming Again to Me Now”
The video is as dramatic because the rock-opera observe that impressed it.
23. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Come Round Right here No Extra”
Whereas “Free Fallin’” is taken into account one among Tom Petty‘s most signature songs, by way of visuals, “Don’t Come Round Right here No Extra” is a darker Alice In Wonderland that gained an MTV Video Music Award for Finest Visible Results. One other honorable point out from Petty? The haunting visible for “Mary Jane’s Final Dance,” which stars Kim Basinger in her creepiest position to this point.
24. Christina Aguilera, “Lovely”
Christina Aguilera included empowering LGBTQ+ imagery in “Lovely” earlier than it was mainstream.
25. 2Pac Feat. Dr. Dre, “California Love”
26. Janet Jackson, “Rhythm Nation”
Janet Jackson made historical past and influenced complete generations together with her choreography for her Rhythm Nation 1814 hit.
27. Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Kurt Cobain surrounded by cheerleaders outlined a complete period.
28. Jamiroquai, “Digital Madness”
Is there any picture extra ’90s than this?
29. Infantile Gambino, “This Is America”
Donald Glover paints a vivid, horrifying and harrowing image of gun violence and racism in America.
30. Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”
Sinead O’Connor‘s emoting face and buzzcut are all you see in her signature music’s video, and it’s all it is advisable see for the message of unadulterated heartbreak solely thinly veiled by pointed defiance.
31. Cyndi Lauper, “Ladies Simply Wish to Have Enjoyable”
Professional wrestler Lou Albano starred as Cyndi Lauper‘s dad on this traditional, and her real-life mother performed herself.
32. Aerosmith, “Loopy”
33. N*SYNC, “Bye Bye Bye”
Even in case you thought you had been too cool for boy bands, you’ll be able to’t deny that N*SYNC delivered as puppets.
34. REM, “All people Hurts”
REM examined the common heartbreak within the human expertise.
35. DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Recent Prince, “Dad and mom Simply Don’t Perceive”
Teenage angst and style struggles take middle stage on this hip-hop traditional starring, in fact, Will Smith.
36. En Vogue, “Free Your Thoughts”
En Vogue was true to their identify on this catwalk-storming video confronting racism, close-mindedness and girls’s rights to decorate nevertheless they rattling effectively please.
37. Rihanna, “Umbrella”
38. Kanye West, “Runaway”
Kanye West made a brief movie for a number of songs on My Lovely Darkish Twisted Fantasy to discover themes of racism, materialism, fame and heartbreak.
39. Beastie Boys, “Sabotage”
40. Run DMC Feat. Aerosmith, “Stroll This Method”
41. Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Factor)”
Lauryn Hill embraced the “Doo Wop” period in her styling for one aspect of the display screen and embraced trendy hip hop on the opposite—and appeared beautiful in each, a testomony to the neo-soul motion.
42. Blink-182, “All of the Small Issues”
Whereas the band’s nudity in “What’s My Age Once more” was a pre-viral hit, their spoof of boy band tropes in “All of the Small Issues” cemented Blink-182 in rock video historical past.
43. Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl”
44. Mariah Carey, “Fantasy”
“Fantasy” was Mariah Carey‘s directorial debut. Carey filmed the video at Rye Playland. “I can really sing the music and carry out it on the rollercoaster as a result of I’m not scared being on the rollercoaster,” she instructed Leisure Tonight whereas making the long-lasting clip. That’s like youngsters’ stuff for me. I’m a giant rollercoaster queen!”
45. Smashing Pumpkins, “Tonight Tonight”
The steampunk aesthetic has not often appeared higher.
46. Infamous B.I.G. Feat. Diddy and Mase, “Mo Cash Mo Issues”
Filmed after Infamous B.I.G.‘s homicide, Mase and Diddy honored their late good friend with a foolish golf-themed sketch earlier than making fluorescent gentle tubes look posh.
47. Blind Melon, “No Rain”
48. NWA, “Straight Outta Compton”
MTV really banned “Straight Outta Compton” from its community. On the time, NWA noticed the transfer as a serious roadblock for his or her success, nevertheless it ended up being a part of their legacy.
49. Janelle Monae, “Pynk”
50. Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
The final supper imagery makes for a severely highly effective visible from Kendrick Lamar.
51. The B-52s, “Love Shack”
Enjoyable truth: The “Tin roof, rust” line was an advert lib.
52. Chris Isaak, “Depraved Sport”
Supermodel Helena Christensen is immortalized on this black and white seaside romp with Chris Isaak.
53. Salt ‘N’ Pepa Feat. En Vogue, “What a Man”
Salt ‘N’ Pepa celebrated being sexual beings with out catering to the male gaze—a uncommon feat that needs to be celebrated and repeated extra typically.
54. OK Go, “Right here It Goes Once more”
“Right here It Goes Once more,” well-known for its use of treadmills, was credited with launching the age of YouTube in 2006. OK Go stayed in singer Damian Kulash‘s ballroom dancer sister Trish Sie‘s house for 10 days to report the video with out telling their label. “I bear in mind once we put up the tarp behind us, we had been like, ‘It’s okay that it seems s**tty. We don’t need anybody to mistake this for an actual, high-budget music video,” Kulash recalled. It first went viral on StupidVideos.com, a lot to the band’s chagrin, with 300,000 views. That they had their label take the video down and reupload it to a fledgling video sharing website referred to as YouTube—and it garnered 900,000 views in a single day. “We actually thought there was a decimal place incorrect,” Kulash stated. “It was like, holy s**t. Clearly it blew up, and it was a giant deal, and the entire sudden our label remembered our identify and turned on the promotion machine and all that.
55. Pink, Mya, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, “Woman Marmalade”
This Moulin Rouge soundtrack cowl had a video that Pink described as a “circus on acid.”
56. Paula Abdul, “Opposites Appeal to”
57. Spice Ladies, “Wannabe”
The “Wannabe” video, made to seem as if it had been filmed in a single steady shot, really had two minor edits. The clip launched the world to the Spice Ladies in all of their girl-power glory, although Geri Horner has particular recollections from the shoot.
“I bear in mind the chaos and the chilly,” she recalled in Woman Energy. “It wasn’t very managed – we didn’t need it to be. We wished the digicam to seize the insanity of Spice. I had very huge footwear on and fell over many instances. I watched it once more lately and thought it was like a comedy, actually. All the opposite women gave me the award for being the largest prat in it! It’s probably the most spontaneous of our movies.”
58. Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me a River”
Justin Timberlake intentionally used a Britney Spears doppelganger on this video about their break up to capitalize on the excitement, and it paid off in spades.
59. Eminem, “Stan”
Devon Sawa performs an obsessed fan alongside a long-suffering Dido on this visible for Eminem‘s legendary music which spawned the time period “stan.”
60. Korn, “Freak on a Leash”
Korn gained the Finest Music Video Grammy for “Freak on a Leash,” which mixes animation and course from comedian ebook mogul Todd McFarlane with particular visible results to indicate the eerie journey of a bullet. The video additionally had assist from then-future Little Miss Sunshine administrators Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
61. Aaliyah, “We Want a Decision”
Aaliyah appeared beautiful as she cavorted with serpents earlier than Britney Spears did together with her iconic “Slave Four U” efficiency.
61. The White Stripes, “Fell in Love With a Woman”
Earlier than there was a Lego Film, there was this breakout hit from the White Stripes.
62. Coolio, “Gangsta’s Paradise”
Antoine Fuqua directed the “Gangsta’s Paradise” video, which featured Michelle Pfeiffer reprising her Harmful Minds position—and Coolio wasn’t too eager on it at first. “I wished some low-riders and a few s**t in it,” he admitted to Rolling Stone. “I used to be making an attempt to take it ‘hood.’” He got here round as soon as he noticed the ultimate end result, successful two MTV Video Music Awards for the clip.
63. Bizarre Al Yankovic, “Amish Paradise”
“Amish Paradise” was one among Bizarre Al Yankovic‘s largest hits, nevertheless it really brought on some non permanent beef with Coolio: Yankovic received permission from Coolio’s label, however not the rapper himself, to parody the music. Coolio was sad at first, however finally admitted he regretted making a stink about it and that he really appreciated the video.
64. Jennifer Lopez, “Ready for Tonight”
The lasers, Jennifer Lopez‘s sheer, sparkly physique go well with—it’s all very Y2K, however in the easiest way.
65. Shania Twain, “Man! I Really feel Like a Lady”
66. Lizzo, “Juice”
Exercises and ’80s seems had been by no means extra enjoyable than on this Lizzo video.
67. BTS, “Blood, Sweat and Tears”
Ok-Pop stars BTS put blood, sweat and tears into their video of the identical identify, which has been described as “a haunting [one] that explores concepts of destiny, actuality, life and dying, and falling from grace.”
68. Snoop Dogg, “Sensual Seduction”
Although not Snoop Dogg‘s hottest music, “Sensual Seduction” is his most putting and hilarious visible.
69. Christina Aguilera, “Genie in a Bottle”
“Genie in a Bottle” launched Christina Aguilera to the world, but when she had three needs in the course of the video shoot, one among them might have been for a parka: She lamented that it was “freezing” on the Malibu set of the video that will propel her to megastardom.
70. Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Nietzsche, Kelly Clarkson and flash mobs. What extra does anybody want?
71. Maroon 5 Feat. Cardi B, “Ladies Like You”
The video is just a celebration of ladies. And we adore it. Gal Gadot, Ellen DeGeneres, Aly Raisman, Camila Cabello, Phoebe Robinson, Sarah Silverman, Lilly Singh, Tiffany Haddish, Millie Bobby Brown, Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige are among the many well-known faces showing alongside Adam Levine within the video for this Maroon 5 hit with Cardi B.
Wish to get pumped for the new climate? Try our checklist of the very best summer time songs of all time.