Top 10 Music Videos of All Time

Script written by Aaron Cameron. Video may have killed the radio star, cause who wants to sit around and watch the radio? Though artists had been making short films or recordings of their songs for several decades, the promotional music video really gained importance in the 1980s with the advent of MTV. For this list, we’ll be looking at iconic music videos made specifically for the medium. We’re excluding performance clips and TV appearances. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 music videos of all time. Special thanks to our users Nicole Calleja, Jason Lundgren, Jack Smith, jfetz100, Jerome Magajes, Sam Moyson, Jacob Witterholt and yo_mum for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Video may have killed the radio star, cause who wants to sit around and watch the radio? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 music videos of all time.

For this list, we’ll be looking at iconic music videos made specifically for the medium. We’re excluding performance clips and TV appearances.

#10: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)
Queen

While we could’ve chosen “I Want to Break Free,” we’re going with the Queen offering that’s often hailed as the first real music video. Partly created so the band could avoid lip-syncing on their “Top of the Pops” appearance, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” promo vid was so successful, it soon led to music video production becoming standard record company policy. It later scored an MTV VMA when it was re-released and re-edited to include scenes from “Wayne’s World.”

#9: “Walk This Way” (1986)
Run-D.M.C. feat. Steven Tyler & Joe Perry

This Aerosmith/Run-D.M.C. collaboration opened doors for the mingling of rap and rock, and helped lift barriers between black and white performers. The artists literally burst through walls in its accompanying music video and are brought together by Joe Perry’s righteous riff. The song and video didn’t only return Aerosmith to the limelight, it also helped cement Run-D.M.C.’s spot in hip-hop music.

#8: “Buddy Holly” (1994)
Weezer

“But it doesn’t sound like Buddy Holly,” said unfunny dads everywhere. Coming to you straight from Arnold’s Drive-In Diner, this Spike Jonze-directed video features the group rocking in ‘50s garb for the “Happy Days” gang. It may’ve only been Weezer’s second short film, but “Buddy Holly” was a massive hit and netted them four MTV VMAs. Just goes to show what butt-loads of creativity, editing, and cash can do.

#7: “Around the World” (1997)
Daft Punk

Though it’s as repetitive as its lyrics, “Around the World”’s music video is hypnotic and strangely satisfying. Featuring jocks, robots, skeletons, mummies and synchronized swimmers, the Michel Gondry-directed short film has each group of dancers representing a different element of the song. With a slightly surreal feel and a blindingly simple concept, “Around the World” also helped carry the Daft Punk single to the top of the Billboard Dance Club chart.

#6: “Vogue” (1990)
Madonna

With the Queen of Pop at the height of her Madonna-ness, this video has everything you’d expect from Madge: it’s sexy, dance-driven, and slightly pretentious. Screaming old Hollywood with touches of Art Deco, “Vogue” was influenced by the photography of Horst P. Horst, who was upset when he didn’t receive any credit. The singer’s transparent lace top also created a bit of a stir, but we’re okay that.

#5: “Sabotage” (1994)
Beastie Boys

This Spike Jonze-directed video is a send-up of ‘70s police shows, with the Beasties as mustachioed, wigged, and aviator-wearing plainclothes cops busting baddies all over town. Despite the censorship of certain violent scenes, “Sabotage” was nominated for five MTV VMAs in 1994. The hip-hop trio may’ve left empty-handed back then, but MTV eventually awarded the killer video a Moonman 15 years later in 2009.

#4: “Money for Nothing” (1985)
Dire Straits

While it may not seem so now, “Money for Nothing” was certainly groundbreaking in 1985. And not just for bassist John Illsley’s CGI-enhanced t-shirt. Through the use of computer animation, the music video brought the Dire Straits’ song to life in a way that was completely original compared to Mark Knopfler and crew’s previous efforts. The MTV VMA-winning video also helped the band top the Billboard Hot 100.

#3: “Sledgehammer” (1986)
Peter Gabriel

Undoubtedly one of the oddest creations ever put to film, this tribute to symbolism raked in a record nine MTV VMAs. Employing both stop motion and Claymation, Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” became extremely influential for its successful combo of different animation techniques. And who can forget those dancing chickens? Story goes Gabriel had to lay under glass for 16 hours to shoot his close-ups and was also repeatedly zapped while donning the light-bulb suit. Talk about suffering for your art.

#2: “Take on Me” (1985)
a-Ha

For this sketchy musical adventure, the Norwegian synth-pop group scored six VMAs. Telling the story of a woman who’s pulled into a comic book world, the music video for “Take on Me” features a pencil and paper look that was accomplished by tracing each scene frame by frame. Thanks to its romantic fantasy elements, memorable storyline and unique blend of live action and animation, the song and video are pop culture favorites.

Honorable Mentions

- “Hurt” (2003) Johnny Cash
- “Here It Goes Again” (2006) OK Go
- “Virtual Insanity” (1996) Jamiroquai
- “Praise You” (1999) Fatboy Slim
- “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990) Sinéad O’Connor
- “November Rain” (1992) Guns N’ Roses

#1: “Thriller” (1983)
Michael Jackson

Though MJ’s “Smooth Criminal” could’ve been a contender, it’s this 13-minute epic that cost at least half a million dollars to make that tops our list. Thanks to its zombie-filled goodness, easy-to-imitate dance moves and Jackson’s unrivalled onscreen charisma, “Thriller” became one of the most iconic music videos ever and a Halloween mix-tape favorite. Earning three VMAs and two Grammys, it also became the first music video to be selected for National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2009.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite music video? For more rockin’ Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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