The Most Iconic Music Videos of All Time

By Michael KasianLast Updated Oct 20, 2020 7:52:55 PM ET
Bjork Black Lake
Photo Courtesy: Bjork/YouTube

Music videos are the most remarkable works of art of the modern world. The MTV generation of the '80s and '90s watched eye-catching clips from the creative pioneers who launched the medium. Nowadays, artists strive to make videos that eclipse boundaries already broken in hopes of gaining attention.

More music videos get released all the time, but only a select few have been powerful enough to spark controversy, launch careers and withstand the test of time.

Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (1983)

Michael Jackson's most iconic video is a mini-movie that runs for 14 monstrous minutes. The spooky spectacle is an homage to old horror films mixed with camp and an unforgettable dance routine with a horde of zombies. It's Michael Jackson at his finest.

Ydnt94jjnaq6fe0gpm3ras7t4c Pkykmhxwgybaayeczntvb5qc7kebc9a01nauihfhwzsmlimg2esnsbl9dd4sjmgpjbjudo9mcdijnpuvdmpj 7wk9gzgsbzz 9jccucw Qbxxsbtl9csd7q
Photo Courtesy: Michael Jackson/YouTube

The video made "Thriller" an essential song for every Halloween party, and it lives on via the popular "Michael Jackson eating popcorn" GIF. It’s so iconic, in fact, that it's currently the only music video preserved in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.

Madonna — “Like a Prayer” (1989)

Madonna's legendary musical career explores the complicated relationship between sex and religion, and no music video in her career better illustrates her life's work than "Like a Prayer." The powerful video explored injustice in the prison system, interracial love and spirituality.

Elcyuwd3qg9ou0idhlfvcebje4expkibyke5wpaib2ax498txuwjna8mhxwswn0d1debroq 3pfziudzqcyri1nvq3i89uunf Hitl1r11afan8yyxc7i6l7weiz0jauhsiei3nhdveuegdmxg
Photo Courtesy: Madonna/YouTube

It would be an understatement to say the video didn't cause controversy. Critics hailed it for its symbolic imagery, but family and religious groups were horrified. Even the Vatican condemned Madonna's video, criticizing its "blasphemous use of Christian imagery." In response, Pepsi notoriously canceled its multi-million dollar campaign that used the song.


Childish Gambino – “This Is America” (2018)

Gambino's rap/gospel video is a gripping meta interpretation of the social injustices that have plagued African Americans for years. The artist seamlessly weaves through protestors, shooting sprees, police brutality, all the while sidetracked with a group of dancers fixated on the latest dance moves.

Bakbx3nsp2mqagclf0v33s0xa Hrwgrnu3p 6h Xku6xqxjmffg1pzlcabnmlrfkogdrdbwfb0h2zuumkacmlllfstfeuy8yfsacx4aewalyt52of49253zngqe5nc2eh7ruhfh30bqwtrunha
Photo Courtesy: Donald Glover/YouTube

The internet spent weeks watching the video, attempting to decode its blink-and-you'll-miss-it symbolic imagery. Countless think pieces later, the video cemented the song as a modern-day protest anthem against gun violence, police brutality and discrimination.


George Michael – “Freedom! ’90” (1990)

In 1990, George Michael was at the top of his game. His music videos were in heavy rotation on MTV, and his albums were selling out across the world. But when it came time to make the video for "Freedom! '90," Michael had had enough of the pop music rat race.

7yupryzac9dr8asyi Hytl0h Iblfzzyvhnsetzjib2peied1q2kza4a8dmrv3qojqoegls0xzu72vs4sz9umw Wa1hmkzew22bkela6waalpjsuy2fvbqozhux3hwctkki Egukzwpfkdpgsg
Photo Courtesy: georgemichael/YouTube

He grew tired of the pressures of fame and wanted to take a step back from the spotlight. Instead of seeing George Michael, fans saw supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford singing his song, as symbols of the pop legend burned in flames.


Missy Elliot – “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)

When it comes to outrageous music videos, no one comes close to Missy Elliot. She combines surrealist visuals with colorful wardrobes and gravity-defying dance routines. She has a catalog of amazing choices, but her breakout video, directed by Hype Williams, remains the rapper's most iconic of all time.

Xler9hghceptegbix R0 Ykihs4o2m4xla65valfki4zr8gvh5qzwhm6sj48lftwppu 1zz Rqqq4jpsb1cagfigximli Pxwjwdmd0oncsk7c64xrxu9owb4rjfqzmszafotkeu2154vnv 9q
Photo Courtesy: Missy Elliot/YouTube

In the video, Missy sported her glittered helmet glasses and patent leather blow-up suit, also lovingly referred to as her "trash bag bubble." The video also filled the screen with neon landscapes, rain dancing in Timberland boots and countless celeb cameos.


Beyoncé — “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008)

"Single Ladies" had no costume changes, no set changes and very simple choreography. It sounds like a recipe for something boring, but the less-is-more approach made Beyoncé's moves nothing short of captivating. Fans across the globe went wild over the dance, and many wannabes uploaded their own versions on YouTube to the delight of viewers.

Cx3dwixc5maw Zxa2f9dqgbobx1ioe6yu2hsb9kszaclkcdadltj7dejgdygndyipmw Rpsglq4eu3rbv6eqeb4e61gxlscw2cj3aihgeb4mdtpbjeva1ckjwyfyeahl8 3incws71d8h7v89g
Photo Courtesy: Beyoncé/YouTube

Beyoncé went on to win big at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, snagging the coveted Video of the Year award. However, she lost the Moonman for Best Female Video to Taylor Swift, prompting a very drunk Kanye West to interrupt Swift during her acceptance speech on Beyoncé's behalf.


Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer” (1986)

Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" was a trippy tour de force. In the video, the British rocker danced his way through playful vignettes of claymation, pixilation and stop-motion animation. In reality, he had to lie under a sheet of glass for 16 hours so they could film the video one frame at a time.

Gizrqb1ttpi2ncydl7nbazcugk3rw Yy0 Mh7mjxph9ghjjukjowjlfogp24n0zw3vidzd7nqqi1okyobqqdfqusndms92gnn1 E4custxco2ovzlws6mp8dawf2ucphnyxbiknonpv8yfihgg
Photo Courtesy: Peter Gabriel/YouTube

His efforts paid off. The video was a marvelous display of creativity, weaving through crazy scenes seamlessly. It went on to win nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987, the most awards a video has ever won.


Nine Inch Nails – “Closer” (1994)

This creepy clip took place in what can only be described as a 19th-century doctor's office with a touch of S&M. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor found himself blindfolded, gagged, windswept, handcuffed and surrounded by various dismembered animals.

K7ctd3qozkvcgdhwmt0qlja Kiuhckgnuqh1uozkuepykpmzzefsocpdbzhx6kz0dvti Yjld3shcrxau7zeqs3fegq1cluz Aikas46e7npohsjctg7aqnpyfs2lmbvosywxn6d8skdtg73tw
Photo Courtesy: Nine Inch Nails/YouTube

The video was too explicit for TV, so several scenes were blocked by a black screen that read "Scene Missing." The video was later voted number one in a VH1 Classic poll for "The Greatest Music Videos of All Time."


Janelle Monáe feat. Grimes – Pynk (2018)

Monáe doubled down on self-love and female empowerment at the coolest desert party of all time. In the 2018 video for "Pynk," women were safe to be themselves — and men weren't necessary. The queer representation and anatomically-diverse lady pants were a visual breath of fresh air.

Awcjxyk1ill0yhzdcq0 M1ujx0gxs Yfcxymetcrwt1xgyziykxvvziuwv 3q31fkvhtalcglpyhlmrr2yky079fym V9psjq5i7gcsggqn0ryw9q3fk8cpx Jluoz32f84rb1jcd Rb6blkq
Photo Courtesy: Janelle Monáe/YouTube

The video premiered around the time Monáe came out as pansexual, which was a big moment for the very private singer. For that reason, the video's visuals and message made the song an anthem for lesbian, bisexual and queer-identifying women.


The Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight” (1996)

The Smashing Pumpkins usually made heavy metal goth rock, but this song was different. "Tonight, Tonight" was an orchestral, climactic ballad with a video that harkened back to the silent film era.

2dmjsgjhaflz Dqlikhdubojizg3texlenfbsgtlvjxvet0pe7htqzsqqauyzgldda9oibrmxfc7rvzcj4yadum4zm P8udedyf1br9zsrguxoqs6vz7cdf1humkbq Bagq7p5vbqjnffop7xa
Photo Courtesy: Smashing Pumpkins/YouTube

The video's primitive effects and turn-of-the-century costumes were a surprising visual counter to the band's sound. It was a significant visual departure for the band, and it paid off in droves. Silent films were suddenly all the rage, and the band won six MTV Video Music Awards.


Sinéad O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 You” (1990)

O'Connor took viewers through an emotional rollercoaster in her emotional Prince cover. The video mostly consists of a closeup shot of her face as she sang through her anger and sadness. Toward the end of the video, two real tears rolled down her cheeks.

Iqdl0vj Mdpw0fx2y1snhe3hnnb6etn74shmqr84hioar0tyxyox0cqg1w7copvvkz5pfsspo8 Pxi38bi11a3ipt1n3oejihmt L7ak3izh2adrvifbjq Iyixtyqvx2trxfjgc Vij4tdh7g
Photo Courtesy: Sinéad O’Connor/YouTube

The clip collected three Video Music Awards in 1990, including Video of the Year. O'Connor inspired other artists, including D'Angelo and Miley Cyrus, to look into the camera for their music videos, but nothing compares to Sinéad's devastated gaze all these years later.


OK Go – “Here It Goes Again” (2006)

OK Go made a name for themselves in the early 2000s with their low budget viral videos. Their first video for "Here It Goes Again" was a complex dance routine on treadmills performed in one take. It was their first taste of virality and changed the music video game forever.

Yjkrawd163dzdqi0ecbe1f1gkf8cro3xg5b7u0h6nobpgdwbyfqxtcdn8jndp4g6lwcpwmisu9mh Nlvpr1qhnnewd3bbidcd 4vienjh48apidi1jokopn05xkkmuq03dupnzjdefzhb7nbua
Photo Courtesy: OK Go/YouTube

YouTube was becoming the next MTV, and musicians looking to make a wave had to think fast. OK Go had the idea to create music videos with the intention of trending on the internet. They kept the same formula intact for all their videos that followed.


A-ha - “Take On Me” (1984)

A-ha made music video history thanks to the animation style known as rotoscoping. Animators draw over motion picture footage frame by frame to produce realistic action with a cartoon look. It sounds like a lot of work — and it is — but it paid off for the Norwegian synthpop band.

Fukz7bczwctrnh4ii40bkldwjqyrfgwuf95ajool9nb1jti2xugiuv03wl7zg0wcdtuwcvtceotvrftairclsfarmmb0gkk 2abjsvt7giiiyjnynunjlbuscshn2yw Ml58rrbftpx15f0 Xw
Photo Courtesy: RHINO/YouTube

The video's romantic storyline and whimsical animation style made MTV history. The group won six Moonmen at the 1986 Video Music Awards and amassed over 930 million views on YouTube. Bands like Weezer and Paramore have created their own video tributes using the iconic style.


Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Pink, Mya and Lil Kim — “Lady Marmalade” (2001)

It's the ultimate pop music collaboration. These four powerhouses joined forces with a lot of lingerie for a cabaret like no other. Like a circus on acid, each performer showed off tiny costumes, sultry dance moves and outrageous hair and makeup.

Env5emvhtyn4cai2vkplpva7 Gvcngalulzfgfc85v7xrqvg Sf946nlsguxz Vl3udsb6lkh2ezitt9rfr4rbnnausyfvcm Ihbflowvwdwh4mwx2vi Oi F9d Uxkx 1jf2b3t2xznoeo02g
Photo Courtesy: Christina Aguilera/YouTube

The blend of hip hop, pop and French cabaret was a recipe for success. The video won the 2001 MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year and the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.


2Pac feat. Dr. Dre – “California Love” (1995)

Burning Man meets Mad Max in 2Pac and Dr. Dre's futuristic homage to their home state of California. Filmed inside the actual Thunderdome from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the powerhouse rap duo threw a post-apocalyptic rave in the desert for the video.

Cae9c81pfcppujqx E6srgcdhunhykoglba10ridehlx0s4davicpjpqz Scxpzchoou6hkj5mlkd296i2b02nw6vimnkos Mrnnzonz7cxyrtpfrb71ss63qou Lrwrbfrypnwrnnbkm H Cg
Photo Courtesy: UPROXX Video/YouTube

Everyone in this video's twisted future drove giant jeeps and wore steampunk armor. The sepia-toned, desert visuals make the video look futuristic to this day, unless you've ever been to Burning Man. Then it's just another day at the Thunderdome.


Pearl Jam – “Jeremy” (1992)

Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" was a chilling illustration of loneliness and depression. The troubled lead, Jeremy, moved through frozen family members and classmates as the music intensified. Strobe lights flashed as words like "problem" and "ignored" appeared, pushing Jeremy to his breaking point.

Z0osjdy2nztquoqix5wx6qfaejqe73wiq Flqmyssnexxpyt1v5ndxtjfbqwiupa Bruqo 0qazgaglk12bj9 Cx56iuohfgspo1gx8qa Xmy7rssvj535huhmbxhfx Cvvzs4ktc9gpatmgg
Photo Courtesy: Pearl Jam/YouTube

In the video's unedited climax, Jeremy reached for a gun in his desk and shot himself. MTV restricted the most violent parts from airing, and an alternative version was released. The video was still powerful after the edits, but Pearl Jam stopped making videos for years following the controversy.


Outkast – “B.O.B.” (2000)

Outkast has so many iconic music videos that it's hard to pick just one. "Miss Jackson" saw Andre 3000 and Big Boi save a house from flooding as animals bounced their heads to the music. "Hey Ya!" offered a Beatles-style performance on live TV.

T4f M9c Kz5bptmtyulixvz6cvbet34nm Ab1kmcdj4jterx Lu Bzfebddtsjj8powyvxdotcrmx0lncsluy0z7domzhiczyimcmbzgfuhpe4h9mmumvvvpwhn9clqukxarkpe4qg2dkzjjtw
Photo Courtesy: Outkast/YouTube

But none of Outkast’s other videos compare to "B.O.B.," their hip hop opus on psychedelics. The rap duo celebrated their community while expressing their unique individuality. No one could mix technicolor suburbia, bondage–clad Bond girls and gospel choirs quite like Outkast.


Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson – “SCREAM” (1995)

The iconic Jackson siblings hopped aboard a spaceship for a $7 million ride into history. The video for "Scream" earned the Guinness Book of World Records title for the most expensive music video ever made. The video gave Michael a chance to retaliate (angrily) against the media.

Gwnoxj1 Yq4ylltnugrtmlp8iomx2tsbv29kg3d7b8bzlkv4mamwqd6rm2bbhz2k9x57i0i4af 25z7qcxvbzexcc7qf20umy1bqkb69m Siji7aiyo6bpuyheicwmwwtkpsifoqt2bwdwtdnq
Photo Courtesy: Michael Jackson/YouTube

The spaceship featured a selection of rooms for the brother-sister duo to relax, but they had other plans. Instead, the Jacksons let out their aggressions and danced with a vengeance. It was a complicated time in the King of Pop's controversial career, and the video proved it.


Jamiroquai – “Virtual Insanity” (1996)

Jamiroquai's singer Jay Kay takes viewers on a ride with the most confusing dance sequence in music video history. Performed in a white room with a gray floor, Jay Kay sang the song as the floor appeared to move while the room stood still.

Shnxkaurusgx8xttvsjye0jvy7kc6syqjdtehhoswhoqs Ktczmkcfwolercmotzacpknkqbc Ut 2pemfemk5fhyngzlssrvra3hp2li02c8zlqzh26kqxcpo Llcnmeg17yyrxdcpmgdi9fa
Photo Courtesy: Jamiroquai Official/YouTube

Viewers and critics agreed that this was a stunning display of special effects. Jay Kay's bizarre dancing helped a little too. The video won four Moonmen at the 1997 Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.


Sia – “Chandelier” (2014)

Before making it big as a pop singer, Sia was a talented songwriter for big-name acts like Rihanna and Katy Perry. Years after releasing her own indie music, Sia broke through with 1000 Forms of Fear. The only problem was she was afraid of the attention.

Nartcgfpq 6yh1jtokf38 Qbxsvnq0gtdbdutqgshsk0donappt4atxu 8kdagh Qqlmjy1vowobwy3ymqzl Fobe1tu8qf Srqfbi2zln0hpio65sc7zwglwchhrwyce Hq3vglnih40ja2ug
Photo Courtesy: Sia/YouTube

Enter dancer Maddie Ziegler. Instead of Sia starring in her own video, the young dancer donned a blond wig and danced through Sia's powerful song. The choreography fit the song perfectly, and Sia enjoyed the spotlight from a safe distance.


Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

The song ushered in the grunge movement, but the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ushered in the look. First-time director Samuel Bayer took a typical high school concert and turned it into a total riot. What else would you expect from a school with cheerleaders sporting anarchist symbols?

Fmrzcinuw Qd8qxvcmgyguus8u6kg30ir5bi5358yfb3zwa9deuxursoai47rf3maslliluw7mgt1v1zqhpq784fi82l Iguik7jaqetx1n1 Bxf6tcyimxlkufaur8yhyitgqmljw1dllumiw
Photo Courtesy: nirvana/YouTube

The grunge rock movement paired well with a general apathy toward society, and the video exemplified that. In fact, the students shown in the video were actually bored after filming the video for several hours.


TLC – “Waterfalls” (1995)

The clouds. The water. Those matching pastel pants! TLC were aquatic muses with a warning for the world in their iconic "Waterfalls" video. T-Boz's raspy voice offered two tales of gang violence and unsafe sex as viewers watched the stories unfold.

Pee7bu21 Qgxfk4fvvktduxaryxmokmglyjz9 Rbibea2zycxrn7nrwqbjgo1xh4ooazjnijywgxpscf9 Eoqhqvwnwu8ks8icrv2px5nbkk1rbq7zq4xbhmydxctvf8scnh45 Io28d3xf0lq
Photo Courtesy: TLC/YouTube

Not even Left-Eye's timeless rap could save the characters from making the wrong decisions. By the end of the video, T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chili appeared liquified next to an actual waterfall — and danced their way into '90s history.


Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (2017)

Lamar made music video history with the release of his spiritually charged video for "HUMBLE." The video started with Lamar dressed like the pope, looking somber in a cathedral. He later recreated Leonardo da Vinci's 15th-century painting The Last Supper, with Lamar, naturally, sitting in Jesus' chair.

Qclzcalqaumbgoooezd2o2uejatcok Sdprm8leuoro4rb5p0 3h9gmc Hxflz2gsanzpxpvaoosdo2ftl353pa D9 11n0h0nchkpeni0wotyhb1mmzsohveiwvx Gjjpjxfcqt5bubgrrw
Photo Courtesy: KendrickLamarVEVO/YouTube

In between religious visuals, Lamar played with money, golfed in an underpass and stood surrounded by men on fire. Critics hailed it as a critique of society's focus on consumerism. Perhaps we should all "sit down and be humble."


Mariah Carey – “Honey” (1999)

Mariah Carey was topping the charts with her pristine image for years, but that came to a screeching halt in 1999. Something was different about the elusive chanteuse with the release of "Honey." The squeaky clean singer spent the video diving in a bikini and dancing way more suggestively than ever before.

8rdjokdvgzqhgnnzmnqjlun Znvnn8iqmqjwqohxw8ir0vfutlv7dh47cbte2wgjihowbkd Gsh0hsn34nqwvo5q3walxnzl7tztqdefcjm8gix Pyqpn6o0auz4nmoesrpdidwbywrcjahmnq
Photo Courtesy: Mariah Carey/YouTube

Carey was in the midst of divorcing her music executive husband, Tommy Mottola. The video was a provocative pivot for the diva and a not-so-subtle nod to her divorce. In the video, she escaped captivity from a wealthy man's mansion and began the rest of her life as a free, liberated woman.


Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain” (1992)

The video for Guns 'N' Roses booming ballad "November Rain" featured the most rock n' roll wedding of all time. In the video, lead singer Axl Rose married his then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour, surrounded by gothic candles, cigarettes and hairspray.

Qkyyh2p9lpkimrlrrwllgx8and4eew4iww Ngjwnselnilvadgx3pssxf0wfrqrvbcbsr2b Ozg4qjisnm7imoyjglqjxsuwwk4cbdjdr4mwnpwth0ldd6c4pxtu1npq4rg5bk4xlwn6ojnvog
Photo Courtesy: Guns N' Roses/YouTube

Between shots of the wedding reception, viewers watched in high-def as the band performed "live." The $1 million video ended in despair after nine beautiful minutes. Rain poured down during the reception, which then segued into shots of Seymour's funeral. It's confusing, but still epic.


Rihanna & Calvin Harris – "We Found Love" (2011)

Music videos depicting relationships gone wrong are a dime a dozen. However, director Melina Matsoukas created a relationship rollercoaster ride. Rihanna fought, kissed and danced through her relationship with her boyfriend before leaving him in a pool of drugs and alcohol.

Qaipk0snutykdl Miswelwxvoxlf1anar Nbjakfws7ual4a296298d3btlp0tolczzg5mviwd0stjhz0ma 2sonllyk508zy8ciumrlemlyxjwato2pcyqtd6jzwb0u2 Rcrala0is Pntkew
Photo Courtesy: Rihanna/YouTube

The video used visual cues from films like Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream to emphasize their chaotic love. It won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video and the VMA for Video of the Year.


Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)

Before the regular release of music videos, there were promotional videos. Also known as "pop promos," the videos played on TV stations when the bands couldn't be there to perform for the cameras. Queen specifically wanted to produce their video so they could avoid lip-syncing to their song on Top of the Pops.

Ekkjlksbgs9vogq0ivcwdijnwcn M7jermgm2y2g7gldyvqczqujygzcbdpt8wwhkqarpr0wdr4ysytdtp0blhfts8joje4slfh5k38rtk6cnt826p8mvgrjglff75bwdlhmbzukdwdxqop5q
Photo Courtesy: Queen Official/YouTube

It turned into more than a performance clip of the band; it was an artistic statement. The video is one of the main catalysts for the creation of MTV and the creation of music videos at large. It currently has more than one billion views on YouTube.


Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee – “Despacito” (2017)

Before the video was filmed, Fonsi had some requests. First, he wanted 2006's Miss Universe, Zuleyka Rivera, cast to represent "the power of a Latina woman." Next, he wanted the video to celebrate Latin American culture and amplify the song's soul accurately.

Th2whhlpccd0ajgbdmysou2othegocsdp2usgzr Cmrhwaks Pu8hu4gt4ipfv Ivb3zi5bfu4upewfy1kaf79z4yfmkgwb 6hqjbujmdj8grcd0cstegeanrmdwf1d0m1gmqfalk9s5xolsdq
Photo Courtesy: Luis Fonsi/YouTube

He nailed it. The video perfectly captured the beauty of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Fonsi and Daddy Yankee serenaded the world with their infectious hit. "Despacito" stands alone on YouTube with more than 6.4 billion views, making it the most viewed music video of all time.


Prince – “When Doves Cry” (1984)

Doves, flowers and a smoking bathtub all within the first 10 seconds? It must be Prince. Wearing nothing but a cross around his neck, Prince rose from his bathtub and stared into the camera, holding his hand out for whoever wanted it.

Kyrqqzvrtnlrvr4 Xexezqwe Unmy7j0rqrcgfushgzbqqjmicnqwjmcqgeo1cn9rpw A5hpt Pzissa7jleqt Hlv4jqimcdwwyujhozm36bhqh3w0metoppmtrgyip58tkrwkqex8wtghx W
Photo Courtesy: Prince/YouTube

The video featured Prince getting dressed to perform, mixed with scenes from his Academy Award-winning rock musical Purple Rain. It was one of the first clips to spark controversy for being too sexually explicit for TV.


Bjork – “Big Time Sensuality” (1993)

This is the video that made Björk a household name, and the premise was simple: Film Björk while she dances on the back of a truck in New York City. Simple or not, it was just bizarre enough to make the video an MTV mainstay in 1993.

R1bizoubfnnrhr9zclzcgewzg8xoa0fosjzxpmi0dcxluf2nwn6pon9fkliocwhrfmzq8n Xk6jhebyaycyhmaudlncabmp1qqpuzzun8hwhwfbapwjzbceqi Swr4t8yj6fx5vbgg8uicjirq
Photo Courtesy: Björk Bjork/YouTube

The focus was on her tight hairdo, bizarre dance moves and grandiose facial expressions. She was the otherworldly Icelandic pixie on full display in the Big Apple, and you could almost feel her joy climb through the black and white clip.


David Bowie – “Ashes to Ashes” (1980)

In 1980, music videos were still finding their footing. Most videos at the time showed bands performing their songs as if they were on another stage. There weren't a lot of creative special effects used yet. That is, of course, until Bowie got into the mix.

8egck78dddmwdnnim0jupa9emzlltqzx3lhs9ckwgob Ogpdsxi925v3uqewhipzl4k2fduxzjsg22kfr068i Slv3synnmc2vy8xwphbxgkwcswtx37hlfikvr J6wpe3qjyfnmjyf4vgh5yg
Photo Courtesy: David Bowie/YouTube

Bowie was already a creative legend, but music videos gave him the chance to push boundaries even further. The opulent, otherworldly clip cost more than $425,000 to make, making it one of the most expensive music videos of all time.