5 definitive MTV videos

Our final countdown (sorry about that) as part our MTV revolution feature looks at some of the definitive music videos to air…

5. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1983)

Cue the Vincent Price cackle and the army of choreographed zombie dancers – John Landis’ 14-minute epic is regarded as the greatest and most influential pop video of all time. In the UK, it was memorably premiered as an exclusive courtesy of The Tube programme on Channel 4 – at midnight, suitably enough. All over the country, Betamax recorders wheezed into action.

4. A-Ha – Take On Me (1985)

The greatest pencil-sketch animation/live-action combination (aka rotoscoping) romantic fantasy video… ever! The amount of work that went into creating the video was certainly impressive: around 3,000 individual frames were treated, a process which took 16 weeks. At the following year’s MTV Video Music Awards, the promo effortlessly scooped up six gongs and was nominated for two others.

3. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer (1986)

The music, let’s be honest, was serviceable mid-80s funk-rock. But the stop-motion, clay-animated video, some of it courtesy of Wallace And Gromit’s Plasticine-wrangling maestro Nick Park, took the song to another level altogether. It won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987 (a feat still unsurpassed), and vies with Thriller for the most-played video of all time on MTV.

2. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

This virtually singlehandedly signalled the end of MTV’s first shiny golden age of glamour and colour and ushered in a new era of gritty realism – an era of Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and Tori Amos. Inspired by the 1979 film Over The Edge and the Ramones’ Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, it compressed into four minutes all the disaffected teenage angst and angry apathy of so-called Generation X.

1. Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time (1998)

This borderline-dodgy video captured a 16-year-old Britney in school uniform, hitting new terpsichorean heights among the lockers of Venice High School, LA (the same school where they shot Grease). The uniforms came from Kmart, and the knotted shirt was Britney’s idea. In its final episode, MTV show TRL (Total Request Live) declared …Baby One More Time “the most iconic music video of all time”.

Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.