10 best music videos ever

MTV has reached a ripe old 30 year vintage. We look back on the landmark pop promos that made it famous

Video Killed the Radio Star

(The Buggles, 1979)

It was a pretty obvious choice to start the playlist for MTV’s first broadcast. So it did. As Grandmaster Flash once pointed out, “First is forever.”


(Michael Jackson, 1984)

On the album, Thriller was six minutes long. The video – which featured Jacko and his dance crew as choreographed zombies – ran to nearly 14 minutes. And was brilliant.

Money for Nothing

(Dire Straits, 1985)

Groundbreaking and Dire Straits don’t usually belong in the same sentence, but the blocky CGI animation of Money for Nothing’s video was ahead of its time. And who didn’t want a glow-in-the-dark headband after watching it?


(Peter Gabriel, 1986)

Nick Park (of Wallace and Gromit fame) put together this surreal stop-motion vid. It featured a pair of terrifying headless turkeys and Gabriel was forced to lie under a glass screen for 16 hours to make it.

Like A Prayer

(Madonna, 1989)

Madge spent a lot of the 1980s upsetting people, and her ’89 vid combining sex and Catholic imagery was no exception. Richard Dawkins would be proud.

Nothing Compares 2 U

(Sinead O’Connor, 1990)

Sinead O’Connor turned on the waterworks while mouthing along to this Prince-penned ditty. The real tears translated into real success for an otherwise drab vid.

Virtual Insanity

(Jamiroquai, 1996)

JK pranced about as usual, but Jonathan Glazer’s innovative promo (including four moving walls) helped propel Jamiroquai’s 1996 single to number three in the charts.

Smack My Bitch Up

(The Prodigy, 1997)

Initially banned everywhere, MTV finally agreed to show The Prodigy’s distrubing vision of drug and booze-fuelled domestic violence but only after midnight. There was a wicked twist for those who stayed up to watch it.

… Baby One More Time

(Britney Spears, 1998)

The girl from the Mickey Mouse Club vaulted to the other side of the tracks by dancing raunchily to her debut single in a sexed-up school uniform. The outfit’s now on display at Hard Rock Las Vegas.

Here It Goes Again

(OK Go, 2006)

OK Go started as they meant to go on – producing memorable music videos to accompany their forgettable music. This impressive continuously shot treadmill dance routine was as good a jumping-off point as they could have wanted.

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