The 100 Best Music Video Artists of All Time: Workers Record

The 100 Greatest Music Video Artists of All Time: Staff List

It has been almost 4 a long time since our greatest and brightest stars first made the soar from our stereos to our televisions, altering the course of in style music within the course of. In the midst of that point, music movies have come to outline what we love and keep in mind about our favourite artists as a lot as something wanting the music itself — creating icons, reinventing careers, sparking imaginations and galvanizing untold hundreds of thousands of Halloween costumes worldwide.

On the verge of this Sunday’s (Aug. 30) MTV Video Music Awards — the one time a yr the place we’re nonetheless assured to have a good time one in all media’s most influential-but-under-recognized artforms — Billboard wished to have a look again on the artists who’ve given probably the most to the music video, whether or not by means of heavy rotation on MTV, hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, or different mediums that predate each. Right here is our listing of the 100 artists who’ve made the music video everlasting, with a YouTube playlist of movies from all of the artists obtainable on the finish.


Why They’re Video Icons: The Beatles’ first movie, A Exhausting Day’s Evening, predated MTV’s arrival by 17 years, however it pointed the way in which: The Fab 4 obtained video vanguard awards on the first VMAs for “basically inventing the music video.”

The MTV Basic: “Penny Lane,” one of the first clips that showed that videos could be imaginative works of art. When the boys “stop and say hello” early within the video, simply attempt to not be moved.

Price YouTubing“Real Love,” the video to the Beatles’ most up-to-date Sizzling 100 entry, with its memorable picture of John Lennon’s white piano floating as much as the sky. — PAUL GREIN


Why He is a Video Icon: J Balvin might group up with Medellin’s 36 Grados sooner or later and work with California-based Colin Tilley the subsequent, and all of his music movies could have a worldwide attraction with that illustration of Latino gang for la cultura.

The MTV Basic“Mi Gente,” that includes Willy William and directed by JP Valencia, not solely marks Balvin’s most-watched music video at over 2.5 billion views, but in addition spotlights range, good vibes, innovation, and the manufacturing high quality that in the end put him on the worldwide map.

Price YouTubing: Out of all the Tilley-directed movies from Balvin’s Colores album, “Rojo” is one which the followers ought to by no means sleep on. The gory, heart-wrenching clip, the place Balvin will get right into a deadly automobile accident whereas on his technique to the hospital to see his new child, raises consciousness about texting and driving. — JESSICA ROIZ


Why She’s a Video Icon: The Philadelphia-based hip-hop artist has developed a knack for the weird and interesting, with visuals that may make viewers squirm and nonetheless depart them craving extra.

The MTV Basic: The 2018 visible and audio mission, Whack World, seamlessly walks followers by means of a world of the artist’s personal making — and does so between 15 songs in simply 15 minutes.

Price YouTubing: “Mumbo Jumbo,” a unusual visible with excessive shock-value that scored Whack her first ever Grammy nod for greatest music video. — LYNDSEY HAVENS


Why He is a Video Icon: Brooks’ peerless energy as a storyteller interprets from his hit songs to his movies, cinematic clips that helped him redefine nation music within the `90s on a stadium-packing scale.

The MTV Basic: Name it Nashville Noir: a seedy motel on a darkish and stormy evening, a faithless husband, a jealous lover, a betrayed spouse, a violent combat and a gunshot, all set to tense guitar traces and Brooks’ aching vocals on “The Thunder Rolls.” 

Price YouTubing:  All of Brooks’s clips are value You Tubing — however the singer has not launched his music to the platform, objecting to the way it compensates music creators. Regardless of hinting to Billboard in 2018 that he would possibly reduce a brand new take care of YouTube, to this point none of his official movies may be discovered on the positioning. — THOM DUFFY


Why She’s a Video Icon: Heavy on late-’80s and early-’90s visuals — large hair, large earrings, large jackets and tight pants — Paula Abdul straight up outlined a technology of windswept movies with completely choreographed dance strikes.

The MTV Basic: Taking part in reverse MC Skat Kat, Abdul lets her animated associate be a worthy opponent in “Opposites Appeal to.” The push and pull between the would-be couple has you rooting for it to all work out — even when one in all them is a cartoon feline.

Price YouTubing: The outside landscapes of “The Promise of a New Day” exist solely in a Home windows 95 world. However that is what makes the video endure — the earnest hopefulness of Abdul mendacity in a area, singing of higher instances to return is one thing all of us want a dose of proper now. — DENISE WARNER


Why They’re Video Icons: Whereas the French digital duo pioneered a number of the most cutting-edge productions of the late ’90s and early ’00s, they weren’t so self-serious as to not additionally make a collection of surreal and sometimes deeply goofy movies to accompany them.

The MTV Basic: “Across the World,” which options a dance troupe together with mummies, synchronized swimmers, astronauts and skeletons all directed by French auteur Michael Gondry.

Price YouTubing: “Da Funk” — which follows a grown man in a canine masks and a leg solid as he maneuvers by means of an city jungle — is simply deliciously unusual. — KATIE BAIN


Why He is a Video Icon: Donald Glover’s inventive imaginative and prescient for music movies has matured in tandem along with his music, evolving all through the final decade from largely art-for-art’s-sake to layered clips with well timed messaging.

The MTV Basic: “This Is America,” the Grammy-winning, social commentary-filled video that gave a chilling perspective on racial tensions and injustices all through the nation and shortly turned the dialog round dinner tables and political TV units.

Price YouTubing: “Telegraph Ave,” a superbly scenic video filmed in Hawaii that co-stars R&B star Jhené Aiko — and one which takes an surprising flip for the supernatural at its conclusion. — JOSH GLICKSMAN


Why They’re Video Icons: The primary clip that MTV performed upon sign-on in 1981 was The Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star.” A number of of probably the most brilliantly bizarre clips that the cable channel performed over the remainder of the ’80s belonged to a different Trevor Horn mission, The Artwork of Noise.   

The MTV Basic: Directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski, the 1984 clip for “Shut (To the Edit),” stutter-cut to the beat of the music, depicts a younger lady in punk regalia commanding members of the band, who’re sporting fits and wielding energy instruments (“Huey Lewis & The News,” in keeping with one interview) to destroy a collection of classical devices. No marvel Beavis and Butthead accepted, which gave the video a second life within the ‘90s.  

Price YouTubing: “Kiss,” Artwork of Noise’s 1988 cowl of the Prince traditional, with ageless pop singer Tom Jones on vocals With Jones’ cool-guy dance strikes set in opposition to eye-popping visible backgrounds, the clip propelled its singer — whose final go to to the highest 40 had are available in 1977 — to No. 31 on the Billboard Sizzling 100, and into the video age. — FRANK DIGIACOMO


Why She’s a Video Icon: Cardi B’s music movies get greater and higher with every launch, and it’s clear her music video evolution is simply getting began.

The MTV Basic: Whereas “I Like It” was the surprising hit to assist J Balvin and Dangerous Bunny obtain crossover success and elevate all three artists’ star energy, there’s no denying the shock and delight parts of “WAP” that make it an on the spot traditional.

Price YouTubing: At this level, you’d be exhausting pressed to discover a Cardi B music video that you simply haven’t seen earlier than, however 2016’s “Cheap Ass Weave” was a preview of the theatrics that have been to return. — BECKY KAMINSKY


Why He is a Video Icon: Identical to his music, Mr. 305’s movies supply an escapism from actual life and into Pitbull’s fist-pumping world, the place a great time is at all times assured.

The MTV Basic: His 2011 VMA-nominated clip for “I Like It” with Enrique Iglesias opens the door to the last word celebration. The invigorating video will immediately transport you to the membership, even throughout a pandemic shutdown. 

Price YouTubing: Set in one in all L.A.’s hidden holes-in-the-wall, Pitbull takes his crew to the Cuban-themed speakeasy for a burlesque-style evening of dancing within the black-and-white video for “Fireball.” — GRISELDA FLORES


Why They’re Video Icons: The brand new wave survivors embraced their picture as unlikely left-field pop stars with a number of the most imaginative, quirky and customarily loveable video of MTV’s first decade.

The MTV Basic: “You May Assume,” the surreal, effects-laden slapstick clip that beat “Thriller” for video of the yr on the first-ever VMAs in 1984 — nonetheless an apparent theft, however one which’s exhausting to get too mad about.

Price YouTubing: “Howdy Once more,” a winkingly sensationalistic video satire — directed by pop-art OG Andy Warhol, who even cameos as a bartender. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER


Why She’s a Video Icon: Even with YouTube affording folks a direct line to their followers, the overwhelming majority of artists — whether or not they’re chart-toppers or underground faves — are inclined to play it secure in relation to music movies. Not SOPHIE, who continues to experiment with a daring, difficult visible language.

The MTV Basic: Each actually face-melting and face-shredding, the self-directed “Faceshopping” video is as unsettling as it’s unforgettable.

Price YouTubing: “It is Okay to Cry,” the place SOPHIE – in opposition to backdrops of rainbows, storms and stars — sings on to digital camera and demonstrates the liberating, pretty energy of tears. — JOE LYNCH


Why They’re Video Icons: With 5 VMAs and one greatest music video Grammy (“Pork and Beans”) beneath their belts, Weezer have lengthy proved their standing as champions within the area, proving their meme know-how, recruiting an ever-growing listing of celebs, and dealing repeatedly with one of many 1990s’ most in-demand video administrators, Spike Jonze.

The MTV Basic: That may be “Buddy Holly,” the Jonze-helmed, Pleased Days-referencing clip that first made the band Different Nation-era stars.

Price YouTubing: “Keep Fishin’,” which has the band rubbing elbows with The Muppets and exhibiting off their comedic chops. — GAB GINSBERG


Why She’s a Video Icon: Whether or not she’s serving up a sluggish jam or unleashing choreography so intense your thighs will burn simply from watching, each Ciara video is a physique celebration.

The MTV Basic: “Goodies,” her breakout hit and sole Sizzling 100 No. 1, launched the Matrix-style again bend transfer she’d reprise in later movies, together with “Like a Boy.”

Price YouTubing: 2010’s Primary Intuition was a industrial disappointment on the time, however it produced the 2 most spectacular dance movies of her profession: the hypnotic “Ride” and the yard-stomping “Gimmie Dat.” — NOLAN FEENEY


Why She’s a Video Icon: A wildly authentic visible artist pushing avant-garde imagery to the plenty in a shiny pop artwork package deal, Grace Jones’ movies touched on colorism, colonialism and commercialism. Plus, that automobile driving into her mouth seemed fairly cool.

The MTV Basic: Though it is technically a cobbled-together assortment of beforehand current clips, “Slave to the Rhythm” nonetheless stands as some of the impossible-to-ignore movies of the ’80s and earned Jones her sole VMA nom.

Price YouTubing: A visible collage on par with something you would possibly see on the Whitney, the rapid-cut visuals for her cowl of Roxy Music’s “Love Is the Drug” are as frenetic and thrilling because the remix model that accompanies the video. — J. Lynch


Why He is a Video Icon: From the beginning of his profession to as we speak, Troye Sivan makes use of music movies as a chance to current beautiful items of narrative storytelling, typically centered round regularly-excluded LGBTQ themes, from the angle of these they purpose to characterize. 

The MTV Basic: Along with his “Blue Neighborhood Trilogy” (consisting of his movies for “Wild,” “Fools” and “Discuss Me Down”), Sivan turned a whole album’s value of music movies right into a single, linear narrative following a queer love story in an unaccepting society. The singer’s unbelievable use of appearing and visible storytelling made a thundering impression in 2015, the reverberations of which queer artists nonetheless really feel as we speak.

Price YouTubing: On “Bloom,” the Australian star holds completely nothing again in his embrace of pure androgyny — your complete video serves because the queer vogue present of a lifetime, and it’s an absolute delight to observe. — STEPHEN DAW


Why He is a Video Icon: An exemplary MC, Lil Wayne’s crossover attraction and eccentric persona made him as intriguing a presence on video because it did on radio.

The MTV Basic: “Fireman.” With sirens blaring at first of the video, you had a intestine feeling that Weezy’s incendiary bars have been too sizzling for any hearth hose to place out.

Price YouTubing: “Mrs. Officer.” Wayne’s affinity for feminine cops is on show within the light-hearted clip, as he revels on the wonders of handcuffs throughout his bed room escapades. — CARL LAMARRE


Why They’re Video Icons: A whole lot of their movies would possibly simply be trendy efficiency clips with an artwork faculty flourish or two, however what model. The marmoreal cool of Debbie Harry and the band’s razor-sharp duds plastered throughout TV screens helped outline the nascent new wave style, which might set the tone for a lot of a mallrat’s wardrobe.

The MTV Basic: Whether or not “Rapture” passes muster as the primary “rap video” on MTV relies on the elasticity of your definition, however there isn’t any denying the jaw-dropping cool of Debbie Harry in a leather-based tube prime and “Man From Mars” William Barnes in a prime hat strutting by means of the graffiti-covered East Village — with cameos from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fab 5 Freddy.

Price YouTubing: “The Hardest Half,” which supplies us the uncommon alternative to see Debbie Harry as a long-haired brunette, finds her stomping round a set coated in phrases like “Calligraffiti” and “Artwork Soup” whereas the band rocks out in jumpsuits seemingly borrowed from the Devo Spring Runway Assortment.– J. Lynch

82. OK GO

Why They’re Video Icons: In 2006, OK Go danced on treadmills, and the remaining was historical past. After that early success, the band tried to outdo themselves in additional inventive movies; examples embrace a Rube Goldberg machine, capturing elaborate choreography in a single lengthy take, and even filming in a zero gravity setting.

The MTV Basic: “Right here It Goes Once more,” the aforementioned treadmill video, went so viral that even your mother was forwarding it to her buddies on chain emails. (It snagged a Grammy for greatest brief type music video.)

Price YouTubing: The primary video for “This Too Shall Go” is easier than the alternate Rube Goldberg one, however is nonetheless an enthralling, one-take clip that options an superior marching band. — G.G.


Why He is a Video Icon: The Golf Wang brand-leader has been outlined by his visible sensibilities virtually as a lot as his unconventional music model, because of his dedication to self-directing each video for the reason that starting of his profession.

The MTV Basic: “Yonkers,” the unflinching, roach-chomping single-shot that launched the plenty to Tyler’s entrancing menace in 2011, and earned him one of many unlikeliest greatest new artist wins on the VMAs.

Price YouTubing: The dollhouse of horrors in “IFHY” makes an ideal setting for the music’s soap-opera melodrama. — BRYAN KRESS


Why They’re Video Icons: Woman teams as we speak preach that their members’ variations make them stronger. But no group has so totally embraced their particular person charms because the Spice Women, who interpreted their catalog in such wildly completely different ways in which every video gives a choose-your-own journey menu of strikes and perspective.

The MTV Basic: “Wannabe,” a twister of goofiness and insurrection that continued off display screen as effectively: File executives have been reportedly so dissatisfied with the unpolished, free-wheeling really feel of the video that they wished to reshoot it, however the ladies refused.

Price YouTubing: “Viva Forever,” which doesn’t function the ladies themselves. As a substitute, director Steve Field assembled some creepy-looking Spice Women puppets for a surreal animated story about leaving childhood behind — with Ginger Spice’s then-imminent departure from the group solely making its message of misplaced innocence stronger. — N.F.


Why He is a Video Icon: From the second he sashayed as much as the mic in “Livin La Vida Loca” all wearing black, and gave us that look, the Menudo alum turned probably the most memorable and watchable drop-dead good-looking man in pop music.

The MTV Basic: “Livin La Vida Loca,” Martin’s ode to the party-fueled, glitzy ’90s received greatest pop video and Greatest dance video on the 1999 VMA’s and continues to make us wish to simply exit and have a blast.

Price YouTubing: Quick ahead for an additional ode to the great life, this time in 2016 poolside in Miami Seashore and alongside Maluma, child, in “Vente Pa’Ca”; clichéd, responsible enjoyable. — LEILA COBO


Why She’s a Video Icon: Perry’s model has at all times been “fun.” She understands that she’s in present enterprise—and appears to get pleasure from it to the hilt.

The MTV Basic: “California Gurls,” a diet-busting journey to “Candyfornia.” The perfect second: Perry’s startled look when a pink gummy bear provides her the finger.

Price YouTubing: “Birthday,” wherein Perry goes undercover as 5 completely different celebration entertainers, who have been every completely terrible at their jobs. — P.G.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Janelle Monáe could be very clearly a visible thinker — as you watch by means of her intensive videography of “emotion photos,” the triple risk is a pure in relation to her impeccable element and futuristic visible storytelling. 

The MTV Basic: “Q.U.E.E.N.” received Monáe her first-ever VMA for a cause; the video’s use of the singer’s long-running black-and-white motif by means of an experimental artwork gallery of “legendary rebels from all through historical past” (together with iconic visitor star Erykah Badu) makes for a compelling watch.

Price YouTubing: In case you’ve someway managed to overlook “Pynk,” you ought to repair that instantly. Monáe’s rebellious tribute to femininity and queer love in all its kinds (together with the now-iconic vagina pants seen all through the clip) is really a masterpiece. — S.D.


Why They’re Video Icons: The cartoon collective helmed by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett has remodeled its different, genre-blurring model into movies all through the 21st century that depart the viewer asking what did I simply watch? — however in one of the best ways possible.

The MTV Basic: “Feel Good Inc.,” the clip that nabbed VMAs in 2005 for greatest visible results and breakthrough video, because of a floating windmill island — an obvious nod to 1986 Japanese fantasy movie Fort within the Sky — that encapsulates the band’s digital members.

Price YouTubing: “On Melancholy Hill,” a four-and-a-half minute journey that begins with digital guitarist Noodle firing an computerized weapon at pirates, blurs dimensions later within the clip, and even encompasses a momentary depiction of Snoop Dogg. What extra might you need? — J.G.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Lauper had every little thing it took to be a pop star within the mid-‘80s — nice pipes, a unusual persona and a robust visible sense.

The MTV Basic: The bubbling “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which was a video of the yr nominee on the first-ever VMAs. (Remarkably, Lauper was the one feminine artist to be nominated for video of the yr within the VMAs’ first half-decade.)

Price YouTubing: “What’s Going On,” wherein Lauper fearlessly covers the Marvin Gaye traditional. She’s shot in coloration — every little thing else is shot in black-and-white. — P.G.

74. BTS

Why They’re Video Icons: The perfect-selling Okay-pop act has produced visuals that make followers shriek with pleasure in a post-TRL world, typically discovering a steadiness between particular person member showcases and spectacular group choreography.

The MTV Basic: 2017’s “DNA,” a candy-colored burst of power that turned the primary BTS video to cross 1 billion YouTube views and underscores why this fun-loving seven-piece crew was about to take over the world.

Price YouTubing: “Not Today” — which mixes cinematic, slow-motion motion sequences with elaborate dance breaks and strikingly good-looking close-ups — stays one of many group’s extra eye-popping visible experiences, even when the plot is just a little exhausting to comply with. — JASON LIPSHUTZ


Why She’s a Video Icon: Over three a long time, MC has gone from breezy lady subsequent door, flaunting a denim assortment as huge as her vocal vary, to undercover agent, runaway bride and even her personal stalker in a set of music movies that play like mini-dramas.

The MTV Basic: The Carey-directed “Fantasy,” a whimsical celebration of all issues summer season, from cutoffs and curler blades to curler coasters and dance breaks, shot on the Playland Amusement Park in New York August 1995.

Price YouTubing: The sublimely melancholy “Breakdown,” set in a on line casino and starring a doleful Carey as a glitzy showgirl hanging together with her backup rapper-singers, Bone Thugs-N-Concord. — CHRISTINE WERTHMAN


Why They’re Video Icons: The ‘Mats give-no-f–ks regard for the music business led to them making some of the most low-concept, non-glamorized, action-less clips of the ’80s — essentially, anti-music videos. While it didn’t assist win many new followers, those they already had noticed it as an superior rock’n’roll assertion, and a mandatory riposte to early MTV extra. 

The MTV Basic: “Bastards of Younger,” from the album Tim, wherein the one visible connection to the band is Paul Westerberg’s pack of cigarettes. Performed on MTV solely a handful of instances, the video’s sole human isn’t totally depicted, whereas the digital camera is extra within the vigorously pulsating stereo speaker getting a exercise from the accompanying music.

Price YouTubing: “The Ledge,” the primary clip wherein the band agreed to look  — however refused to lip synch. As a substitute they’re proven sitting, standing, consuming, smoking and looking out each bored and terrified. For his or her hassle, MTV nonetheless refused to play the video as a result of the music was about teen suicide. — F.D.


Why They’re Video Icons: Given a platform on Saturday Evening Dwell, the comedy-rapping trio used a community TV finances to repeatedly replicate the environment and star energy related to a serious music video, however mix it with a hilarious, typically NSFW skit idea.

The MTV Basic: “D–k in a Box,” the Artistic Arts Emmy-winning, did they actually get Justin Timberlake to do that? tutorial gift-giving information that parodies ’90s R&B movies, and options Andy Samberg and Timberlake with unforgettable fits, sun shades and facial hair.

Price YouTubing: “Go Kindergarten,” a real testomony to the concept that The Lonely Island can take any random concept — or assortment of them — sprinkle in a catchy hook from a confirmed visitor (Robyn), just a few cameos (Paul Rudd, Sean Combs, Sarah Chalke) and a well-produced music video, and make it work seamlessly. — J.G.

70. SIA

Why She’s a Video Icon: It takes not more than 10 seconds to know you’re watching a Sia video – a formidable feat contemplating she hardly ever, if ever, seems herself. Teenage wunderkind Maddie Ziegler serves as Sia’s avatar, completely encapsulating the unhappiness, humor, and general profundity of her music. 

The MTV Basic: “Chandelier” options Ziegler introducing the three key parts of all Sia movies to comply with: endlessly elastic and athletic dancing set to would-be-improvised modern choreography, expressively surreal face-acting from a baby set to pop music about melancholy, alcoholism, and looming demise, and naturally, the wig — an nameless blond bob that iconized Sia and Ziegler without delay. 

Price YouTubing: From the BZ (Earlier than Ziegler) period, stripped of all choreography and titanic belting, “Breathe Me” options Sia within the flesh by means of a sped-up collection of polaroid snapshots. However in traditional Sia vogue, the music and video combine unhappiness and playfulness in an in the end optimistic mild. — ERIC FRANKENBERG


Why He is a Video Icon: Whether or not in a barroom, a barn in New Jersey, or a globe-circling set of stadiums, Springsteen’s most interesting movies have celebrated his group of followers, and the potent mixture of rock’n’roll and the heat of the group.

The MTV Basic:  After not exhibiting his face in his first clip, the stark, black & white “Atlantic City,” Springsteen’s breakthrough video (which launched him to an enormous pop viewers) noticed him reaching right into a live performance crowd to ask a then-unknown Courtney Cox to twirl onstage to the closing strains of “Dancing in the Dark.”

Price YouTubing: For the sweat-dripping “I’m on Fire,” director John Sayles crafted a mini play starring Springsteen as a grease-stained auto mechanic tempted by a Thunderbird-driving, high-heeled — and married — woman who lives, she says seductively, “way out in the [Hollywood] Hills.” — T.D.


Why They’re Video Icons: The British EDM duo rode the wave of nameless 1990s DJ stardom with large beats, irresistible hooks and high-energy, mind-expanding movies that felt just like the type of mini-movies which may play on the within of your eyeballs as you come down from a wild evening on the membership.

The MTV Basic: “Setting Sun,” the breakthrough clip from the group’s second album — with vocals from Oasis’ Noel Gallagher — follows a blonde membership child (Lexi Strauss) as she wakes in a area and searches for her nightmare doppelgänger on the coolest rave you’ve by no means been to. Plus: cops breakdancing.

Price YouTubing: “Hey Boy, Hey Woman”: What higher technique to soundtrack this manic beat assault than to let a gaggle of faculty children free within the metropolis earlier than the motion inexplicably ages them up right into a membership celebration the place everybody — together with the couple shagging within the lavatory — are remodeled into dancing skeletons? — GIL KAUFMAN


Why She’s a Video Icon: As a lot a efficiency artist as a singer whereas on stage, Kate Bush created mesmerizing video work earlier than MTV existed and pushed the format past its promotional performance throughout the ’80s, together with her intricate choreography and considerate narratives.

The MTV Basic: The influential pre-MTV clips for her 1978 shock hit “Wuthering Heights” are brilliantly weird and ghostly, that includes a white-clad Bush gyrating within the mist for the European model and decked out in brilliant pink gown whereas dancing by means of the woods for the U.S. iteration.

Price YouTubing: Wish to see Kate Bush faux to be Donald Sutherland’s son earlier than the authorities come and take him away for designing a rain-making machine? Sure, you do, because the “Cloudbusting” mini-movie is a surprisingly compelling little traditional. — J. Lynch


Why They’re Video Icons: MTV was famously inhospitable to Black artists of their early years, and rappers specifically — till this trio from Hollis, Queens confirmed that hip-hop was too large to be denied by the channel.

The MTV Basic: The symbolism was misplaced on few when Run-DMC and Aerosmith actually broke down the partitions between rock and rap within the clip for “Stroll This Method,” a historic second they’ve recreated at seemingly one out of each 5 Video Music Awards since.

Price YouTubing: Whereas not as high-concept as a few of their different ’80s favorites, the “Run’s Home” video from 1988 carries a distinctly New York power that makes it a blast to revisit 30-plus years later. — A.U.


Why They’re Video Icons: With a penchant for misplaced physique components, creepy children and flashing lights that required seizure warnings, the band’s movies, very like its songs, have been superbly designed for each delight and discomfort.

The MTV Basic: “Closer,” a grainy reel of unsettling imagery, from a monkey tied to a cross to a pulsating coronary heart with a steam valve, that was deemed too racy for prime time.

Price YouTubing: “Into the Void,” for many who need an up-close-and-personal view of Trent Reznor and his hair follicles. — C.W.


Why They’re Video Icons: One of many few traditional rock bands to make a near-seamless transition to the video age, the one disgrace with Queen was that MTV missed them at their mid-’70s peak.

The MTV Basic: Whereas the drag-performed “I Wish to Break Free” was their greatest MTV-era second, their true reward to the shape was the unique 1975 clip for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a particular effects-laden efficiency video that rightly made the quartet appear bigger than life, setting the usual for the channel’s early years.

Price YouTubing: “Hammer to Fall,” a close-shot, punchy on-stage clip from 1984 that beats Van Halen at their very own sport, and appears like a dry run for the music’s efficiency at Dwell Support a yr later. — A.U.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Although she has by now remodeled from Nickelodeon tween to pop queen, Ari by no means totally let go of her showbiz background — which has resulted in endlessly enjoyable, colourful and shocking releases that usually really feel like full-fledged occasions.

The MTV Basic: “Thank U Next,” the rom-com supercut for Grande’s ex-referencing shock single which pays homage to Imply Women, Legally Blonde and different classics; options cameos from the likes of Jennifer Coolidge and Kris Jenner; and solidified Grande and her favored director, Hannah Lux Davis, as a match made in pop heaven.

Price YouTubing: “Into You,” the dreamy video wherein Ari (in a uncommon no-ponytail second) runs away to the desert with a bandana-clad boyfriend, the place they play playing cards in a motel, journey a bike into the sundown, and have interaction in another less-wholesome actions. — TATIANA CIRISANO


Why He is a Video Icon: Brad Paisley is the right everyman — whether or not he is making enjoyable of himself, studying life classes, or tackling darker topics, Paisley’s means to adapt personas, coupled along with his boyish allure, make his videography worthy of consideration.

The MTV Basic: “Alcohol” hits like a countrified Salvador Dali portray, combined with Oklahoma‘s dream ballet sequence. Paisley is sort of serving the drinks he is singing about, leaving the viewer in a hazy stupor.

Price YouTubing: “Who Wants Footage?” captures the soulful longing of a relationship undone. Whereas Paisley’s mournful face croons behind his guitar, the recollections of his ex play like a spotlight reel of fine instances previous. — D.W.


Why She’s a Video Icon: MTV wasn’t precisely renown for going out of its technique to help Black artists within the ’80s, however when Tina Turner reinvented her solo profession with Personal Dancer (and catapulted it into the stratosphere), she carved an area for herself because of her smoldering on-camera depth.

The MTV Basic: Strutting by means of the streets of NYC in a leather-based miniskirt together with her hair teased to the heavens, Tina Turner pauses for a collection of temporary, contactless dances with a rotating solid of man-candy, earlier than pushing all of them away within the video for anti-romance anthem “What’s Love Acquired to Do With It.”

Price YouTubing: The video for “Personal Dancer” not solely boasts an A+ efficiency from Turner — watch her deftly swap from working-stiff weltschmerz on the verses to dominatrix confidence for the refrain — however options every little thing from cobwebs to kick traces to ballerinas to a Minotaur. — J. Lynch


Why They’re Video Icons: Jack and Meg White separated themselves from the early-’00s garage-rock revival wave thanks partly to their head-spinning visible aptitude, typically aided by acclaimed administrators like Michel Gondry and Sofia Coppola.

The MTV Basic: “Fell in Love with a Girl,” wherein a two-minute guitar-rock blast is represented by continually shapeshifting Lego animation, is one in all Gondry’s most acclaimed short-form achievements, and was nominated for video of the yr on the MTV VMAs.

Price YouTubing: “The Hardest Button to Button” is a lesser-known Gondry video, however one in all his simplest: the Elephant single’s unyielding stomp is depicted by means of multiplying devices, and Beck even reveals up for a fast cameo. — J. Lipshutz

59. ZZ TOP

Why They’re Video Icons: One of many least-expected success tales of the O.G. video age was the transformation of this grizzled Texas blues boogie trio into MTV superstars, because of their embrace of ’80s-appropriate synthesizers, and a collection of high-gloss movies that served up a signature mixture of vehicles, guitars (typically spinning) and horny video vixens.

The MTV Basic: “Gimme All Your Lovin’” checks all of the containers, with three scantily clad ladies packed right into a souped-up pink customized automobile and a robust-enough storyline centered on a younger mechanic’s fever dream of rolling like a rock star with mentioned ladies.

Price YouTubing: With choreography from none aside from fellow ’80s pop comet Paula Abdul, “Velcro Fly” manages to include the trio’s lovably stiff dance strikes with loads of bikini dancers in an homage to the last decade’s handy zipper-replacement of selection. — G.Okay.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Elaborate units or not, Nicki Minaj’s facial expressions and early-character personalities elevate her movies from good to nice.

The MTV Basic: “Super Bass” is every little thing you may ever need from a pop video, however from the choreography to the shock Drake cameo, “Anaconda” pushed her into iconic video artist territory.

Price YouTubing: “Pills N Potions” provided a uncommon take a look at a stripped-down model of Minaj, proving that she didn’t want gimmicks (we’ll let the product placement slide) to ship a stable music video. — B. Kaminsky


Why They’re Video Icons: Few rock bands can declare to have introduced a whole aesthetic to the mainstream, as The Remedy did with their considerably paradoxical video model of brightly gloomy goth-pop.

The MTV Basic: “Simply Like Heaven,” that includes the black-clad band acting on a clifftop at nightfall, alone, alone, alone above the raging sea — as unexpectedly attractive and swoon-inducing because the music itself.

Price YouTubing: “The 13th,” a surreal mid-’90s Remedy clip that performs like a fever dream from singer Robert Smith’s bed room, seemingly predicting future scenes in each Requiem For a Dream and Joker. — A.U.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Over her all-too-short profession, the late R&B icon coined the graceful choreography and tomboyish model that will encourage the style’s future generations for years to return.

The MTV Basic: “Are You That Somebody,” the shiny, futuristic clip wherein Aaliyah, clad in her typical saggy pants and a stomach chain, handles an precise hawk and cooly nails a prolonged choreography routine that — admit it — all of us tried our greatest to be taught.

Price YouTubing: The block celebration visible for “Hot Like Fire,” the lesser-known single off Aaliyah’s One in a Million, is strictly what it seems like — ample pyrotechnics, hearth vans and every little thing in pink — and options cameos from the music’s collaborators, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, together with Lil’ Kim. — T.C.


Why They’re Video Icons: As most of the nice bands of ’90s different struggled with the which means of video stardom, Smashing Pumpkins rocketed previous them with unapologetic ambition, executing extremely creative clips with a number of the period’s greatest administrators.

The MTV Basic: The Jonathan Dayton- and Valerie Faris-helmed “1979,” third behind solely Clueless and Dazed and Confused as one of the best teen film of the ’90s.

Price YouTubing: Co-directed by frontman Billy Corgan and then-girlfriend Yelena Yemchuk, “Thirty-Three” was the least-accessible of the band’s 5 hit movies from blockbuster double LP Mellon Collie and the Infinite Unhappiness, but in addition maybe the loveliest — an elliptical visible picture album of actual, borrowed and imagined recollections. — A.U.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Dua Lipa’s vibrant and cheeky femme-focused visuals typically function catchy choreography and outfit inspo galore.

The MTV Basic: The commanding but comforting girls-night-in (a lodge) clip for “New Rules” helped push the monitor into the Billboard Sizzling 100’s prime 40, the place it will definitely peaked at No. 6.

Price YouTubing: “Break My Heart,” for its beautiful eye-trickery and simply mimicked, bite-sized choreography that is tailored for the TikTok period (and, after all, for the outfits!).  — L.H.


Why He is a Video Icon: The U.Okay. producer blew up within the States thanks not solely to the recognition of his large beat hits, however corresponding movies that demonstrated a subversive humor and star energy within the likes of Christopher Walken and director Spike Jonze.

The MTV Basic: “Weapon of Alternative” discovered Walken shimmying, shaking and sometimes sashaying by means of an empty lodge in an impeccable show of swagger and choreography that scored the Moonperson for greatest choreography on the 2001 VMAs, the place the video additionally received 5 different awards.

Price YouTubing: “Reward You,” which options vastly extra DIY-style flash mob choreography and was directed by Jonze (who additionally stars because the fictional Torrance Neighborhood Dance Group chief) and produced by Roman Coppola. — Okay.B.


Why They’re Video Icons: Crimson Velvet are of probably the most constantly imaginative music video acts in modern pop, with impressed and brilliantly executed ideas that show shortly unforgettable.

The MTV Basic: “Crimson Taste,” a usually eye-popping clip with such loving reverence (and virtually interpersonal respect) for fruit that it’d even make you’re feeling responsible the subsequent time you add a pair strawberries or banana slices to your morning cereal.

Price YouTubing: “Want Tree,” a contest-winning, SM Leisure-approved video submission for the group’s soulful 2015 ballad, wherein two younger ladies get pleasure from an intense friendship that not less than one appears to hope will grow to be one thing extra — with a reasonably tearjerking ending. — A.U.


Why They’re Video Icons: Gwen Stefani’s aptitude for theatricals and attention-grabbing costumes — which she leaned into much more as a solo act — helped convey the drama of No Doubt’s music to life on display screen.

The MTV Basic: The cinematic “It’s My Life” from No Doubt, and the trippy Alice in Wonderland-esque “What You Waiting For,” which nabbed greatest artwork route on the 2005 VMAs.

Price YouTubing: The very 2000s clip for No Doubt’s hit “Hey Baby” blends graffiti with inexperienced screens, and options strikes that might double as deleted scenes from Soiled Dancing. — L.H.

50. R.E.M. 

Why They’re Video Icons: The faculty-rockers helped set the stage for (after which closely participated in) MTV’s ’90s alt takeover, with a number of the most difficult movies to nonetheless be unmissable within the channel’s first decade-plus.

The MTV Basic: The Tarsem-directed, VMAs-sweeping “Dropping My Faith,” as shut as a music video has ever felt to a nonetheless paintings coming to life, simply justifying frontman Michael Stipe’s determination to lip sync for the primary time.

Price YouTubing: “Fall on Me,” basically the invention of the trendy lyric video. — A.U.


Why He is a Video Icon: Dangerous Bunny’s visuals — whether or not inviting celebrities reminiscent of Stone Chilly Steve Austin to make cameos, rocking his manicure, or dressing up in drag — all make an announcement on his personal phrases, as a result of Bunny does no matter he desires.

The MTV Basic: Vouching for the LGBTQ group and ladies’s rights, Bunny took issues into his personal fingers in “Yo Perreo Sola,” not solely dressing in a pink latex miniskirt and knee-high boots however co-directing the video with Stillz. The phrase “Ni Una Menos” seems within the empowering video, in help of the feminist motion that campaigns in opposition to gender-based violence.

Price YouTubing: Dangerous Bunny self-directed the psychological health-themed selfmade video for “Estamos Bien,” the place he’s seen taking lavatory selfies with an previous video digital camera, portray his nails purple, packing his swimwear, selecting up some buddies, highway tripping in La Isla del Encanto, and hanging out with locals and vacationers on the seaside. — J.R.

48. BLINK-182

Why They’re Video Icons: Whether or not they have been butt-naked or in fits, Blink-182’s IDGAF perspective was the mix of punk rock and pop that the TRL period wanted.

The MTV Basic: “All the Small Things” dumped all of the music video clichés of the late ‘90s into one hilarious, new format to place Blink-182 on the stage of these largest pop artists as a music video group.

Price YouTubing: “The Rock Show.” Give Blink-182 a verify to create the music video they need, watch them do what they do greatest. — B. Kaminsky


Why They’re Video Icons: Tom Petty left behind greater than 4 a long time of songs that have been superbly huge open of their music, lyrics and feelings — however as a video artist he reveled in a much less simple contact, creating clips filled with playful vignettes, animation, wacky views and even a corpse or two.

The MTV Basic: “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” co-written by Petty and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, is a drum-machine pushed, sitar-spiced little bit of psychedelic pop and its video (that includes actress Want Foley as Alice in Wonderland and Petty because the Mad Hatter) is a trippy delight, replete with large mushrooms and outsized tea cups.

Price YouTubing: There’s a southern accent the place Petty comes from, his hometown in north-central Florida, and the house footage-assembled video for “Gainesville” — posthumously released on the compilation An American Treasure — is both joyous and bittersweet, as Petty sings from “long ago and far away, another time, another day.” — T.D.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Eilish flawlessly interprets her darkish creativeness and lyrics into cinematographic fantasies, creating an enigmatic, twisted world of her personal.

The MTV Basic: “When the Party’s Over,” a mind-boggling, actually eye-watering clip wherein the singer gulps down a thick, inky liquid earlier than it begins streaming from her eyes.

Price YouTubing“Ocean Eyes (Dance Performance Video),” a tribute to her childhood as a dancer, options an icy blonde Eilish fluidly shifting her physique in a uncommon, emotional choreography sequence. — R.A.


Why He is a Video Icon: Biggie’s slick supply and imaginative thoughts was amplified by his opulent, larger-than-life video persona.

The MTV Basic: “One Extra Probability (Remix),” director Hype Williams’ star-studded, red-carpet Brooklyn soirée, included a bunch of ’90s A-listers, together with Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Heavy D and plenty of extra.

Price YouTubing: “Sky’s The Restrict,” a Spike Jonze-helmed visible filmed after Biggie’s 1997 homicide, was an excellent re-imagination of his rags-to-riches come-up, starring child actors taking part in the grown-up, living-large variations of Biggie, Puffy, Religion and numerous different associates. — C.L.


Why They’re Video Icons: Although they’re thought-about one of many few earnest rock teams left, Dave Grohl and the Foos have typically leaned on their visuals to undercut any notions of self-importance, making every new launch an unpredictable but constantly enjoyable expertise.

The MTV Basic: The dreamy gloom of “Everlong” captures the music’s bracing, bittersweet nostalgia with a time-jumping quest that ushers within the post-grunge world.

Price YouTubing: “White Limo,” the seedy, home-movie romp that finds Grohl giving a grasp class of facial reactions because the band embarks on a daytime tear chauffeured by none aside from the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead. — B. Kress


Why She’s a Video Icon: Rosalía gives a glance into her colourful, emotional, flamenco-dancing lifestyle by means of her over-the-top music movies, which seize you from starting to finish.

The MTV Basic: Winner of one of the best Latin video on the 2019 VMAs, “Con Altura” took followers to new heights the place you’ll be able to sit again, drink some bubbly or play one-on-one video video games with J Balvin.  

Price YouTubing: “Juro Qué” is a Wes Anderson-inspired, drama-filled music video that encompasses a passionate and dramatic Rosalía able to go to jail for the person she loves. — G.F.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Shania Twain floats effortlessly between the cowboy hat-wearing nation realm (“Any Man of Mine” and “Whose Mattress Have Your Boots Been Underneath?”) and a pop-rock goddess setting match for Madonna (“Man, I Really feel Like a Lady!”). She’s the chief of the ’90s country-pop crossover stars for a cause.

The MTV Basic: A proto Mad Max: Fury Street panorama. A full-length leopard print hooded cape. “That Do not Impress Me A lot” would possibly not bowl Shania over, however it definitely made an impression on us.

Price YouTubing: From front-porch jamming with a cello participant, to taking part in by means of a large storm, nothing fazes Shania in “No One Must Know.” Certain, it is technically a film tie-in for Tornado, however it avoids the traps that usually befall these forms of movies — it will probably stand (or be knocked down) by itself. — D.W.


Why They’re Video Icons: Michael was only a beat behind MJ and Madonna as the highest music and video star of the ‘80s. He obtained the video vanguard award in 1989 (from Madonna, no much less).

The MTV Basic: “Freedom 90,” a George Michael video starring 5 supermodels wherein Michael doesn’t seem – and wherein the props from his iconic “Faith” video — the black leather-based jacket, a jukebox and a guitar — are burned or blown to smithereens, displaying his rising ambivalence about his pop superstardom.

Price YouTubing: “Outside,” wherein Michael hilariously spoofs the incident that led to his arrest in a Beverly Hills males’s room in 1998. — P.G.

40. M.I.A.

Why She’s a Video Icon: Whether or not serving up grub from a New York Metropolis meals truck or riffing on the Thousand Hand Bodhisattva, M.I.A. stored her clips colourful, funky and impossibly cool.

The MTV Basic: Successful VMAs for greatest cinematography and greatest route, “Bad Girls” introduced viewers to the dusty open roads of Morocco — the place ladies rock flashy, streetwear-inspired hijabs and vehicles drift by precariously on two wheels, dwelling as much as the music’s “live fast, die young” motto.

Price YouTubing: “Born Free,” whose depiction of genocide in opposition to redheads was deemed so controversial on the time of its launch that you simply needed to go to Vimeo to search out it. — C.W.


Why They’re Video Icons: Few acts inside or outdoors of hip-hop used MTV as a platform to unfold a bigger message the way in which Public Enemy did, with unignorable clips that satirized and lambasted societal ills and positioned the group as true prophets of rage.

The MTV Basic: “Combat the Energy,” a staged protest rally to accompany the discharge of Spike Lee’s incendiary race-relations drama Do the Proper Factor that felt like historical past within the making — and for sure, feels much more very important than ever in 2020.

Price YouTubing: “Evening of the Residing Baseheads,” a mixed media parody and protest clip with faux PETV information broadcasts, faux “beeper tie” commercials, and really actual issues concerning the crack epidemic’s impression on the Black group. — A.U.


Why They’re Video Icons: The Heads set the usual for revolutionary, visually beautiful movies even earlier than MTV launched, and their continuous elevating of that bar insured the afrobeat-loving artwork rockers an unlikely spot within the prime 10 of the Billboard Sizzling 100.  

The MTV Basic: “Burning Down the Home” is the video that, by means of countless MTV airplay, fueled the one’s No. 9 Sizzling 100 peak in 1983, however David Byrne’s unforgettable herky-jerky efficiency in “Once In A Lifetime” — launched the February earlier than MTV debuted — is the clip that set the desk, and impressed lots of white dudes to karate chop their forearms at dance golf equipment throughout America.

Price YouTubing: “Street to Nowhere,” a visible smorgasbord that appears to wink at “Once in a Lifetime” after which forge forward with the stop-motion animation that Stephen R. Johnson — who co-directed the video with David Byrne — would, with the work of the Quay Brothers, make use of to higher impact in Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” video the next yr. — F.D.


Why They’re Video Icons: Earlier than Blackpink and Crimson Velvet, there was Women’ Era, who set the usual for impressively-choreographed Korean lady group movies (in addition to the significance of eye-catching outfits and props).

The MTV Basic: We’re not saying “Gee” impressed the “Mannequin Challenge” — however it additionally might have impressed the “Mannequin Challenge”?

Price YouTubing: The video for the group’s Japanese-language music “Paparazzi,” which encompasses a nod to Singin’ within the Rain. — G.G.


Why They’re Video Icons: A band with grandiose musical aspirations additionally shot for the celebs as visible artists, with a number of the alt-rock band’s most fiercely adored music movies placing unforgettable bombast entrance and middle.

The MTV Basic: Though the funeral-set “Helena” video was the one which pushed MCR over into the mainstream in 2005, its predecessor, the 2004 clip for “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” brilliantly spoofed early-00s indie movie tropes by means of a excessive school-set mock film trailer; Marc Webb directed each, and would later take over the Spider-Man movie franchise.

Price YouTubing: If you wish to watch the My Chemical Romance boys placed on goofy costumes, shoot some unhealthy guys and take part in a totally nonsensical high-speed automobile chase, look no additional than the video for “Na Na Na,” from the group’s underrated 2010 swan music Hazard Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. — J. Lipshutz


Why He is a Video Icon: West’s charisma and daredevil mentality at all times serves as the primary substances for his thrilling, unpredictable movies.

The MTV Basic: With “Gold Digger,” West and director Hype Williams deftly executed a letterboxed, fun-filled visible, with Jamie Foxx reimagining Ray Charles’ 1954 soul gem “I Acquired a Lady.”

Price YouTubing: On “Contact the Sky,” not solely does West channel his inside Evel Knievel for his aerial techniques, however enlists a bodacious supporting lineup headlined by Tracee Ellis Ross, Pamela Anderson and Nia Lengthy for the journey. — C.L.


Why They’re Video Icons: *NSYNC’s matching outfits and synchronized dance strikes gave technique to the extra stylized choices of Justin Timberlake’s solo profession within the early ’00s. However his total catalogue will make you wish to rock your physique.

The MTV Basic: With “Bye Bye Bye,” *NSYNC and Timberlake gave us one of the best and most memorable of the boy band movies — the puppets! the dancing!  the hair! — with out it playing around. And the comb off in “Bye Bye Bye” paved the way in which for JT’s extra vengeful facet on “Cry Me a River”: Hell hath no fury like a solo boy bander scorned.

Price YouTubing: The perfect music on FutureSex/LoveSounds additionally turned out to be its greatest video. The pulsing beat of “Love Stoned/I Assume She Is aware of (Interlude)” lends itself completely to the electro-fied Tron-esque visuals Timberlake incorporates. — D.W.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Miley has managed to make headlines with almost each music video she drops — particularly when one ushers in a brand new look — concurrently inspiring spoofs and Halloween outfits for years to return.

The MTV Basic: The surprising, Terry Richardson-directed “Wrecking Ball”  stands because the fairly presumably solely hammer-licking music video round — and proved that, for those who’re Miley, you’ll be able to nonetheless do probably the most whereas sporting the least.

Price YouTubing: The video for the foreshadowing monitor “Can’t Be Tamed,” wherein the pop star actually breaks free from her cage, serves as air-tight proof that (as Miley claims a decade later on her newest single) she was born to run. — L.H.


Why They’re Video Icons: One of many first artists to create a thematic through-line in her videography, Annie Lennox — from her time with Dave Stewart within the Eurythmics to her beautiful solo profession — performed with visible androgyny, interval garb and Sirkian melodramatic kitsch over a collection of clips that helped outline MTV’s first decade.

The MTV Basic: The company satire of “Candy Goals” may be a bit heavy-handed at factors (Dave Stewart punching away at a pc subsequent to a herd of cows is embarrassingly apparent), however Lennox in her Wall Road go well with, capturing piercing stares from beneath that blazing orange buzzcut, is without doubt one of the most memorable pictures of the period.

Price YouTubing: The superbly baroque “Strolling on Damaged Glass” boasts each John Malkovich and Hugh Laurie, however “Little Chicken” deserves particular point out for locating Lennox rounding up her previous personas in a single clip a full 24 years earlier than Taylor did it in “Look What You Made Me Do.” — J. Lynch


Why He is a Video Icon: Few stars of the 2010s have realized the facility of the occasion video in addition to Drake, dropping an expertly crafted, headline-grabbing visible not simply every time he wants to advertise a brand new single, however every time he desires to alter an inconvenient dialog.

The MTV Basic: As impressed and expansive as latest clips have been, it is nonetheless exhausting to beat Drake’s neon-backdropped dance strikes within the “Hotline Bling” clip, the one music video of the final decade to encourage an really humorous ugly Christmas sweater.

Price YouTubing: Without end a fan favourite, the Director X-shot clip for “Worst Habits” introduced a backwards-hatted (!!) Drake to the streets of Memphis — with native music greats like Juicy J, MJG, and Drake’s personal father, Dennis Graham, as his journey guides. — A.U.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Shakira dances alone and her hips don’t lie, from her wild and free swiveling in “Whenever, Wherever” to her celebratory strikes in “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” — all of which redefined the function of dancing in movies, with strikes that stay singularly her personal.

The MTV Basic: “Hips Don’t Lie,” which received the VMA for greatest choreography in 2006 (and thoughts you, she choreographs herself), had Shakira exhibiting off abs and hips and launched a lot of the world to the sensuality of Colombia and Barranquilla’s Carnival.

Price YouTubing: The horny, sensual “She Wolf,” the place Shak twerks and jerks in a nude bodysuit inside a cage, was almost as talked about as “WAP” again in its day; boy have instances modified. — L.C.


Why She’s a Video Icon: A Taylor Swift music video is rather a lot like ice cream — there’s “White Horse” vanilla to “…Ready For It”  rocky highway. Relying on what taste you fancy, what emotions you wish to revisit, there’s a Taylor video ready to be rewatched.

The MTV Basic: “You Belong With Me” wasn’t fancy, only a girl-likes-boy visible with a contented ending. However for prime schoolers watching the video on loop, it performed out the magical second of discovering out your crush likes you again. It’s that second unspoiled by relationship in your 20s, and that’s why it received greatest feminine video on the 2009 VMAs — considerably controversially, as chances are you’ll recall.

Price YouTubing: The intimate “Delicate” appears like a peek into Tay’s secret life when she’s nameless, off the clock, and free to bounce within the rain. — MIA NAZARENO

28. DR. DRE / N.W.A

Why They’re Video Icons: Dre’s visuals have helped outline a number of generations of hip-hop movies, from the confrontational power of N.W.A within the late ’80s to the G-Funk cookout chill of The Power within the mid-’90s to the widescreen turn-of-the-century menace of 2001.

The MTV Basic: Dre and Snoop’s “Nuthin’ However a ‘G’ Thang,” a vivid and summery-but-not-sentimental chronicle of a day within the life within the LBC that is definitely on any brief listing of the best rap music movies of all time.

Price YouTubing: Gotta love N.W.A’s “Specific Your self,” a video that goes from the cotton fields to the prisons to the streets to the White Home (err, the Black Home), with Dre & Co. exploring the probabilities of liberation by means of self-expression like their predecessors in all probability have been by no means even allowed to dream. — A.U.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Anticipate the surprising! Black & white, coloration, human, cyborg, particular results, dancing, all of the earthly parts. All of it suits into the Björkian universe, with every of her many music movies displaying a singular sense of storytelling, literal or (extra doubtless) in any other case. 

The MTV Basic: Capping off a decade of unbelievable visuals, 1999’s “All is Full of Love” is an arresting sequence of two newly created robots locking eyes and getting it on. Cinematic however easy, the Homogenic video is oddly shifting and empathetic as each androids have a way of fluidity that blurs the road between human and synthetic.

Price YouTubing: “Triumph of a Heart,” wherein Bjork breaks from her buttoned-up husband for a drunken evening out with girlfriends and strangers, solely to be rescued and subsequently fall again in love together with her husband, awakening his sense of play and whimsy alongside the way in which. However her husband is a cat. — E.F.


Whey He is a Video Icon: Whereas Ludacris has spent the higher a part of the previous decade specializing in movie appearances and internet hosting gigs, he first showcased that on-camera charisma within the music movies for his smash hits — he’s humorous, robust, creative and endlessly charming.

The MTV Basic: “Stand Up” is the purest distillation of Ludacris’ goofball attraction, with tons of sight gags — an precise little particular person hanging from his necklace! A big sneaker that retains the beat! — that culminates with the Atlanta star turning right into a dancing, rapping child.

Price YouTubing: The clip for “Number One Spot” is a time machine again to an period when a whole rap single and music video might be an Austin Powers riff; relaxation in peace, Verne Troyer, who reveals up with an afro wig. — J. Lipshutz


Why They’re Video Icons: After reviving their profession within the late ’80s, Aerosmith turned MTV fixtures with their cheeky, humorous and very attractive movies — and for those who grew up within the ’90s, you both wished to be or to be with Alicia Silverstone, the video vixen that starred in a run of traditional clips throughout the Boston rockers’ Mk. II renaissance.

The MTV Basic: “Loopy,” wherein the aforementioned Silverstone (together with co-star Liv Tyler, frontman Steven Tyler’s daughter) escape personal faculty in a Mustang drop prime, and get into lots of good hassle at numerous strip golf equipment and comfort shops.

Price YouTubing: “Wonderful,” a then-stunning exploration of early our on-line world starring a younger Jason London (of Dazed and Confused fame, who additionally had a cameo in “Loopy”) together with the return of Silverstone. — Okay.B.


Why They’re Video Icons: Residente and Visitante, greatest often called the Grammy-winning duo Calle 13, are storytellers at coronary heart and their music movies have grow to be an necessary outlet for tales that nobody dares to inform.   

The MTV Basic: The duo’s cheeky and provocative lyrics from their reggaetón hit “Atrevete Te Te” translated to a enjoyable, quirky music video that transports you to the streets of Puerto Rico, the place Residente takes on the function of a laid-back newspaper supply boy who meets near-robotic ladies on his day by day bike journey. 

Price YouTubing: Maybe among the finest songs and music movies of 2020, Residente’s intimate seven-minute video “René” is about in a baseball area the place the Puerto Rican rapper recounts his most private wrestle — and, towards the tip, meets face-to-face along with his son, whose candy smile represents a beacon of hope. — G.F.


Why They’re Video Icons: The ATLiens casually blended their seemingly incongruous types collectively throughout the music, whereas their visuals took these variations to an unparalleled inventive peak the place “pimp it down” and “space-futuristic” meet.

The MTV Basic: Sticking to the twin solo-album idea of 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Under, Andre 3000 performs “Hey Ya!” as each member of The Love Under octet, to a rabid Ed Sullivan Present-spoofing viewers — hosted by Ryan Phillippe — that will quickly mirror the identical raving crowds that watched the visible almost sweep on the 2004 VMAs, together with video of the yr.

Price YouTubing: The lesser-known Speakerboxxx single “GhettoMusick,” which options Massive Boi as a FedUP (see: FedEx) courier on a route stuffed with continuous visible gags and cameos — together with Andre and Lil Jon, a lunch with Patti LaBelle, and a important plunger supply to a fresh-faced Killer Mike. — B. Kress


Why He is a Video Icon: At his peak throughout the late ‘90s and on the flip of the century, Eminem packed a particular type of attention-grabbing industrial prowess into his music releases and video accompaniments that few artists have been capable of replicate.

The MTV Basic: “Without Me,” the Grammy- and VMA-winning comedian book-themed clip that portrayed Em because the anything-goes type of superhero he’d grow to be to teenagers worldwide over the prior few years in tandem with different movies like “My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady.”

Price YouTubing: “Mosh,” a political protest single with a visible that ridiculed George W. Bush — 13 years earlier than Marshall would go viral with a BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher lambasting Donald Trump — and inspired Individuals to vote for John Kerry within the 2004 presidential election. — J.G.


Why They’re Video Icons: Measurement. Actually no rock movies have been as dirty as theirs after they broke out within the late ’80s, however then none have been even near as grandiose — or left such indelible pictures — because the band’s grandly cinematic clips for his or her largest ’90s hits.

The MTV Basic: “November Rain,” the saga of affection and loss that discovered Stephanie Seymour in a casket and Slash ripping one of many most enduring guitar solos in music historical past in entrance of a distant desert chapel.

Price YouTubing: “Estranged,” the ultimate chapter in GnR’s Del James-inspired Use Your Phantasm video trilogy, which runs for almost 10 minutes, price $Four million to make and is usually described as “bats–t” — exhausting to understand how else to explain imagery that features a pod of digitally rendered dolphins swimming down the Sundown Strip. — Okay.B.


Why He is a Video Icon: The previous Genesis frontman set new visible boundaries as a solo artist by making a number of the wackiest, most revolutionary movies that got here to outline 1980s MTV, and nonetheless look spectacular a long time later.

The MTV Basic: “Sledgehammer,” the surrealist video whose painstakingly shot stop-motion scenes had painted clouds creeping throughout Gabriel’s face and fish leaping round his head — and even discovered time for a dance sequence between two uncooked chickens — rightly swept the 1987 VMAs.

Price YouTubing: “Kiss That Frog,” a psychedelic, CGI journey the place Gabriel spends many of the trippy clip singing as because the titular amphibian. — C.W.


Why They’re Video Icons: The rap-rock trio got here of age beneath MTV’s watchful eye, rising from frat-rap provocateurs to enlightened pranksters and lo-fi retro fetishists with out shedding their singular spark or having to go away heavy rotation.

The MTV Basic: “Sabotage,” after all, the overwhelmingly convincing faux ’70s cop present trailer that in all probability would’ve gotten its personal Netflix collection by now if it had come out 20 years later.

Price YouTubing: “Physique Movin,” a 1998 quasi-reinvention of ’60s Italian B-movie Hazard: Diabolik the place the actual comedy is in its winkingly apparent revealing errors and continuity errors, an IMDB Goofs web page in music video type. — A.U.


Why He is a Video Icon: Whether or not mugging for the digital camera with icy aplomb or executing easy splits whereas butterflying concerning the set, Prince’s beguiling persona – from the assured androgyny to the ever-morphing vogue – oozed by means of each body of his movies in common rotation on MTV within the ’80s and ’90s.

The MTV Basic: Opening with a protracted monitoring shot of a unadorned Prince in a bath, the “When Doves Cry” video melds melodramatic scenes from the visually arresting Purple Rain movie with kaleidoscopic efficiency footage of the Revolution for an indelible slice of ’80s visible splendor.

Price YouTubing: Villainous Two-Face Prince in “Batdance” is a second for the ages, however the Purple One’s no-nonsense cool as he marches by means of Grand Central earlier than sliding into the cage-laden, hyper sensual “Cream” mise en scène makes that clip rise to the highest. — J. Lynch

17. TLC

Why They’re Video Icons: TLC’s movies coupled direct messaging with smooth visuals and simply sufficient choreography to maintain it attention-grabbing, and paved the way in which for lady teams who had just a little extra to each present and inform.

The MTV Basic: The cinematic storytelling of “Waterfalls” advised highly effective and well timed tales of younger lives misplaced to drug violence and unsafe intercourse — whereas the CGI results of the three singers as big water droplets was each surprising and forward of its time. The business took discover; “Waterfalls” received 4 VMAs in 1995, together with video of the yr.

Price YouTubing: TLC doubled down on considerate narrative movies with their “Unpretty” clip, which spotlighted the cruel actuality of physique picture points in younger ladies. — B. Kaminsky


Why They’re Video Icons: Radiohead set the usual for pre-millennial art-rock movies, with each clip from ’90s classics The Bends and OK Pc worthy of its personal showcase at Sundance.

The MTV Basic: Let’s go along with Simply,” the subtitled Hitchcockian pulse-racer directed by Jamie Thraves, whose pre-apocalyptic doominess feels significantly unnerving at this historic second.

Price YouTubing: “Lotus Flower,” from Radiohead’s third decade of stellar video making, which merely options lead singer Thom Yorke chopping a rug in shadowy black and white — and is each bit as fascinating as their extra thematically bold early clips. — A.U.


Why He is a Video Icon: The world’s greatest musical comic didn’t make a reputation for himself along with his songs alone — his accompanying video parodies are a significant a part of the recipe, and of MTV tradition on the whole, and have helped earned him 5 Grammys over time.

The MTV Basic: “Eat It,” a frame-for-frame parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” (with a “Thriller” kicker as well) turned Al into a world star virtually in a single day.

Price YouTubing: Selecting one of the best Bizarre Al deep reduce is like making an attempt to select a favourite youngster, however take a look at the animated stop-motion video for “Weasel Stomping Day,” which was created by the Robotic Rooster masterminds. — G.G.


Why He is a Video Icon: Within the second half of the 1990s, no different (male) hip-hop artist was as breathlessly unhinged on the small display screen as Busta Rhymes, the previous Leaders of the New College member who went solo and teamed up with director Hype Williams to attract out his darkish humor and cartoon power.

The MTV Basic: Williams’ clip for “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” was rightly hailed as a groundbreaking achievement upon launch, a riff on the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming To America that options Rhymes presiding over an African mini-kingdom in America, donning tribal paint, operating away from an elephant and mugging for the fish-eye lens.

Price YouTubing: “Break Ya Neck” encompasses a ton of hip-hop cameos — together with the monitor’s co-producer, Dr. Dre — in addition to a sequence wherein the music cuts out in order that Rhymes can butt heads with a ram. — J. Lipshutz


Why He is a Video Icon: Rock’s final shapeshifter understood the facility of merging sound and imaginative and prescient since not less than the unique 1969 video for “Space Oddity,” and his multimedia strategy to artwork  — he was an early adopter of the online as effectively — stored him related, even when his music alone was not in any other case as much as the duty.   

The MTV Basic: “Let’s Dance,” the 1983 video that helped Bowie (wanting his GQ greatest) prime the Sizzling 100 for the primary time since 1975, and carried a subtly subversive message about racism. The video depicted white Australians’ merciless remedy of the continent’s Aboriginals — in the identical yr that Michael Jackson turned the primary Black artist to obtain heavy rotation on MTV.  

Price YouTubing: Bowie’s final two movies, “Blackstar,” and “Lazarus,” are his greatest: a dying artist’s insistence on setting up the final chapter of his legacy. By way of two mesmerizing (and linked) performances, he drops lots of tantalizing clues to his previous personas, guaranteeing that we received’t overlook him for a very long time. — F.D.


Why He is a Video Icon: Lamar’s shifting, cinematic movies have by no means been mere counterparts to his songs, however fairly are inextricably linked to his creative imaginative and prescient — to not point out displaying appearing chops that go far past typical music video fare. 

The MTV Basic: “Alright,” the poignant, black-and-white rumination on the civil rights motion in America which helped flip the music’s refrain right into a poignant Black Lives Matter chant, from its explosive dance scenes to its iconic ultimate shot, wherein Lamar smiles on the digital camera after being “shot” by a police officer.

Price YouTubing: “God Is Gangsta” is an equal components disturbing and fascinating visible, which options an Oscar-worthy appearing efficiency by Kendrick as an alcoholic madman toiling within the again room of a membership. — T.C.


Why She’s a Video Icon: From baby-faced teen to perennial pop powerhouse, Rihanna hardly ever shields her feelings, as she’s at all times keen to unmask each facet to her in her movies — the great, unhealthy and ugly.

The MTV Basic: From tearing up skateparks and supermarkets to raving collectively within the mud, “WFL” is an exhilarating crash course on how briskly love can go from 0-100 — after which generally again all the way down to zero once more almost as shortly.

Price YouTubing: “Work,” a two-for-one particular the place the Bajan bombshell companions up with Drake for a pair of movies flexing her Caribbean roots. — C.L.


Whey They’re Video Icons: By no means has a band that appeared so ambivalent about making movies (and fame on the whole) managed to make a number of the most gripping, inventive clips of the video technology’s second period. Singer Kurt Cobain was not possible to look away from, and in only a handful of clips his darkish imaginative and prescient got here to screaming life.

The MTV Basic: Stocked with precise younger folks and shot on a budget in what seemed like a highschool gymnasium, the hardly contained anarchy in “Smells Like Teen Spirit” advised you every little thing you wanted to know concerning the band that was about to show into world megastars: Their music was relentless, Cobain was a lung-busting matinee punk celebrity and, like the children within the bleachers, we have been all about to lose our minds.

Price YouTubing: Although he protested maybe an excessive amount of about not wanting fame, Cobain received it, and the jokey black-and-white Beatles-on-Ed-Sullivan homage of “In Bloom” confirmed that he additionally was in on the joke — and that the trio have been, in truth, right here to totally entertain you. — G.Okay.

9. JAY-Z

Why He is a Video Icon: A wholesome combination of grit, swagger, and Black excellence emboldened the Brooklyn MC to point out mainstream America his truths even after they weren’t prepared for it — which he is been doing for a few quarter-century now.

The MTV Basic: “Massive Pimpin’.” Shot throughout Trinidad’s carnival season alongside Bun B and the late Pimp C, Jay-Z is the last word celebration boy, popping bottles and flexing with fashions on a yacht so large even Hype Williams’ widescreen imaginative and prescient can barely match it.

Price YouTubing: Watching Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West reigning collectively within the post-apocalyptic panorama of “Run This City” whereas nonetheless within the primes of their careers, it makes you marvel what what might have been if this three-headed behemoth had crafted a full-length mission. — C.L.


Why She’s a Video Icon: The storylines, the dancing, the outfits. Proper from the beginning, the pop princess established the lengths of her creativity with a number of the most memorable movies of the final three a long time.

The MTV Basic: “…Baby One More Time” introduced some much-needed enjoyable to educational hallways, and made a lovestruck schoolkid immediately the best, most coveted lady on the town.

Price YouTubing: The information phase within the “Overprotected (Darkchild Remix)” clip marked the start levels of Britney rebelling in opposition to media scrutiny, full with the midriff-baring tops and alluring choreography that had the general public frazzled within the first place. — R.A.


Why They’re Video Icons: With their heart-throb appears and panoramic, globe-trotting movies, this quintet was in all probability probably the most closely performed artist on MTV within the channel’s first two years. They obtained the video vanguard award (offered as a lifetime achievement award) in 2003.

The MTV Basic: “Rio,” with the gents sporting sharp-looking fits (!) whereas standing in a sailboat because it cuts by means of the waves. Not probably the most sensible apparel, however it certain seemed cool.

Price YouTubing: “Planet Earth,” a 1981 video within the then-ultra-cool (now faintly ridiculous) New Romantic model, with frontman Simon LeBon dancing like he’s Belinda Carlisle in a Go-Go’s video. — P.G.


Why She’s a Video Icon: At this level, the identify “Girl Gaga” will endlessly be synonymous with culture-shifting music movies. From the second she burst onto the scene within the late 2000s, Gaga made each single video she launched an occasion value tuning in for, with every half from the styling to the choreography making clear her painstaking mission to unleash her creative imaginative and prescient on the world. 

The MTV Basic: The world virtually stopped when Gaga unleashed “Dangerous Romance.” It is no marvel why the clip racked up a staggering seven wins on the 2010 VMAs; each visible touchpoint — from her crown-bearing fetish put on to her bedazzled alien catsuit — blended physique horror with runway glamour, in the end defining her because the Mom Monster that her Little Monsters worshipped.

Price YouTubing: “Judas” is a traditional instance of Gaga’s love for plot twists — of all of the issues followers might’ve anticipated from the pop icon after her surprising music movies turned the norm, a reimagining of the story of Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene as members of a bike gang nonetheless landed as an astonishing addition to her video pantheon. — S.D.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Missy Elliott doesn’t rap, sing, or seem like anybody else. Every new Misdemeanor video is an explosion of wholly particular person vogue, choreography, manufacturing design, and particular results that doesn’t simply surpass expectations, it transcends them. 

The MTV Basic: You may choose one in all a handful of Missy Elliott movies as the one and never be mistaken, however her grand entrance in 1997’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” stays some of the iconic music video debuts within the historical past of the shape. It’s most memorable for the trash bag go well with (and helmet) that Missy dons all through the clip, however would nonetheless be a traditional only for the green-jacket-on-the-hill look, plus a flood of superstar cameos. 

Price YouTubing: Lots of Missy’s music movies border on sensory overload, for all their eye-popping and face-bending visuals. “She’s a B—h” kinda lives there too however because of its dim black & white scheme, Missy and legendary music video director Hype Williams create a wholly completely different temper. The mid-video rise from the stormy seas alone makes this some of the underrated movies of the ’90s. — E.F.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Although an admittedly timid reside performer when she started her profession, Ms. Jackson used her movies to ascertain herself as something however, together with her daring political ideas and sharp, in-your-face dance strikes.

The MTV Basic: The identical yr she took residence the video vanguard award (at simply 24 years previous, the youngest-ever recipient), the black-and-white, militaristic dance romp of “Rhythm Nation” nabbed her a win for greatest choreography, whereas additionally pushing ahead Jackson’s message of breaking down coloration traces and creating one united drive to combat social injustice.

Price YouTubing: “Go Deep,” which explores the common fantasy of Jackson crashing your home and throwing a celebration. — C.W.


Why They’re Video Icons: The pop queens of Future’s Little one have been perpetually empowered and slickly trendy with their matchy-matchy outfits, impeccable choreography and no nonsense attitudes — and naturally, Beyoncè advanced the shape into excessive artwork after she went solo.

The MTV Basic: “Single Girls (Put a Ring On It)” turned immediately iconic with nothing greater than three leotards, three pairs of pumps and lots of hips and perspective. The clip additionally impressed some of the memorable moments in popular culture historical past when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s 2009 VMA acceptance speech for greatest feminine video to announce that the additionally nominated “Single Girls” clip was “among the finest movies of all time!” He had a degree.

Price YouTubing: The 2006 video for “Improve U” finds Bey taking part in each herself and her boo Jay Z — and doing a convincing job of each. — Okay.B.


Why He is a Video Icon: You’d want a 10-part, Final Dance-style documentary to correctly illustrate simply how important the different MJ of the ’80s and ’90s was to the music video type. We might by no means watch his movies the identical method once more after latest allegations, however merely put, we in all probability would not nonetheless be speaking about music movies on this method in any respect 4 a long time later with out him.

The MTV Basic: You recognize that gif you see on Twitter lots of Michael Jackson consuming popcorn? If you have not seen the 14-minute video it comes from initially, it is best to perhaps verify the remainder of that out someday.

Price YouTubing: The stop-motion-animated funhouse paranoia of “Depart Me Alone,” the primary of numerous movies made by pop megastars to inform the paparazzi, the media, and their haters on the whole to simply step off already. — A.U.


Why She’s a Video Icon: Ascending to era-defining supremacy shortly after MTV itself, Madonna’s high-concept movies – which channeled previous Hollywood whereas paving a provocative visible path into the longer term — have been an integral a part of her ever-changing picture and the meticulous management she exercised round it.

The MTV Basic: The satirical “Materials Woman” and controversial “Like a Prayer” are equally impactful, however the David Fincher-directed “Vogue” – with its life-affirming alchemy of old-school glamour, ball tradition choreography and luxurious cinematography – stands as her most interesting visible second.

Price YouTubing: “Open Your Coronary heart,” with its playful subversion of the male gaze by way of an artwork deco peep present, is an early and efficient distillation of her endlessly analyzed, celebrated, vilified and imitated tackle sexuality and possession. — J. Lynch


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