Yesterday, we right here at Billboard revealed an inventory of our picks for the 100 biggest music video artists of all time. The listing was filled with artists who’d made lengthy careers out of memorable music movies, with a number of signature moments and sometimes a video model solely their very own.
However what in regards to the artists whose video legacies are principally related to only one clip? This is our listing of the 15 artists who nonetheless made an indelible influence on MTV and/or YouTube with a single traditional video — even when it that is likely to be the one ones of theirs you’d nonetheless acknowledge years later.
The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star” (1979)
Probably the most enduring movies of the ’80s, largely as a result of it was famously the first-ever video performed upon MTV’s launch on August 1, 1981. Although the concurrently backwards- and forwards-looking “Video Killed the Radio Star” clip stays a charming watch over 40 years later, it was the Buggles’ solely main hit on the nascent channel. Nonetheless, frontman Trevor Horn would proceed to influence one other few many years of MTV hits, each as a founding member of art-pop video fixtures The Artwork of Noise, and as producer on megahits from the likes of Sure and Seal.
Herbie Hancock, “Rockit” (1983)
Whereas Herbie Hancock’s standing as a jazz and fusion legend was lengthy established by the 1980s, to a lot of the MTV technology he is possible remembered primarily for the progressive Godley & Creme-directed clip for his 1983 electro hit “Rockit.” Set in a suburban dwelling filled with robotically managed dummies, paper maché heads and disembodied legs, the visible was equal components creepy and funky, the right accompaniment to Hancock’s eerie, slamming instrumental. The video was put into heavy rotation, and helped popularize document scratching within the American mainstream, although Hancock’s cameo within the pop mainstream was unsurprisingly short-lived.
Godley & Creme, “Cry” (1985)
Talking of Godley & Creme — they had been common presences on MTV as administrators, however solely ever scored one hit as performing artists, with the melodramatic “Cry.” The black-and-white clip options quite a lot of miscellaneous close-up faces singing the track’s lyrics, with dissolve and wipe results transitioning between them as a type of proto-morphing. The know-how could be a lot improved by the point Michael Jackson used related results on his much-hyped “Black or White” clip in 1991, however nonetheless, “Cry” scored Godley & Creme three nominations on the 1986 Video Music Awards, together with one for video of the yr.
A-ha, “Tackle Me” (1985)
Maybe essentially the most well-known one-video marvel of the MTV period, A-ha’s “Tackle Me” shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Scorching 100 and have become one of many defining hits of the ’80s, largely to its Steve Barron-directed clip, which blurred reside motion and animation for an action-packed fantasy romance story that had one thing for everybody. Truly, A-ha did have a second hit video — “The Solar All the time Shines on TV,” each a high 20 Scorching 100 hit and a VMA winner for finest cinematography and finest enhancing in 1986 — however the influence of “Tackle Me” was so outsized it isn’t stunning that few outdoors of the band’s Norway dwelling keep in mind any of their different clips 35 years later.
Neil Younger, “This Notice’s For You” (1988)
Neil Younger has one of the storied careers in rock historical past, spanning a number of many years and several other bands and several other generations of followers and acolytes. However in relation to music movies, his legacy can principally be condensed to 1 clip: “This Notice’s For You,” a shock winner for video of the yr on the ’89 VMAs. The visible took purpose on the elevated commercialization of rock music, poking enjoyable not solely at beer advertisements however at MTV itself — with its ’89 upset being taken by many as an indication that the channel’s extra had gone too far on the finish of its first decade.
Chris Isaak, “Depraved Sport” (1990)
Chris Isaak managed a profitable multi-decade profession as a retro-molded crooner, however his lone brush with true pop stardom got here within the early ’90s along with his video for lovelorn ballad “Depraved Sport.” The black-and-white clip, which was filmed by legendary photographer Herb Ritts and featured Isaak and supermodel Helena Christensen cavorting half-naked on a Hawaiian island, is ceaselessly cited as one of many sexiest music movies of all time, and helped the track attain No. 6 on the Scorching 100 in 1991 — the singer’s solely go to to the highest 40.
Sinéad O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
Whereas Sinéad O’Connor had turn into a college-rock sensation for her acclaimed 1987 LP The Lion and The Cobra, her chart success was restricted till the discharge of 1990’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a Prince-written megaballad that took O’Connor to No. 1 all around the world. That success was aided in no small half by the track’s unforgettable, John Maybury-directed video, which juxtaposed lush photographs of Paris’ Parc de Saint-Cloud with close-ups of the singer’s anguished face, belting the track’s heartbroken lyrics. The clip took video of the yr on the 1990 VMAs — making O’Connor the award’s first-ever feminine winner — however controversy shook her profession in subsequent years, and he or she by no means returned to MTV stardom after.
Pearl Jam, “Jeremy” (1992)
Pearl Jam had been already MTV stars by the point of “Jeremy,” with their live-shot clips for Ten singles “Alive” and “Even Circulate” securing them heavy rotation. However the one true music video that the band filmed at their peak was for “Jeremy,” the chillingly topical anthem whose Mark Pellington-helmed visible starred teen actor Trevor Wilson as a troubled child who takes his personal life in entrance of his classmates. The clip — which additionally featured a star-making efficiency from frontman Eddie Vedder — turned one of many largest of its period, a response that put Wilson off appearing altogether, and scared the band into swearing off movies for many of the remainder of the ’90s.
Jamiroquai, “Digital Madness” (1996)
One of many purest examples of MTV making stars out of an act with little to no radio success, Jamiroquai by no means even hit the Scorching 100 with their jazzy pop-funk single “Digital Madness,” however nonetheless stay an important a part of mid-’90s popular culture (and even gained video of the yr on the 1997 VMAs) for the track’s video. The clip featured frontman Jay Kay dancing round a room of seemingly transferring furnishings — in actuality, it was the room itself that was transferring across the sofas — to characterize the track’s lyrical themes of navigating a daunting future. Whereas Jamiroquai would soundtrack yet one more unforgettable visible, it wasn’t with certainly one of their very own movies, however slightly a Jon Heder dance routine from 2004 cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite.
D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Really feel?)” (2000)
D’Angelo had lengthy achieved R&B stardom, incomes a repute as one of many main voices of the neo-soul motion, by the point of the “Untitled” video in 2000. However the unignorable sensuality of that Paul Hunter-filmed clip nonetheless modified every thing for the singer-songwriter, who turned each an MTV star and a nationwide intercourse image seemingly in a single day — a standing D’Angelo discovered himself extraordinarily uncomfortable with, as he retreated from the highlight for almost a decade and a half to comply with. “Untitled” was nominated for 4 awards on the 2000 VMAs, together with video of the yr, and was named the third-greatest video of the 21st century by Billboard in 2018.
Soiled Vegas, “Days Go By” (2001)
When you keep in mind one factor about U.Okay. dance outfit Soiled Vegas, it was most likely the music video for his or her 2001 hit “Days Go By,” which featured an nameless breakdancer popping and locking outdoors a restaurant, as silent-but-subtitled dialogue from onlookers defined he was dancing to deliver again a misplaced love. The video helped enhance the track to the Scorching 100’s high 20 in 2002, and scored a finest dance video nomination at that yr’s VMAs — whereas additionally inspiring a industrial to advertise that yr’s awards, starring host Jimmy Fallon as a much-less-impressive lone dancer.
Johnny Money, “Damage” (2003)
Johnny Money’s resume as certainly one of nation’s all-time greats had spoken for itself for properly over 40 years by the point he lined 9 Inch Nails’ bilious energy ballad “Damage,” for what would turn into the ultimate album of his lifetime, 2002’s American IV: The Man Comes Round. That video nonetheless launched him to a model new viewers due to its singularly overpowering music video, a Mark Romanek-directed homage to the musical legend in his ultimate days, each glowing in its reverence and harrowing in its implications. Money’s first clip to essentially break via on MTV, “Damage” earned its creator six posthumous nods on the 2003 VMAs, together with video of the yr and finest male video.
The Darkness, “I Imagine in a Factor Referred to as Love” (2003)
The Darkness had been full on retro-rock sensations at dwelling within the U.Okay., however within the U.S., we principally simply acquired them for one video. The clip for “I Imagine in a Factor Referred to as Love” took the band’s righteous rock fantasies to their logical excessive, that includes the band in an intergalactic journey battling aliens and monsters, with the group’s mighty six-string majesty unsurprisingly saving the day. The video, filmed by Alex Smith, scored nominations for finest rock video and finest new artist on the ’04 VMAs, and helped debut album Permission to Land earn a Gold certification stateside –though the band largely saved to their aspect of the pond from there.
Justice, “D.A.N.C.E.” (2007)
“D.A.N.C.E.” wasn’t the one notable video from French duo Justice, who additionally had a memorably violent and kinetic video for his or her pulse-racing “Stress” and even helped earn a pre-Taylor Swift stagecrash from Kanye West on the 2006 Europe Music Awards for the video to their Simian remix “We Are Your Pals.” However within the U.S., they’re nonetheless principally recognized for one clip: their “D.A.N.C.E.” visible, a type of proto-lyric video wherein the track’s phrases had been mirrored by always evolving T-shirt graphics. It was nominated for video of the yr on the ’08 VMAs, and helped result in none apart from West himself hiring administrators Jonas & Francois for his personal “Good Life” vid later that yr.
Gotye (feat. Kimbra), “Any individual That I Used to Know” (2011)
it is a reasonably large video whenever you get your individual SNL parody, as Gotye did for his Kimbra-assisted “Any individual That I Used to Know” as soon as the track began climbing the Scorching 100 in 2012 and its visible took on a life its personal. That includes the 2 bare artists being painted into the background surroundings as they wail in regards to the fallout from their failed relationship, the Natasha Pincus-helmed “Any individual That I Used to Know” was a YouTube-era success story straight out of MTV’s early years: A charming visible for a left-field pop track taking maintain and briefly capturing your entire world’s creativeness. And like a lot of these early-’80s wonders, it was to not be repeated — Gotye’s Making Mirrors follow-up singles and movies didn’t discover a related viewers, and he is been little heard from since.