50 of The Best Music Videos of All Time
Are you a fan of music? Have you ever wondered what the best music videos of all time are? Then you should check out these amazing music videos that made a significant impact in the music industry. Music videos are an excellent way for the artist to show what their songs mean and how they want to represent them. Sometimes, these music videos will have nothing to do with the song, while others perfectly represent what the artist is looking to do. Ever since humans could record sound and video, they have experimented with different ways to utilize the art forms by bringing them together to create something spectacular.
Artists have now perfected how these music videos are produced and have looked to movie producers for help. With all the special effects and crazy dance moves, these have become one of the most popular ways to enjoy music and a perfect way for artists to get their songs out. If you want to find out what the best music videos are, then be sure to check out this list of the Best Music Videos of All Time.
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" is undoubtedly the most famous music video globally and changed how they were looked at. The music video was released in 1983 and was directed by John Landis, who was one of the most prominent directors in Hollywood. The music video was unforgettable, but the song is what made this music video number one on the charts.
Jackson wanted to reference all the horror films during the 70s and 80s while dancing with a bunch of zombies. It was one of the most played music videos on MTV and made Jackson an even bigger superstar in the process. This music video will remain one of the best for years to come.
November Rain - Guns N' Roses
Guns N’ Roses was one of the top bands during the 90s. In 1992, they released the music video for the song "November Rain," which wasn't their most popular song at first, but it rose to the top of the charts once the music video was released. The music video was directed by Andrew Morahan, who was famous for making music videos throughout the 80s.
The music video is pretty simple, as there are only a couple of places where it was shot, but it is robust in every way. What completes this music video is Slash’s guitar solo, which he performs in front of a white chapel. The song is about a man grieving over his girlfriend as their relationship is a roller coaster of ups and downs.
Weapon Of Choice - Fatboy Slim
One of the few music videos that feature a famous actor is the song "Weapon of Choice." The song was written by Fatboy Slim, a musician from England who focuses on big beat music. He wanted to have a unique-looking music video and decided to work with Spike Jonze, a clever director.
Jonze was looking for an actor willing to do some dancing and found out that Christopher Walken was interested. The music video was released in 2000 and featured Walken dancing and floating around in a Marriot hotel lobby in Los Angeles. When Walken was younger he was a professional dancer, which really shows in the music video.
Gangnam Style - PSY
"Gangnam Style" is another popular song that took the world by surprise, and the music video really took it to another level. Psy, the song's artist, is the Korean pop singer who created this dance move and included it in his music video. People started mimicking his dance moves, and the music video became popular globally.
It was ranked one of the top Youtube music videos to watch, and it currently sits at 4.4 billion views. Psy never knew that the song would get as popular as it did and was blown away by the number of people doing his dance. The whole music video is hilarious, and Psy is known for being on the funnier side.
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" is one of Nirvana’s most popular songs, and because of this, they wanted to make a music video that would fit the song. They went with director Samuel Bayer, and this would be his first music video that would start his career. Lucky that he chose to work with Nirvana as the music video became one of the most popular at the time.
The music video was based on the film Over the Edge and took a lot of inspiration from the Ramones' film Rock 'n' Roll High School. The music video totally fits the song, and everything about it speaks Nirvana. The music video was released in 1992 and is still ranked one of the best.
Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
"Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel is a unique music video that was released in 1986 and is still ranked as one of the best. The music video was directed by Stephen R. Johnson, who wanted to make a claymation stop motion film that would go along with the song. This was something that was never seen in a music video and was the first to experiment with such an idea.
The music video took several hours to shoot as everything needed to be shot frame by frame. The end results ended up making it one of the most unique music videos released during the 80s and it also helped that the song was at the top of the charts as well.
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
"Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. is one of the top songs that the band released, and the music video makes you visualize the song perfectly. The music video was released in 1993 and was filmed in San Antonio, Texas, on the I-10 Interstate. The film features the band holding up a traffic jam on the interstate and shows people’s thoughts in subtitles that are stuck in it.
The music video was directed by Jake Scott, who was inspired by Federico Fellini’s film 8½, which features a traffic jam as well. Although it has been a while, the music video is still one of the best produced.
One - Metallica
"One" by Metallica was the first song they made a music video for and it's a good thing that they did because it became one of the most popular metal music videos out there. The song is about the struggles of war and is based on the film Johnny Got His Gun. The music video features shots from the film that plays perfectly along with the song and was released in 1989.
Everything about the song is metal, and it was the perfect look that Metallica wanted to capture for their first music video. "One" would open up the door for the band to experiment with more music videos in the future and prove that even heavy metal can produce great music videos.
Jeremy - Pearl Jam
"Jeremy" is undoubtedly the most popular song that Pearl Jam produced and the music video created a lot of controversy due to the nature of the song. The music video received a lot of clouts because it was about a teenage boy that deals with depression from bullying and ends up shooting himself. The message is pretty powerful in this music video and is the reason why it won four VMAs in 1993.
This was huge for the band as they were always looked at as the new kids on the block since grunge was just taking the scene. This made the grunge scene even more popular during the 90s.
Basket Case - Greenday
When people think of the early days of Green Day, a couple of songs come to mind, one being "Basket Case," which perfectly described the band at the time. The music video for "Basket Case" helped the band with its fame as it was full of exciting scenes. The director, Mark Kohr, wanted to base the music video on the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and nailed it perfectly as it was littered with mental hospital scenes.
The music video, and the song, matched up perfectly, which wasn't the case with most music videos at the time. It was nominated for nine VMAs but unfortunately didn't win any.
Buddy Holly - Weezer
One of the most creative music videos is "Buddy Holly" by Weezer, which features the band in the hit TV show Happy Days. The director, Spike Jonze, knew precisely what he was doing when it came to this music video, as you can't even tell that the band was edited in. The song fit the music video perfectly and was an excellent way to pay homage to the cast of Happy Days, as most of them were featured in the video.
The music video was received so well that it won VMAs in 1995, including Best Direction, Best Editing, and Breakthrough Music video. This music video has been labeled a classic for the band.
Take Me On - Ah-ha
Another incredibly famous music video is "Take On Me" by Ah-ha; the song was released in 1985 and was the most popular that they released, which they can thank for the music video for that. The director, Steve Barron, wanted to make a unique music video in every way and decided to create a pencil sketched animation that would go along with the singer in real life.
This became an instant hit when it was released on MTV, and everyone around the world knew of the song. The music video was shot so well that it ended up winning six VMAs and was ranked the best video of 1986. Even though it has been a lifetime since its release, people still enjoy watching this music video as it is fun to watch.
Hey Yah! - Outkast
"Hey Ya!" is a catchy song that everyone sings along to and the music video was the perfect addition it needed to become one of the band’s top hits. Outkast hired director Bryan Barber to help produce this music video that became the winner of the 2004 Video of the Year. The music video was inspired by The Beatle's debut on an old show called The Ed Sullivan Show.
Andre 3000 portrays all the band members in the music video, which gives it some great uniqueness. Even though this song is somewhat old, the music video and song still get people moving. The music video only added to the song's fun and made it very memorable.
Sabotage - Beastie Boys
Spike Jonze is at it again with this music video for the song "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys. This is one of the best, if not the best, music videos that the band released. The music video makes reference to cop movies and shows such as Starky and Hutch and S.W.A.T. as the band members portray cops throughout the video.
Unfortunately, the music video wasn't able to win a VMA but was on the nomination list. This music video is great because it shows that the Beasties Boys can not only rap but can also be comical.
California Love - 2Pac
"California Love" is a great song, but watching the music video just makes this song more enjoyable. 2Pac released the music video in 1996 and it became instantly popular and was played on MTV all the time. The director, Hype Williams, was inspired by Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, as the music video has a similar look.
Chris Tucker ended up making an appearance since he was good friends with 2Pac. This music video was played nonstop during the 90s and is still one of the most played songs.
Work It! - Missy Elliott
Most of Missy Elliott’s music videos are unforgettable as she was one of the leading female rappers at the time and one that sticks out is "Work It!" which was released in 2003 and ended up winning Video of the Year. Timbaland, Eve and Halle Berry are featured in the music video and it was also the first time Alyson Stoner, a young dancer at the time, starred in a music video as the lead dancer.
The tune is pretty catchy, and seeing Missy Elliott dance the whole time makes it that much better. The music video was directed by Dave Meyers, who knew how to capture all of the best dance moves in the song.
Hurt - Johnny Cash
"Hurt" was Johnny Cash’s last music video that he released, he was 71 years old when it was produced. This beautiful music video encapsulates the life of Johnny Cash as during this time he was battling serious health problems and knew that his time was coming to an end.
Amazingly the song wasn't even written by Cash, it was actually a Nine Inch Nails cover, and they were more than happy to give Cash permission to sing it. Three months after the music video was shot, Johnny Cash passed away, so this was the last piece of work he gave to the world.
Bad Blood - Taylor Swift
When it comes to more recent music videos, "Bad Blood" is ranked one of the best. Taylor Swift had a plan to make a music video with several singers and actors and was able to pull it off. The music video was released in 2015 and was nominated for eight VMAs, and ended up winning The Video of the Year.
The music video is about a group of spies that train to fight an opposing spy team and these teams consist of different rappers and actors such as Kendrick Lamar. It is a pretty interesting music video set in a futuristic world, and it made this Taylor Swift song unforgettable.
Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
The 90s was full of weird music videos, but that is what made 90s music so interesting. One that became pretty popular was "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden, which was surprising since the music video was so simple. Soundgarden was one of the top grunge bands during the 90s, and this song became one of their most popular because of the music video.
The director, Howard Greenhalgh, wanted the music video to feel like you took a tab of acid during the 1950s and what it would be like to experience it. Overall the music video is a trip and was being played on MTV all throughout 1994, which is one reason why it became so popular.
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has always been an interesting artist and her music videos fit her personality pretty well. "Bad Romance" was one of her top music videos since it was directed by Francis Lawrence who also directed all three of The Hunger Games films and several other Hollywood films.
The music video ended up being such a hit because of the uniqueness and strange looks that it ended up winning seven VMAs, which included The Video of the Year and Best Direction. This is one of her finest achievements as an artist, but it wouldn't be her last as she is full of imagination. This is a music video that Lady Gaga and her fans will always remember.
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyonce
"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyonce is one of the most memorable songs, and like most of her music videos, it was an ultimate hit. Beyonce is a dancing machine, and it shows during this music video, which was released in 2009 and ended up being nominated for nine VMA’s. The music video was awarded three VMAs, including Video of the Year, which wasn't a surprise since the music video was so awesome.
Beyonce is seen with two dancers throughout the video, which made filming the music video inexpensive and easier to work with than others. Beyonce will always be one of the best performers in the industry.
Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
Director Michael Gondry took on the monumental task of producing the music video for the song "Fell In Love With a Girl" by The White Stripes. The music video was hard to create because it was all shot using stop motion frames with legos.
The result became one of the most creative music videos out there. It is worth checking out since the song is pretty enjoyable, and the lego animations are amazing to watch. The music video was nominated for four VMAs and was able to win three of them, which included Breakthrough Video, Best Visual Effects, and Best Editing. The video was based on a Family Guy episode as the band loved watching the show.
Anaconda - Nicki Minaj
When it comes to one of the highlights in Nicki Manaj’s career, the "Anaconda" music video is at the top as it made her world-famous overnight. The music video was directed by Colin Tilley, who filmed it in Los Angeles. The music video featured Drake and broke several records on streaming services.
This became the first female rap solo music video to reach a billion views on Youtube and was labeled the sexiest video in 2014 since Nicki was dancing in the most provocative way. Nicki changed the game and made it easier for female rappers to become famous.
We're Not Going To Take It - Twisted Sister
Twisted Sister’s "We're Not Gonna Take It" music video was one of the best hair metal music videos that were released during the 80s. This was the perfect music video to capture what Twisted Sister was all about, from the crazy makeup to the loud music. Every teenage boy during that time wanted to go against authority, and this song encapsulated it.
The music video was directed by Marty Callner and was released in 1984. It was also based on the film Animal House, and if you pay attention, there are small details that hint at this. The music video didn't win any awards, but it was still popular when it came out.
This Is America - Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino has risen to fame in recent years, and that is due to the powerful lyrics and dope beats that he produces himself. His music videos are just as good as his music. The music video for "This Is America" is a powerful message that Gambino wanted to make since times in America were not the best in 2018.
Hiro Murai directed the music video, which was aired on Youtube when Gambino performed the song on Saturday Night Live. The music video features Gambino dancing in a strange way representing how enslaved people danced during Jim Crow days.
The Story of O.J. - Jay-Z
"The Story of O.J." is a great music video directed by Jay-Z and Mark Romanek, who is known for making exciting music videos. The music video was released in 2017 on Vevo and instantly became a hit among Jay-Z fans.
It shows different African-American stereotypes and the culture surrounding it in a pretty unique cartoon video. The video was ranked number one for the best music video in 2017 by Rolling Stone. It is good to see an artist actually direct their own music videos, which Jay-Z has always tried to do.
Alright - Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is one of the best rappers out there, and his music videos are always something to look forward to. The music video for "Alright" was filmed in both Los Angeles and San Francisco and was shot in black and white, giving it a unique look.
The video was directed by Colin Tilley, who is huge in the music video industry and didn't fail in making this one of Lamar's best music videos. ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock were featured in the music video, and it ended up receiving seven VMAs, which included Video of the Year and Best Male Video.
Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Another great music video is for the song "Dani California," which is by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band has been one of the most popular to come out of the late 80s and since then has become a band that everyone wants to see in concert. Watching some of their music videos is a great way to see these guys in action without paying a ridiculous amount for tickets.
"Dani California" is already a great song alone, and the music video just made the experience that much better. The video was directed by Tony Kaye and was released in 2006; the video won an award for Best Art Direction.
Toxic - Britney Spears
Of course, Britney Spears would be on the list for best music videos as she was another great singer that knew how to dance. In her music video for the song "Toxic," things got pretty spicy, and she was getting all of the guys' attention when the music video would come on.
The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, who was familiar with Spears as he worked with her on previous music videos, and he was able to make this one of the most popular that she released. The video was released in 2003 and instantly became popular worldwide and ended up being nominated for four VMAs but, unfortunately, wasn't awarded any.
Jump - Van Halen
"Jump" came off Van Halen's most successful album, 1984, and was number one on the Billboards. Pete Angelus and David Lee Roth directed the music video, and it was the ultimate hit with rock n roll fans. The music video was simple as it was just a stage performance, but that was enough for it to be nominated for three MTV Music Awards and win Best Stage Performance.
Van Halen ended up becoming more popular with the help of this music video as it was played on MTV all the time. This is a fantastic rock n roll music video that is a classic and perfectly encapsulates the band.
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is one of Queen's number one hits and was even ranked the UK's Best Selling Single of All Time. What made this song even better was the music video that was made for it. The video was directed by Bruce Gowers, who knew that the song needed an epic music video to go along with it, and in the end, he created a simple but impactful video.
The music video was released in 1975 and only cost the band around $5,000 to film the video, which was a bargain since it became one of the most famous music videos at the time.
When Doves Cry - Prince
"When Doves Cry" is the number one single that came off Prince's album Purple Rain and is one of the songs that he is remembered for. Prince was always a great performer, and his music videos were just a glimpse at what dance moves this man had in store. The music video was directed by Prince, who prided himself on doing all of his own work himself and released the video in 1984 on MTV.
It ended up being nominated for Best Choreography at the MTV Music Awards but didn't win. Networks found this music video a bit too sexual for television and it became a considerable controversy.
Waterfalls - TLC
"Waterfalls" was the number one single that came off of the album CrazySexyCool and was ranked the number 2 song of the year on the Billboard charts. It was also nominated for three Grammy Awards, which says a lot. The music video was the perfect way to display what TLC wanted the song to represent.
The video was directed by F. Gary Gray, who is famous for producing the film Friday and made a music video that represented the group perfectly. Since the song and music video were so good, it was awarded four MTV Music Awards which included Video of the Year and Best R&B Song.
Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
"Beautiful" is another classic song that came out during the early 2000s and was one of Christina Aguilera's best singles that she released. The music video was a perfect way to visualize what the song was all about. The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund and was released in 2002, and it was one of the first to highlight the issues of racial division and gay rights.
The public received the music video so well that Aguilera was awarded the Special Recognition award, which was presented by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Runaway - Kanye West
"Runaway" came off of Kanye West's album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and was the second single off of that album. The music video was directed by Kanye himself, who always loves to be in control and the music video ended up coming out pretty well. It was released in 2010 and became one of Kanye's most popular music videos.
The video was nominated for several awards, and Kanye was even nominated for Best Director as well. Even though the music video is over ten years old, it is still known as one of Kanye's best.
What's My Age Again? - Blink-182
Probably one of the wildest music videos out there is "What's My Age Again" by Blink-182, which features the band playing and running around the town naked. The song was the lead single off of the album Enema of the State and became even more popular when the music video was released and played on MTV.
The music video was directed by Marcos Siega who wanted to make a music video that encapsulated the way the band wanted to be portrayed. Since the band was naked, it created a lot of publicity and made the band one of the most famous during the 90s.
Fantasy - Mariah Carey
"Fantasy" is one of Mariah Carey's songs that boosted her popularity when she was younger. The song came off of the Daydream album, which was released in 1995, and the music video was the perfect way for people to find out about Carey and her incredible voice. Amazingly, Carey herself directed this music video, which ended up being a huge success.
This was another excellent example of an artist taking the reigns and doing everything themselves. This song and music video will remain one of Mariah Carey's best.
Sensual Seduction - Snoop Dogg
"Sensual Seduction" is the first title off of Snoop Dogg's album Ego Trippin' which was his ninth album. Along with the song came a fantastic music video that is still ranked as one of the best that Snoop released. The music video was directed by Melina Matsoukas, who wanted to make a video that looks like it was shot during the 70s, and Snoop was totally on board. The video was released in 2007 and featured Lil' Kim.
There were several versions filmed with different artists, and there was even an uncensored version as well. This will always remain one of the best music videos that Snoop Dogg has released during his career.
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) - Lil Nas X
"Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" first debuted in a Super Bowl commercial and created a lot of controversy due to the nature of the video. The man behind it all is Lil Nas X, who is known for pushing the limits to the edge and enjoys being the center of attention.
The music video was directed by Tanu Muino, who is a Ukrainian known for making exciting music videos and nailed it when it came to this one. The video features many demonic scenes, which led to the controversy, but it was the perfect way to promote his song and get everyone to know his name.
Everlong - Foo Fighters
"Everlong" was ranked number three on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and is one of the songs that the band is known for. The music video was a big help in promoting the song and ended up being nominated for Best Rock Video at the MTV Music Awards in 1998. The video was directed by Michel Gondry, who based it on the film The Evil Dead.
If you were around during the late 90s, then you surely remember this song playing on the radio and the music video always being shown on MTV. Foo Fighters ended up becoming one of the most famous rock bands, and they can thank this music video for that.
Blinding Lights - The Weeknd
"Blinding Lights" came off The Weeknd's album After Hours and had an epic music video that was released along with it in 2019. The Weeknd is known for making cinematic music videos and takes pride in making them as unique as possible.
The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 for four straight weeks, and the music video ended up getting nominated for six MTV Music Awards and walked away with two, which included Video of the Year and Best R&B Video. The video was directed by Anton Tammi, who is excellent at shooting some cinematic scenes and was the perfect director for The Weeknd to work with.
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Of course, Michael Jackson would have two spots on this list as he was one of the best dancers in the world and the music video for "Billie Jean" was another classic that will always be remembered. The music video was directed by Steve Barron, who is known for several Hollywood films and was the perfect match for Jackson as the music video became one of his best.
At first, MTV didn't want to air the music video as they thought their crowd wouldn't want to see it, but they were very wrong in the end as everyone wanted to see Michael and his impressive dance moves.
Bark At The Moon - Ozzy Osbourne
"Bark at the Moon" came off of Ozzy Osbourne's album Bark at the Moon and became one of his most famous songs during the 80s. The song reached the nineteenth spot on the Billboard list and was aided by the music video played all over MTV. The video was released in 1983 and featured Ozzy dressed up as a werewolf, which goes along with the song's lyrics.
Ozzy was one of the first heavy metal artists to start putting his music videos on MTV and he became extremely popular for it. Ozzy has always been known for being the god of metal, and he really took that to heart when he made music videos.
Around the World - Daft Punk
"Around the World" is the number one song that Daft Punk released during their career and was able to make them popular worldwide. The music video was directed by Michel Gondry who is known for making the strangest music videos and he didn't let us down with this one. The video was released in 1997 along with the song and became one of the most famous club songs played worldwide.
Even though the music video didn't win any awards, it was still ranked one of the best during the late 90s. It is a shame that Daft Punk will no longer be making music so we must cherish the songs that they did create.
Vogue - Madonna
"Vogue" was the first single off Madonna's album, I'm Breathless, released in 1990. The song became the top single in 1990 and got help from the fantastic music video that went along with it. David Fincher directed the music video and decided to make the whole video black and white, which went along with the song.
The music video was received so well that it was nominated for nine MTV Music Awards and was able to walk away with three. It was a significant turning point in Madonna's career as it elevated her to superstar status.
Hotline Bling - Drake
Drake is undoubtedly one of the best rappers around, and his song "Hotline Bling" became an ultimate hit when released in 2015. The single reached number two on the Billboard Top 100 and is one of his most recognizable songs. Director X directed the music video and was inspired to make a rap video that included a lot of dancing, which Drake is known for.
The music video was an ultimate success as it reached over 1 billion views on Youtube and was labeled the seventh-best music video in 2015. We will probably be seeing a lot more from Drake, so this will not best his last.
Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus
"Wrecking Ball" came off of Miley Cyrus' album Bangerz, which was released in 2013 and made it on the Billboard Top 100 in fiftieth place. The music video became one of the most popular during that time as Cyrus is seen on a huge wrecking ball naked. The music video was directed by Terry Richardson, who wanted to capture the sexy look of the young artist.
The music video ended up being a success as it has over 1 billion views on Youtube and was ranked the sexiest video of 2013. Cyrus isn't too proud of the music video now but says she is glad that she experienced it.
Bitch Better Have My Money - Rihanna
"Bitch Better Have My Money" is a single that was released by Rihanna in 2015. The music video made for the song is fantastic and is one of the best Rihanna has released. Rihanna and Megaforce directed the music video which starred a couple of actors such as Mads Mikkelsen, Eric Roberts, and Sita Abellá.
It was one of the first age-restricted music videos to reach 100 million views on Youtube since there were violent scenes and nudity. This fantastic music video won several awards, including Best Music Video of the Year in 2015. This was a significant achievement for Rihanna as she had a part in directing the video.
Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye
"Somebody That I Used to Know" is the single off Gotye's album Making Mirrors, released in 2011. The song became one of the best songs released in 2011, and the music video was a success in every way. The music video was directed by Natasha Pincus, who wanted to make an artistic music video that would go along with the song.
The result was perfect and felt like something you would see in an 80s music video. The video was received so well that it was nominated for two MTV Music Video Awards, including Best Editing In A Video and Video of the Year.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article about the best music videos of all time.