Ever since the dawn of MTV made the possibilities and influence of music videos seem infinite, what used to be an extra promotional tool has become a veritable art-form in itself. From Michael Jackson's innovative 'Thriller' epic to Blur's heartwarming milk carton movie for 'Coffee & TV' and MIA's more recent, controversial promo for 'Born Free', the music video has come into a life of its own. Here, we celebrate 100 of the best: how many have you seen?


Released: 1994
Director: Mark Romanek
Trent Reznor bought an early 20th century roll of unexposed film to record this twisted music video on. One of the most controversial on our list, it features s&m, animal cruelty and religion - and sees Reznor shackled in a creepy basement.
Best bit: When a seemingly severed head opens his eyes.

49Pass This

Released: 2003
Director: Johan Renck
Featuring female impersonator Rickard Engfors lip-sinking to the track as the entertainment at the annual meeting of a local Swedish football club, this mesmerizing video is tense, beautiful and haunting.
Best bit: Band member Olof Dreijer’s dance moves.


Released: 1985
Director: Julian Doyle
The idea for this promo was conceived by Kate herself and Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam. It was based on the tale of Wilhelm Reich, the Austrian scientist who tried to alter the weather with his cloudbuster.
Best bit: When Kate gets the cloudbuster going and it starts raining.

47This Is Hardcore

Released: 1998
Director: Doug Nichol
Having directed promos for Sting and Aerosmith, Doug Nichol is known as being one of the best directors in the business. This melodramatic, Hollywood-esque video should be top of his CV.
Best bit: When Jarvis emerges from a circle of burlesque performers waving feather fans.

46Enjoy The Silence

Released: 1990
Director: Anton Corbjin
Based on the kid’s book ‘The Little Prince’, the video sees lead singer Dave Gahan searching for a quiet place to sit and listen to Depeche Mode presumably.
Best bit: The satisfying moment he gets to finally sit down in that deckchair.

45Wild Wild Life

Released: 1986
Director: David Byrne
With clips from the film True Stories, ‘Wild Wild Life’ makes you want to don your best '80s attire and leap onstage to join the karaoke wannabes.
Best bit: The yellow jumpsuit at the start — the most retro piece of clothing you’ll ever see.

44Breaking The Law

Released: 1980
Director: Julien Temple
The band rob a bank to pinch a gold record of their 1980 album ‘British Steel’. This video is worth it just to see lead singer Rob Halford pulling apart the iron bars of a safe with his bare hands.
Best bit: 0.48 in when the band make a hostage’s glasses smash with their dark sounds.

43Hey Ya

Released: 2003
Director: Bryan Barber
Based on The Beatles’ appearance at the Ed Sullivan Show – screaming, fainting fans and all – it sees the singer play every member of ‘The Love Below’.
Best bit: Who honestly doesn’t “shake it like a Polaroid” when Andre 3000 tells them to?

42Down By The Water

Released: 1995
Director: Maria Machnacz
With guys and girls alike instantly falling in love with the red-lipped siren that is PJ Harvey in this video, it’s mesmerizing. The simplicity of the promo, just Polly Jean dancing and swimming, proves what a gripping performer the NME Award winner is.
Best bit: The whispered end.

41Pon De Floor

Released: 2009
Director: Eric Wareheim
Where to begin? The tutus, the cartoon house, the ridiculous "dancing"... it's guaranteed to either offend you or make you laugh. Or a bit of both.
Best bit: Is he meant to look like a chicken with that fluffy yellow jacket and hair?

Share This

Connect With Us
This Week's Magazine