What special music videos have become the icon of all time?

By Jake Schroeder

Music videos of artists are always invested and become works with millions of views, not only can bring them popularity, but also a tool for them to show their ability to perform their acting, vocal, talent,... for everyone to enjoy. 

What special music videos have become the icon of all time?
Photo Courtesy: @BeyonceOnChart/Twitter

But among the millions of music artists of countless artists, which ones have become the icon of all time? Controversial, unique or a premise to help them develop their career? Let's explore who they are and what music videos, and are they truly worth it?

MICHAEL JACKSON – THRILLER(1983)

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson is a multi-talented singer with legendary dance moves. The film "Thriller" lasted 14 minutes, which gave him unforgettable marks. It is a classic and modern combination, a combination of the usual horror images and unique dance created by Jackson.

MICHAEL JACKSON – THRILLER(1983)
Photo Courtesy: Michael Jackson/YouTube

Since" Thriller", the song has been very popular in Halloween parties every year. People even created GIFs for Michael Jackson while he was eating popcorn in that song. It was so impressive that, until now, this "horror song" is still kept in the National Film Registry Library. King of Pop has never let people down, right?

MADONNA – LIKE A PRAYER (1989)

If you mention the singer with a career in history, it is impossible not to mention Madonna, who owns the music video that made the whole world controversy. The song "Like a Prayer" clearly describes the work of her life. The video evokes frustration and hatred while in prison, both religion and in love with boys and girls.

MADONNA – LIKE A PRAYER (1989)
Photo Courtesy: Madonna/YouTube

As mentioned above, this music video has caused a lot of controversy. Despite receiving lots of praise from music critics, because it is related to religion, many conflicting opinions have been raised. Even the Vatican has spoken out about this incident when using the image itself Photos of Germany Kito. Soft drink firm Pepsi refused and withdrew millions of dollars instead of investing in this song.

CHILDISH GAMBIO – THIS IS AMERICA (2018)    

Gambino is an American rapper and actor. He released the song This Is America, this is a rap music video associated with the gospel. The song spoke of the injustice and resignation that black people had to take. While he was with the police and protesters trying to shoot a black man, he was distracted by the cryptic but energy dance.

CHILDISH GAMBIO – THIS IS AMERICA (2018)
Photo Courtesy: Donald Glover/YouTube

People tried to watch this video over and over again in order to find the key inside the song. Finally, with different thoughts, the came to the conclusion that Gambino's song condemned oppression, gun violence, racism and the desire to live in peace. What a deep and rewarding song!

GEORGE MICHAEL – FREEDOM!’90 (1990)

1990 can be said to be a lucky year for George Michael, the British singer. Almost all of the music videos were filmed on MTV, the albums he released were sold out all over the world in the blink of an eye, it not unbelievable, right? Perhaps the song "Freedom!'90" is his last brainchild.

GEORGE MICHAEL – FREEDOM!’90 (1990)
Photo Courtesy: georgemichael/YouTube

It seemed that he wanted to run away from fame because of the pressure that had come to the end, and then he announced his retirement. Although he can no longer see George Michael on the stage, it does not mean he will be forgotten by everyone. In order to retain his legendary marks, many supermodels such as Linda Evangelia, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell sang his song like a blazing fire in the pop music scene.

MISSY ELLIOT – THE RAIN (SUPA DUPA FLY) (1997)

Missy Elliot is a singer, rapper with a different kind of music video from other singers. Her song is a combination of unscientific things like dance in the air and her colorful costumes. Making a difference is having the opportunity to highlight yourself to others. And the song The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) directed by Hype Williams is the biggest turning point in her music career.

MISSY ELLIOT – THE RAIN (SUPA DUPA FLY) (1997)
Photo Courtesy: Missy Elliot/YouTube

In the MV, the highlight that caught the eye of the audience is probably the glittering helmet, filled with glitter and a black bag as a trash bag. In addition, she performed her dances on Timberland shoes associated with neon background. That made her stand out more than ever to the viewers.

BEYONCE – SINGLE LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT) (2008)

Beyoncé, the name is not far from everyone, she is associated with the famous song Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)in 2008. At first, looks boring because this 3-minute music video is more than just one. The suit and dance are very simple. But not stopping there, from the dance nothing hard suddenly became a new trend to attract young people. Even wannabes have posted videos on YouTube with this legendary dance and received a lot of favor from everyone.

BEYONCE – SINGLE LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT) (2008)
Photo Courtesy: Beyoncé/YouTube

In 2009, at the MTV Music Video Award, Beyoncé won the award, winning the Video Award of the year. But she did not achieve the Best Female Video Award because of Taylor Swift, which made Kanye West angry and made Taylor Swift have difficulty in her speech.

PETER GABRIEL – SLEDGEHAMMER (1986)

In the song Sledgehammer, famous British rocker Peter Gabriel has devoted his heart to be able to give listeners a creative and professional music. Unlike other singers, he performed the song by his way, doing what he wanted. He used hilarious styling, made of clay and stop-motion mode, thus helping him bring a new experience to the people around him.

PETER GABRIEL – SLEDGEHAMMER (1986)
Photo Courtesy: Peter Gabriel/YouTube

To get such a creative video, it took him 16 hours just under the glass to facilities filming. Finally, that song in 1987 helped him earn 9 MTV Video Music Award. Gabriel is worthy of what he has spent to receive those awards.

NINE INCH NAILS – CLOSER (1994)

The song is arguably the most haunting of all time - Closer, performed by the band Nine Inch Nails (NIN). The practice is at a doctor's office in the 19th century with the contact of S&M. Mr. Oliver Reznor, the bandleader in this song was blindfolded, his nose was even tied and was left right in the middle of a swarm of hungry and completely out-of-control wildlife.

NINE INCH NAILS – CLOSER (1994)
Photo Courtesy: Nine Inch Nails/YouTube

Because this song haunted many people, the music producer had to turn away some horror images to reduce the fear of the audience. But ultimately this music video was voted the most for the "Greatest Music Video of All Time" award in the VH1 Classic poll.

JANELLE MONAE FEAT GRIMES – PYNK (2018)

Since after the song Pynk, Janelle Monáe has spent more time taking care of herself more. Because in that MV, it evoked everything that women have gone through. And after all these difficulties, they will know whether a man is important or not, it is more important to know how to love ourselves and dare to stand up to struggle to create their safety.

JANELLE MONAE FEAT GRIMES – PYNK (2018)
Photo Courtesy: Janelle Monáe/YouTube

Monáe said that she is a pansexual, perhaps this is the most private thing a certain celebrity might be trying to cover up. So when the video is released to everyone, all its images and messages are related to bisexual, lesbian in particular and the community of LGBT in general.

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS – TONIGHT, TONIGHT (1996)

Know to be great rockers, the band Smashing Pumpkins has brought a lot of brilliant songs. But the song Tonight, Tonight is different from the rest. This is a gentle ballad but no less climax. This group has revived the art of making silent movies for a while.

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS – TONIGHT, TONIGHT (1996)
Photo Courtesy: Smashing Pumpkins/YouTube

 Using the simplest props, including the clothes they wear are not too fussy but never out of fashion. Of course, recalling old memories is always popular. The song became popular, in addition, the art of mute was once again used and became well-known. This song brought 6 awards of MTV Music Videos. It is worth it, isn't it?

SINEAD O’CONNOR – NOTHING COMPARES 2 YOU (1990)

O'Connor brought the audience to a new world, a world fast-paced at a glance but imprinted in their hearts how many emotions. The song Nothing Compares 2 You was performed by herself, all her emotions and psychology were included in the song. Being in this MV mostly turned her face, but it seemed to be a face of sadness, disappointment, and even anger. This song is so deep that the singer shed her tears at the end of the video.

SINEAD O’CONNOR – NOTHING COMPARES 2 YOU (1990)
Photo Courtesy: Sinéad O’Connor/YouTube

In 1990, O'Connor went on to triple the award of the Music of the Year award. Nothing Compares 2 You really inspired many next-generation singers such as Miley Cyrus with the song Wrecking Ball, which is to look at the camera and describe all the emotions that they had at the same time.

OK GO – HERE IT GOES AGAIN (2006)

With a catchy, cheerful melody, along with the dance performed on the treadmill, "Here It Goes Again", is a special song of OK Go, performed successfully after 17 turns! 

OK GO – HERE IT GOES AGAIN (2006)
Photo Courtesy: OK Go/YouTube

Seemingly simple, but with the running jack arranged in opposite directions, dancing on the treadmills are extremely difficult, even dangerous. And, when that music video was released, it quickly became a viral video with a lot of views on YouTube, making OK Go's unexpected success.

A-HA - TAKE ON ME (1984)

"Take On Me" a song with a newfound style, a whole new trend to the art of A-ha, called rotoscoping. And of course, it has brought a lot of success, becoming a big bang in the career of this Norwegian band. 

A-HA - TAKE ON ME (1984)
Photo Courtesy: RHINO/YouTube

 A romantic story, combined with the newly created and unique origin of rotoscoping, the animated images have extremely realistic and interesting actions. The song has won many awards as well as possesses a very high view for its novelty, symbolism! Who could have imagined that animation would appear so beautifully in the music video?

CHRISTINA AGUILERA, LIL’ KIM, PINK, MYA AND LIL KIM — LADY MARMALADE (2001)

Produced by Allen Toussaint, "Lady Marmalade" topped in many charts in the year. In this music video featured 4 singers, a great combination of Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Pink, Mya and Lil Kim, in sexy lingerie, choreographed in the context of the nightclub. 

CHRISTINA AGUILERA, LIL’ KIM, PINK, MYA AND LIL KIM — LADY MARMALADE (2001)
Photo Courtesy: Christina Aguilera/YouTube

Beautifully sophisticated dance, catchy music with a blend of pop, French cabaret, and hip hop, of course, the indispensable vocalists have brought success to this song such as MTV's Awards in 2001 for the Video of the Year or Grammy in 2002,... and has been covered a lot.

2PAC FEAT. DR. DRE – CALIFORNIA LOVE (1995)

"California Love" is a combination of 2Pac and Dr. Dre, the song expresses their affection for the state of California. And this music video is also a unique thing that made the song a success, making it 2Pac's most popular song and it has won many awards. 

2PAC FEAT. DR. DRE – CALIFORNIA LOVE (1995)
Photo Courtesy: UPROXX Video/YouTube

The music video was inspired by the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, with giant jeeps, steampunk armors, shootings,... All were filmed in the hot desert of 2095.

PEARL JAM – JEREMY (1992)

"Jeremy" is a sad song for those who have depression, Pearl Jam was inspired by a 15-year-old boy of the same name who committed suicide in front of teachers and classmates.

PEARL JAM – JEREMY (1992)
Photo Courtesy: Pearl Jam/YouTube

This music video has caused a lot of controversy and criticized a lot of its violence, but he did it based only on the truth. In the MV, a young boy tried to run away from the mockery of his friends at school, screaming around, and everyone froze motionless. With the flickering light, Jeremy's behavior became increasingly agitated, increasing the atmosphere of worry, fear, and loneliness. Finally, he killed himself with a gun, used it to shoot on his mouth, ending his short life...

OUTKAST – B.O.B. (2000)

With a fast-paced hip hop song (up to 155bpm), and "B. O. B." is just one of the iconic that the band made, of the American 2-member rap, Outkast. 

OUTKAST – B.O.B. (2000)
Photo Courtesy: Outkast/YouTube

With a unique personality in music and also a change in the music style of Outkast, this song has a mix of many sounds, instruments from bass, guitar, organs to gospel accord,... With content revolving around the outskirts of girls, cars, Outkast dancing and playing,... but they are saying (maybe) it's just all an illusion!

MICHAEL JACKSON AND JANET JACKSON – SCREAM (1995)

Another work that became the icon of the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson was a collaboration with his younger sister, Janet Jackson, which was very controversial in Jackson's career but it also did so earned success, also highly appreciated, even on the list of Guinness Book World Records for the most expensive music video - $7 million and lots of other awards, no exception, because he is the "King of Pop"! 

MICHAEL JACKSON AND JANET JACKSON – SCREAM (1995)
Photo Courtesy: Michael Jackson/YouTube

"Scream" was filmed on a spaceship and featured primarily as a revenge song, as a rather aggressive punch by Jackson for those who leak rumors falsely wrote about him (of the tabloids), seriously affect his image and honor.

JAMIROQUAI – VIRTUAL INSANITY (1996)

"Virtual Insanity" is a song with a confusing music video, appearing simply as Vamiroquai, and the strange choreography performed in a white room and a gray floor moving but accidentally created stunning effects that attracted viewers. 

JAMIROQUAI – VIRTUAL INSANITY (1996)
Photo Courtesy: Jamiroquai Official/YouTube

This is also the most famous product of Jay Kay's career. Received high praise by fans as well as critics (maybe just for this special music video), this song has achieved a lot of success, namely four Moonmen with the award for the nominated at the 1997 Video Music Awards.

SIA – CHANDELIER (2014)

Have you ever seen Sia in her music videos, including "Chandelier"? The answer is No! Because we have an interesting fact here: Sia has a fear of attention problems! 

SIA – CHANDELIER (2014)
Photo Courtesy: Sia/YouTube

Anyhow, she was also very successful with the song "Chandelier", received positive responses, in which they appreciated Sia's voice and rated it as one of her best song ever released by her compose, and called it a highlight of 1000 Forms of Fear. This music videos simply a young female dancer Maddie Ziegler, dancing on the background of a song in a house, but it requires a lot of technical professionals, not everyone can do it. Perhaps these dances also bring success to the song. That's why all Sia's music videos and that girl are the main character!

NIRVANA – SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT (1991)

"Smell Like Teen Spirit" is a song that bringing grunge rock music closer to the world. With a simple melody and harmony, but the song stayed at number one for weeks on charts around the world in 1991. 

NIRVANA – SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT (1991)
Photo Courtesy: nirvana/YouTube

This video music tool place with a high school concert (and it seems like in this music video it became a rebellion!) the students got together in a crazy, boisterous atmosphere with their friends, until the end video. It looks boring but it's true! It sounds funny, but when the students working on the video, they also admitted being bored after filming for a few hours!

TLC – WATERFALLS (1995)

With a light melodies and deep content, "Waterfalls" has become an international hit song, topped the charts and became a trademark song of TLC. 

TLC – WATERFALLS (1995)
Photo Courtesy: TLC/YouTube

This is an R&B and hip hop soul ballad that deals with the painful issues of the 1990s like the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and the violence associated with the illegal drug trade. Highly praised by critics, carrying many messages with meaningful awakening calls, this song is extremely worthy to become an iconic song of all time.

KENDRICK LAMAR – HUMBLE. (2017)

After its release, "HUMBLE." received positive responses from music critics, in which they appreciated the powerful message, Kendrick Lamar's class performance, and its production, also noted the change in the style of him.

KENDRICK LAMAR – HUMBLE. (2017)
Photo Courtesy: KendrickLamarVEVO/YouTube

The song features scenes of the male rapper in various images and contexts, including wearing vestments as a pope and rushing to the top of a care with the top of his head burning, or recreating the picture Leonardo da Vinci's 15th-century painting The Last Supper. It has reaped unrivaled praise from the experts for its creativity and the message conveyed to viewers.

MARIAH CAREY – HONEY (1999)

"Honey", the song brought a completely different changes of Mariah Carey, 1 Carey in sexy, seductive bikini, different from normal. The song has been praised by music critics, calling it her "authentic" transition. 

MARIAH CAREY – HONEY (1999)
Photo Courtesy: Mariah Carey/YouTube

When the song was released, it was also a difficult time for Carey's failed marriage to her husband, Tommy Mottola. And many people have realized the similarities between this music video and her life. In the video, Carey is taken hostage and locked in a man's mansion, after which she escaped and became free - such as a declaration of her freedom after divorce!

GUNS N’ ROSES – NOVEMBER RAIN (1992)

The music video shows the wedding of Rose and his girlfriend at that time - Stephanie Seymour. The cost of making videos is up to one million dollars, including Stephanie's wedding dress, helicopter rental, and modern equipment,... The scenes were shot in Los Angles, New Mexico (USA). It was all that made "November Rain" one of the most expensive music videos of all time. 

GUNS N’ ROSES – NOVEMBER RAIN (1992)
Photo Courtesy: Guns N' Roses/YouTube

The very narrative nature of the music video has created the magnificence of this ballad song. Alternating with the happiness at the wedding is the stage performances of Guns 'N' Roses. And surprisingly, this video ended with shots of Seymour's funeral, full of mourning and regret, for the viewers.

RIHANNA AND CALVIN HARRIS – WE FOUND LOVE (2011)

This is the first song to mark the collaboration of Rihanna and Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, written and produced by himself. And the highlight of this song is that the MV won both the Grammy Awards for Best Short Form Music Video and the VMA for Video of the Year! 

RIHANNA AND CALVIN HARRIS – WE FOUND LOVE (2011)
Photo Courtesy: Rihanna/YouTube

"We Found Love" is an electro house that talks about a couple's love, and they confess that "We found love in a hopeless place". In this music video, focus describes the love affair between Rihanna and her boyfriend, interspersed with various issues such as addiction, violence, and money,... All inspired by films like Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream to emphasize chaotic inner struggles in love.

QUEEN – BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (1975)

Recognized as the most famous song in Queen's career, it has made it into the list of the best works at all times by many organizations and music publications, including the 166th place on the list of 500 songs the best singles of all time by Rolling Stone. 

QUEEN – BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (1975)
Photo Courtesy: Queen Official/YouTube

Directed by Bruce Gowers, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a fairly new music video when the whole music video is alternating different scenes when they performed on stage, making it more meaningful than a performance clip. And the success of the song has been marked by having over 1 billion views on YouTube.

LUIS FONSI FEAT. DADDY YANKEE – DESPACITO (2017)

Yes! It's the billion-view song "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee, surpassing both Adele or Psy on YouTube, with more than 6,4 billion views, making them became the most successful artists today. And, "Despacito" is one of the best-selling Latin singles in the United States with the music video gaining the most views of all time. 

LUIS FONSI FEAT. DADDY YANKEE – DESPACITO (2017)
Photo Courtesy: Luis Fonsi/YouTube

A bit reggaeton-pop, and with the appearances of Miss Universe 2006, Zuleyka Rivera, also represents the beauty of Latin women. The song is not only mesmerized by its catchy, the melody, but also captivates viewers with its stunningly beautiful scenes in San Juan and the unique Latin Amerian culture.

PRINCE – WHEN DOVES CRY (1984)

"When doves cry", the song ranked 52 out of the 500 best songs of all time by Rolling Stone. This music video was directed and presented by Prince, and has also caused quite a bit of controversy about the sexual nature shown so clearly in this video. 

PRINCE – WHEN DOVES CRY (1984)
Photo Courtesy: Prince/YouTube

Starting with the scene of the dove and Prince lying in the tub, wearing nothing. While this music video was strange, and controversial, of course, it was included in the nomination of MTV's Best Choreography list in 1985.

BJORK – BIG TIME SENSUALITY (1993)

This is a song with many different remixes, but to become an iconic song, attracting the attention of the viewers, is probably a combination of Bjork, Icelandic singer, Fluke, and director Stephane Sednaoui with the context was extremely simple: Bjork was dancing strangely on a truck and running around New York City, with her hair and unpredictable facial expressions. 

BJORK – BIG TIME SENSUALITY (1993)
Photo Courtesy: Björk Bjork/YouTube

With a simple black-and-white music video, but the mix is extremely eye-catching thanks to the combination of Bjork's voice and Fluke's ingenuity, the song has been performed a lot of on MTV, receiving many reviews from critics as well as fans.

DAVID BOWIE – ASHES TO ASHES (1980)

One of the most expensive mv icons in the 1980s and (maybe) up to now is David Bowie's music video, also directed by him along with creativity. The amount of investment was up to 425,000 dollars, the largest amount, but it was well worth the price of such a unique innovation, Ashes to Ashes. 

DAVID BOWIE – ASHES TO ASHES (1980)
Photo Courtesy: David Bowie/YouTube

This song has brought a new breeze in art village, bringing inspiration to many other artists. With many special effects from synth guitar sound strings, to subtle, funk bass,... All created a song that is described as one of Bowie's lifetime songs.