Music videos are generally Older Than They Think: it wasn't unusual for popular jazz singers and crooners in The Thirties to film "soundies" - usually extracts from films in which the song was performed - as a means of promoting their new songs. Famous ones include a video of Ella Fitzgerald performing "A-Tisket A-Tasket" on a bus in 1938 (an extract from the film Ride 'Em Cowboy).
There was even a video jukebox developed in the early 1940s for such short films. Scopitone was another video juke box from the mid-1960s, playing videos from popular artists of the time.
Many musical films and comedies from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s have musical segments that showcased popular tunes of the day.
The film Blackboard Jungle (1955) became a huge success when Bill Haley and his Comets' hit "Rock Around The Clock" was used as the opening theme. Teenagers just went to the film theaters to listen to this hit blasting out of the stereos at top volume.
Elvis Presley's films, especially Jailhouse Rock, had the same effect.
In the mid 1960s The Beatles didn't tour that much anymore, so they started filming promotion videos for their new hit singles instead.
Bob Dylan's iconic videonote There is currently no full proper, non-commentary based version of the video on Youtube for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" from Bringing It All Back Home was filmed in 1965, originally for Dont Look Back (the documentary about his 1965 UK tour—the missing apostrophe in the title is correct). It too is one of the earliest non-diagetic videos.
The Monkees: We actually owe A LOT to the "Prefab Four" for innovating and popularizing the music video genre. The Monkees' "music videos" or, "romps" that regularly aired on their TV show (1966-1968) was an early (and very successful) attempt to market music on TV in order to sell records. This new method put the Monkees on the top of the charts, and on the walls of every teenage Fangirl in America. How high on top? The Monkees had four #1 albums in the year 1967, and sold 35 million records in that year alone, beating out The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined!
And it doesn’t end there! Former Monkees member Michael Nesmith had created and produced music videos since the 1970’s, even winning the first ever Video Grammy Award for his PBS television special Elephant Parts. Nesmith, along with longtime partner William Dear, created the first music video program, PopClips, which aired on Nickelodeon from 1979-1981. As the series gained popularity, Executive Meddling soon took over, and warped Nesmith’s concept into what is now known as MTV and MTV Networks.
The fantasy (probably) scene in the surreal film Performance where Mick Jagger's character Turner, taking on the persona of a London Gangster, sings the song "Memo From Turner" to a group of gangsters. An influence on every Concept Video since, and used at the time as a video isolated from the rest of the film.
The Swedish pop group ABBA made videos of their singles starting with their first international hit "Waterloo". This was because they were unable for various reasons to travel to far off countries and sent film clips instead to promote a song. Most of their videos were made by future feature film director Lasse Hallstrom (My Life As A Dog, Chocolat).
The music video for Roger Glover's song "Love is All" (1975) also became famous thanks to the animation short film in which a guitar playing frog gathers all the animals in the forest to come to the Butterfly's Ball.
Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody" from A Night At The Opera — which experimented with innovative visual effects in the mid-1970s, was done mainly because of the fact that the song was so utterly complex musically (complete with a bridge section that, when the song is played live, is always played as a pre-recorded sequence via the stage's sound system due to its complexity making it impossible to replicate live) that Queen decided that it would be easier to just send the video for the song for play on TV to promote the song.
Nine-part harmonies. That is all.
The Buggles, "Video Killed The Radio Star" — First video ever aired on MTV.
...Though the video itself is from 1979. By the time the video made it on MTV, the members had pretty much joined Yes.
Country Music: There are conflicting published reports about when the first "official" video of a country music song was produced and released. Those making the claim:
"Galveston," a No. 1 country and No. 3 pop hit in 1969 by Glen Campbell. The original video has been uploaded to YouTube.
Buck Owens' 1969 No. 1 country hit "Tall, Dark Stranger." Video stills from the song, plus at least three others, were included in the liner notes to Owens' three-CD box set, issued by Rhino Records in 1991. Both "Tall Dark Stranger" and "Big In Vegas," which topped out at No. 5 in early January 1970, have been uploaded to various video sharing sites and also have aired on Hee Haw and the GAC family of networks.
Starting that same year, various songs on the television series Hee Haw, with producer Sam Louvillo making the claim. However, these were not true music videos as they are known today, but rather compiled using filmed stock footage of rural settings and/or sped-up stop-action films of people dancing and/or acting goofy, and were used more for comedy than serious promotion of the song it was played under. When several prominent country singers began complaining that their songs were not being treated seriously (i.e., an instrument for comedy), the idea was later shelved. (Unlike Owens' "Big In Vegas," which played the concept straight and was, in fact, very influential in setting the style of serious country music videos that have been seen since.)
Don Williams' 1973 single "The Shelter of Your Eyes," per country music historian Bill Malone, noting that it was a promotional tool used by JMI Records (later absorbed into what is today the Universal Music Group).
In addition, other country music videos from the 1970s that have been seen on YouTube and other video-sharing services include – among others – Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" (1975); "One Piece at a Time" by Johnny Cash, "Let Your Love Flow" by the Bellamy Brothers, and Olivia Newton-John's "Don't Stop Believin'" (1976); "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers and "You Needed Me" by Anne Murray (both 1978); and "Half the Way" by Crystal Gayle (1979).
Before crossing over full-time to country music, Kenny Rogers filmed several videos with his group, the First Edition. These included his breakthrough hit, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," from 1968. Additionally, the war protest song "Tell It All Brother," from 1970, has a video. Rogers went on to make numerous videos in the 1980s.
Aerosmith, "Janies Got a Gun". It's uncompromising depiction of a father sexually abusing his daughter and her subsequent violent revenge got it banned from MTV for a while. The stark imagery and direction still pack a punch even today.
A-ha, "Take on Me". A blend of rotoscoped animation done in a sketch-style, line drawing and live action, telling the story of a Fantastic Romance between a Girl Next Door (played by Morten Harket's then-girlfriend, actress Bunty Bailey) and a handsome Badass Biker (Harket himself). It endsbadly in the video for "The Sun Always Shines On TV", though.
Toni Basil, "Mickey". Set a new standard in music video choreography, no wonder since Basil was a famous choreographer for films since the 1960's.
The Cars, "You Might Think" — Possibly the most famous Green Screen video, fondly remembered for all the video mutations of Ric Ocasek, most notably turning him into a fly.
David Bowie has many good videos, but these deserve special mention:
"China Girl" (1983) from Let's Dance: The ending (a From Here to Eternity homage) was so steamy it was censored. Winner of the Best Male Video award at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 — a mighty feat in that one of the other nominees was "Thriller".
The first successful country music video airing on MTV was Eddie Rabbitt's 1981 hit "Step by Step." Two successful cross-genre videos from the early 1980s were by Ronnie Milsap: "Any Day Now" (1982) and "Stranger In My House" (1983).
Dire Straits, "Money for Nothing" from Brothers in Arms — Had the same distinction in the UK as well as being an early experiment in computer animation.
Also notable was their video for "Wild Boys", which lead singer Simon Le Bon nearly drowned while filming. (Remember the bit where he's strapped to a windmill blade? At one point the wheel stopped turning while his head was underwater.)
Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" from So, which received massive kudos for its combination of claymation and live actors. Sledgehammer in particular was at one time the most-played video in MTV history. Probably still holds the record for most Video Music Awards.
It still does... for now.. The closest any artist has come is aha, for "Take on Me", and Lady Gaga for "Bad Romance".
"I Can't Dance", a hilarious video for a catchy as hell song, with the ridiculously memetic "Genesis Walk".
Godley & Creme, "Cry" — Four minutes of analog cross-fading (a precursor to morphing) between dozens of faces representing different ages, sexes, and races, including Godley & Creme themselves. Ends with separate shots of Godley, Creme, and Trevor Horn (of The Buggles fame), with a final fade to the face first seen in the video.
Hall & Oates, "Private Eyes". Who could forget the detective gear? C'mon... it was parodied awesomely in a commercial for Psych!
Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" from Head Hunters, which is... robots. Lots and lots of disturbing, dismembered robots. This came about because, according to rumor, MTV was apprehensive about putting music videos by black artists on the airwaves. Putting aside the Unfortunate Implications, the video is still considered incredibly innovative and cool, and was unique in that it actually edited the video to match the scratching of the song and employed a few editing tricks not seen in videos before.
INXS generally made some good music videos, but the most "noteworthy" one was "Need You Tonight/Mediate," which won several MTV Video Awards in 1988 and combined various forms of animation and live-action, as well as an homage to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
The Jackson Five: "Can You Feel It" featured the band as some sort of godlike beings spreading happiness and peace over the world. Back then the video had an enormous impact on audiences, because of the impressive computer effects for the time and grand epicness of it all. It would be the forebearer to Michael Jackson's equally epic music videos later.
Janet Jackson has made several notable music videos, the best arguably being 30 minute long "Rhythm Nation 1814". Originally released as a kind of telemusical, featuring several other songs from the album of the same name, Including "Miss You Much" and "The Knowledge" ending in the military themed "Rhythm Nation". Big brother Michael admitted it was his favourite of all of her videos.
Michael Jackson made some of the most memorable videoclips ever made. In order:
"Billie Jean" from Thriller, famous for making Michael Jackson a mega superstar what with its illuminating sidewalk dance sequences. Michael's performances during the Motown 25 TV Special popularized the "Moonwalk" dance and earned him an Emmy nomination.
"Beat It", from the same album, in which Michael prevents two gangs from fighting by leading them in a line dance. It was the first video by Michael (or any black artist) to gain massive airplay on MTV and was Michael's first hard rock song. Additionally, it gets credit for pioneering the line dance and turf wars as tropes of the music video.
"Thriller", from -again- the same album, who pioneered the Videoclip With Big Budget genre and one of the first that used a short film scheme. And that choreography!
His Moonwalker movie/music video also counts, though most people only remember the 1920s period piece music video "Smooth Criminal" and the stop-motion animation video "Leave Me Alone", which were segments of the movie (released direct to video due to Jackson not being able to find a studio to distribute the movie theatrically in the US) released as music videos.
"Black or White", from Dangerous who used morphing techniques in a very fluid style (though its use was largely a rip-off of Godley & Creme's "Cry").
The video had a controversial ending; after the song ends, Michael Jackson goes on a rampage on a nearby street, grabbing his crotch as he picks up a crowbar and destroys a car before morphing into a panther. While the "rampage" ending was immediately cut from all future TV airings of the video, for its VHS/DVD releases, hate group symbols were inserted via computer graphics onto the car in order to justify why Jackson would destroy a car with a crowbar.
"Scream", performed alongside sister Janet, still holds the record for the most expensive music video ever filmed: seven million dollars back in 1995!
"They Don't Care About Us", which drew controversy over its supposedly antisemitic lyrics, has two equally stunning videos directed by Spike Lee. One was in black and white, staged in a prison; the other was full of color, filmed in front of a Brazilian favela.
"Ghosts" is nearly 40 minutes and currently holds the record for the longest music video ever made.
"You Rock My World": Features MJ, Chris Tucker, Marlon Brando, with a catchy song and arguably the best stomp performance in a music video. Ever.
Journey's "Faithfully", the first video featuring "behind the scenes" tour footage set to a power ballad. Now it's rather obligatory for a band to have one of these.
We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel, contrasting scenes of life in each respective time period with a list of events happening at the time, running from the 1950s through to the 1980s.
Madonna, through her force of nature personality and chameleon-type adaptation powers, has produced many notable music videos:
"Material Girl" from Like A Virgin, with her Homage to Marilyn Monroe's number "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", permanently labeled Madonna the "Material Girl", though many critics and fans utterly missed the point of the video, which had Madonna dating a poor guy and denouncing materialism.
"Like A Prayer" from Like a Prayer, with Madonna making out with Black Jesus, burning crosses, and stigmata wounds created a stir and cost her a lucrative Pepsi sponsorship deal, though the controversy helped make the video a worldwide hit.
The various David Fincher-directed Madonna videos, most notably "Express Yourself" and "Vogue", which is widely considered Madonna's most popular music video in various "Best Music Videos Ever" MTV music video countdowns.
"Erotica" and "Justify My Love" , both were banned by MTV due to their sexual content (with Erotica featuring Madonna in S&M gear and other footage from the making of her "Sex" book).
The controversy over MTV's ban led to 20/20 covering "Erotica" and ending the show with the video's American broadcast debut. To avoid this with The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up," it was shown just once, late at night.
Her video for "Die Another Day", the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name is second only to "Scream" for the most expensive music video of all time.
Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" was most famous for the line of identical supermodels performing as Palmer's band behind him.
It would be subsequently parodied by everyone from rapper Tone-Loc ("Wild Thing") to Shania Twain ("Man, I Feel Like a Woman").
Queen's "I Want to Break Free" featured the band dressed in drag in a parody of the British Soap "Coronation Street". While reaching number three in the UK charts, the video is thought to have contributed to the songs poor performance in the US, and a subsequent decline in popularity of the band. The video was initially banned on MTV in the US.
The Replacements' "Bastards of Young" just showed a stereo playing the song.note Paul Westerberg hated videos.
Several of Van Halen's videos became quite iconic. "Hot for Teacher" and "Jump" both became classic 80's rock videos. "Right Now" was also quite famous for its Anvilicious messages, although the song arguably gained more notoriety for its use in Crystal Pepsi commercials.
Whitesnake's "Tawny Kitaen" videos, most notably "Here I Go Again". Because, honestly. Tawny Kitaen on that car... Pretty much single-handedly invented the Hood Ornament Hottie.
"Weird Al" Yankovic created a number of iconic music videos that became so mostly by parodying other iconic videos, often reusing sets and actors:
"White & Nerdy" rocketed to the top of the charts, was packed with Troperiffic sight gags, and was affectionately promoted by "Ridin' Dirty" singer Chamillionaire, who proclaimed Yankovic "a real rapper".
"Amish Paradise", another rap parody based on "Gangsta's Paradise", was less well received by Coolio when people started to associate the lyrics to the song with the parody version. The video also featured backwards cinematography.
"Eat It" received a massive amount of airplay at the same time that Jackson's "Beat It" video was also being played.
"Fat," another direct parody of Jackson's song and video, and was especially notable for the makeup that turned Yankovic into a fat, white version of Jackson.
"Smells Like Nirvana" probably didn't hurt Nirvana's position as the new voice of the alternative music scene. The video parodied the band's iconic video and reused the janitor character, this time putting him in a tutu.
"Headline News", a hysterical parody of the Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Admittedly, it doesn't age as well as most of his videos, due to it being necessary for the viewer to have been around for the Singapore caning, Tonya Harding, and John Bobbitt incidents for it to make sense.
Yes turned their video for "Leave It" (1983) into an elaborate Running Gag, shooting 17 different versions of the five of them standing side by side in dark suits, singing the song, with some unique variation in each (e.g. all facing backward, one of them with a different color of tie, one not singing, etc). Wondering what they'd do in the next version to premiere on MTV became something of a Couch Gag.
Any ZZ Top video from their Eliminator era featuring the hot rod of the same name, especially those which include Three Hot Babes who rescue some sad sack from his or her ordinary life: "Give Me All Your Loving", "Sharp Dressed Man", "Legs" and others.
Aerosmith's trilogy from Get a Grip, "Crazy" (Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone as femme fatales), "Amazing" (virtual reality, with Alicia Silverstone) and "Cryin'"(Alicia Silverstone getting a heartbreak, won a few VMAs... and features Sawyer from LOST!).
MC Hammer's music video for "Can't Touch This" became far more popular than the single. Hammer's huge baggy pants and iconic way of dancing are still spoofed to this day.
Nirvana — "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Nevermind. If one single event in pop culture can be said to have launched the mainstreaming of everything "alternative" in The Nineties, it is this video.
"Heart-Shaped Box" from In Utero. The video for the single was almost as memorable and controversial as the song, with lots of What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? imagery of fetuses, crucifixion, a field of poppies, and a child in Ku Klux Klan getup which darkens into a witch's hat after landing in a pool of blood.
The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" from The Fat Of The Land was banned from almost every television channel for its graphic video, which was filmed in first person perspective and featured a long night of drunken revelry by the POV. Ironically, the video, with its Tomato Surprise ending, was created to counteract accusations of sexism against the band due to the song's lyrics. MTV even tapped Madonna to give the video her blessing on camera (though considering they were signed to her Maverick record label, she might not have been the most impartial person to ask.)
"Down In It" involves front man Trent Reznor leaping off a building, and his decayed body. Police found footage and thought it was a Snuff Film.
"Sin" involves bondage gear and gratuitous gonad-piercing.
The highly sought-after, unreleased Broken Movie, which incorporates rather disturbing music videos for the songs "Pinion", "Wish", "Help Me I Am In Hell", "Happiness in Slavery" and "Gave Up", integrated into a disturbingly realistic torture-snuff-film.
"Closer" is creepy as all hell, with sexual and religious imagery all over the shop, and brought the Moral Guardians running faster than Madonna ever did.
Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker" - both directed by Chris Cunningham - were infamous for their freakish imagery, including schoolgirls and strippers that all have Aphex Twin's head, and a giant screaming naked freak. Also, in "Windowlicker" alone, there are reportedly 127 uses of profanity (as a parody of gangsta-rap culture).
Squarepusher had a very notable music video for "Come On My Selector", which talks about the escape of a young girl from a mental hospital. The video's actions are synchronized with the music, and it's also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Warped" — Whips, Chains, Sex, Drugs, homoeroticism, and something vaguely resembling rock and roll (that and it's really creepy)
Also, "Give It Away" (silver-painted people doing crazy things in the desert), "Californication" (Chili Peppers video game!) and "Dani California" (Chili Peppers as The Beatles, funk musicians, glam rockers, Nirvana...).
Weezer's "Buddy Holly" seamlessly integrates the band into vintage footage from Happy Days.
Their "Keep Fishin'" video casts them as guests on The Muppet Show with Animal on drums while Miss Piggy chases Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson around in order to make out with him.
Coffee and TV by Blur features dancing milk that seeks out one of the members of the band who ran away from his family, overcoming many dangers and meeting a female carton of milk, who gets squashed. When he finds the band member, he takes him home and then drinks him. Then he goes to heaven along with the female milk. Yes, really.
The video became Hilarious in Hindsight a few years later when guitarist Graham Coxon, the band member who appears as the main human character (as well as the member who wrote and sang the song), quit the band. This was his last video with the band before he left. Ergo, he was now "missing" from the band.
Devo's "Beautiful World", notable for the fact that the band wrote the song around an idea for a music video they got and being a textbook example of Soundtrack Dissonance.
Also their early music video's for Mongoloid (True Art Is Incomprehensible) and Jocko Homo (just plain terrifying). Almost all of their videos were directed for the band.
George Michael's controversial 2D-TV animation video for "Shoot The Dog", featuring Tony Blair as George Bush's poodle, drew much controversy within the UK and is said to have resulted in George Michaels being blacklisted in America.
Don't forget "Freedom '90", which featured the hottest supermodels of the early 90's (Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington...).
The Pharcyde's music video for Drop, directed by Spike Jonze, in which the band performs the song backwards and then the video is played backwards, making everything look slightly off. Also features cameos from Mike D and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys
Most of Blink182's videos are fun incarnatenote and the only ones that aren't are their more serious songs. You have "What's My Age Again" where they run around town naked, "All The Small Things" which is wildly immature parody of Boy Band videos of the time, "First Date" set in the 70s and establishing Tom's popular alter-ego Boomer, and "Rock Show" where they pretty much just filmed themselves driving around LA and giving people money that was supposed to be the video's budget.
REM's "Losing My Religion" features various arty religious imagery. "Imitation of Life" is shot entirely in Pan and Scan.
Eminem ones usually feature Slim Shady mocking various people by dressing like them.
His video for ''White America'' was a particularly interesting use of highly stylized animation.
The Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight", which was a remake of Georges Méliès's silent film A Trip to the Moon. Billy Corgan remarked that he never saw people react the way they did to the video. 'Thirty-Three' was also shot entirely using still photographs, giving the resulting video a stuttery time-lapse quality that makes it quite memorable.
Anything by Björk. When she's not a lesbian robot, she's turning an audience into plants, blowing up a museum, or squirting mucus out of her nose and eating it.
OK Go's videos for "A Million Ways" and "Here It Goes Again" were recorded with ultra-low budgets and released directly onto the internet, where they quickly became two of the most viewed music videos ever.
The footage that became the video for "A Million Ways" wasn't intended to be viewed by the public. They were simply taping themselves in Damian Kulash's backyard (which explains why they look so disheveled, especially Dan). But they sent the footage to friends who sent the footage to other friends... and the rest is history.
Then there's the one-take 99-cent-store acid trip extravaganza, "WTF?"
There's also "End Love", shot in one take over a period of 22 hours. Look closely and you'll see the band being adopted by a stubborn goose.
The boys are back with another epic one-take video and this time they brought a bunch of waggly-tailed pooches (and one goat) for "White Knuckles". It's possibly also the first music video shot in 3D, but the only way to view it as such is on the Nintendo 3DS.
And Last Leaf. It's a stop motion video where the content of the music video has been shaped onto thousands of pieces of bread.
There's their video for Needing/Getting, which is an incredible spectacle where the band drives a car through a path with hundreds of musical instruments, including pianos, guitars, and garbage cans, while a stick hits a note on each instrument. And the band sings to it at the same time.
Pearl Jam's got a pair of really horrific videos. "Jeremy", where the title character ends up blowing his head off in front of his classmates on an Angst attack, is just a classic, made even more infamous due to the longrunning misconception that Jeremy shoots his classmates instead of shooting himself, a notion caused by the crazy editing done for the video's ending in order to comply with MTV's demand that they couldn't show Jeremy put the gun in his mouth and fire). After Jeremy, the band refused to do any additional music videos until "Do the Evolution". An animated music video directed by Todd McFarland and Kevin Altieri... not that that's a sign of quality by itself, featured more of the same images as far as showcasing humanity's inhumanity in video form.
"Pure Morning" by Placebo; a four-plus minute video and song that covers about ten seconds 'real-time'. With about five of them happening in a single shot toward the end.
Predating the Placebo example is the video for "Velouria" by The Pixies. It was a quickly-shot video of the band running on rocks, slowed down to song length in a failed attempt to get around a restriction that only singles with videos can be performed on the BBC show Top of the Pops.
The music video to Metallica's One was the bands' first ever music video, after spending years proclaiming that they would never make a music video. Its horrific nature, with its amputation/war horror visuals and remix nature (as the band took the movie version of Johnny Got His Gun and mashed up the song with clips from the movie to create a 10 minute "mini-movie" version of the film as the song's video), made it an instant classic. And while their second video "Enter Sandman" became an even bigger hit, for many fans of Metallica will contend that they haven't made a good video since "One", as well as opine that "One" was the moment in which the band jumped the shark via embracing the mainstream that they spent their early career avoiding like the plague.
Not to mention that Metallica actually bought the rights to the entire movie Johnny Got His Gun in order to avoid any accusations of copyright infringement.
The video also spawned a massive case of Follow the Leader in the metal community. At least 1 in 3 music videos now have the band in a monochrome, abandoned warehouse.
Also of Metallica note, the music video to their cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" grew controversy for its sexual content, which included gratuitous female nudity and a rape scene involving a hooker and a John. (Is it any surprise that it was directed by the same guy who did "Smack My Bitch Up"?)
From another metal band Megadeth was the awesome music video "Hangar 18" with their mascot Vic The Rattlehead, working for an Area 51 type secret hangar prisoning aliens, all while Megadeth rock out in the background.
One of their video "A Toute Le Monde" was banned from MTV due to being seen as "Pro-suicide" which it wasn't; they later made the 2007 version with Cristina Scabbia.
Their video for "No Surprises", where Thom held his breath for a ridiculous amount of time, even with the speed up.
Their video for "House of Cards", which wasn't even filmed with cameras!
What? No one's mentioned "Paranoid Android" yet? MTV thought it necessary to censor the nipples on the mermaids, but a man cutting off his limbs is alright.
Hey, don't forget "Fake Plastic Trees" either. The supermarket setting with all those fanciful characters isn't exactly easy to forget.
Foo Fighters have some amusing and interesting concepts, including the popular "Learn To Fly" video which consists of three Foo Fighters playing almost every character in the video. Dave Grohl plays a teenage girl who recognizes Dave Grohl himself and asks him for his autograph and also plays a gay steward who gives the eyes to - you guessed it - Dave Grohl, the pilot.
There's also "Long Road to Ruin" where the band members (plus RashidaJones) play actors on a soap opera. It's quite funny.
The music video for "Big Me" is a 4-minute parody of Mentos commericals, which involves huge grins, the band moving a car, and Dave with pony tails and wearing a dress.
The surrealistic "Everlong" video which takes place partially in dreams, but not All Just a Dream as such. It involves giant phones, band members discarding false skins to reveal their true identities, and Dave Grohl (in-character) gaining a massive right hand with which to administer bitch slaps of death.
They also have some awesome non-comedic videos, including "The Pretender", "Walking After You" and "Monkey Wrench."
Although, "Monkey Wrench" does have some distinctly absurdist elements to it (ie. multiple versions of the band, trying to break in/escaping from themselves)'
You can add "Walk" to this list now. It involves an homage to Falling Down with Dave Grohl walking to rehearsal and... getting into mischief.
Black Metal band Immortal's music video "Call of the Wintermoon" is well known for being one of the most unintentionally hilarious things in human history.
While it's possibly one of the worst videos in history, it is without a doubt the best video ever filmed with 3 hours and $50 to do it in. Though one wonders what led to the witch hat...
Their video for Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms too, with many a message board containing members using close-ups of Abbath's face as avatars.
While in the subject of Daft Punk, there's also "Around the World", featuring robots, skeletons, swimmers and other assorted things imitating the song's musical pattern.
Guns N' Roses had the Concept Videos for "Estranged" and "November Rain", as well as "You Could Be Mine", which featured the Terminator!note The song was on the soundtrack for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. At the end, the Terminator confronts the band after their performance, and rules Axl to be a "waste of ammo."
Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice", featuring Christopher Walken, has been called the best music video ever made by several people who spend their time thinking about these things.
Creepy "Schism" and its heavily Hellraiser-inspired disturbing visual imagery.
Tori Amos' "A Sorta Fairytale", where a leg lady (Tori Amos) and an arm man (Adrien Brody) fall in love, and eventually turn into full human beings. Also, "Caught a Lite Sneeze", which is more surreal than all of Bjork's music videos combined.
Limp Bizkit has "Break Stuff," wherein the band members attempt to play each other's instruments and a plethora of random people and celebrities show up and mime the lyrics, all intercut with skaters doing tricks around the skate park the video happens in. Also notable for causing Rage Against the Machine's bassist to climb the set of the VM As when his band's "Sleep Now in the Fire" video lost the award for Best Rock Video to this one.
Britney Spears made some iconic music videos in the early 00's and late 90's, from Baby One More Time's belly button bearing high school uniform, dancing with Madonna, killing her boyfriend in Toxic, dancing in space, and Slave 4 U was very outragous in it's day.
Johnny Cash's cover of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt". Cash's heart-breaking epilogue and summary of his entire life, all done in under four minutes.
Also "The Hardest Button to Button", in which Jack and Meg go around town in a faux-stop-motion manner, popping up a few inches down their way with every beat of the drum (Meg even leaves a trail of drumkits). The video is even parodied in a short sequence in The Simpsons episode "Jazzy and the Pussycats", where they guest-starred chasing Bart through Spingfield in the same fashion (with the song playing on the background, even).
Coldplay's "The Scientist", in which Chris Martin sings the song as he's walking backwards... Until we realize that the video itself is playing backwards, and Chris is taking a stroll after suffering a car crash in which he was launched out the windshield.
Waka Waka (This Time For Africa), Shakira's 2010FIFA World Cup Anthem is the fourth most viewed YouTube music video ever, incorporating African dance, lyrics and instruments. Including the vuvuzela.
PSY's "Gangnam Style" is a huge hit both in Korea and easily the biggest Korean song to hit the west. It is the most viewed video on YouTube ever.
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You", the final release by country-pop legend Glen Campbell — a simultaneously touching and heart-rending account of his battle with Alzheimer's disease, combined with clips and stills from his half-century in music.
Fujiya & Miyagi's "Ankle Injuries". It does for dice what The White Stripes did for Lego bricks.
Their video for "The Hardest Button To Button" featured them in stop-motion style animation moving frame by frame with their instruments throughout the city.
Sketch-comedy group LoadingReadyRun created its very own fake-white-80's-rap band for the sole purpose of making parody videos — mostly about gaming. This includes The LoadingReadyRap and 1337.
The video for Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" has become rather infamous for its complete craziness. It's official; Lady Gaga proved to be more WTF-inducing than Björk.
Telephone managed to up the crazy by being nine minutes long with a bare crotch shot and an extreme sandwich murder montage.
Justice has "D.A.N.C.E." which plays around with various t-shirt design tropes, and "DVNO" which uses various broadcasting logo styles (mostly from The Eighties) to animate the songs lyrics. DVNO could probably fill a large trope page simply based on the references it makes.
How can one forget "Chocolate Rain"?** I move away from the mic to breathe in
The video for "No Rain" by Blind Melon, featuring the "Bee Girl" character. Pretty emblematic of The Nineties.
Animelo concerts and the released videos of same. Combines many anison artists performing vocal music related to Anime.
"Handlebars" by Flobots. A brilliant and highly disturbing animated video that shows just how horribly far apart two people can grow.
The Lightning Seeds' video for their cover of "You Showed Me", a song originally recorded by The Turtles. The video for the cover is an incredibly depressing time-lapse window into the life of a Japanese couple, from sweet youthful romance to bitter old couple with withered hearts.
Fall Out Boy's A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me was a potential precursor to the Youngblood Chronicles, essentially being '80s VAMPIRE MOVIE: THE MUSIC VIDEO but different in that it was more long form (6:38 minutes of video compared to 2:50 minutes of song). Mentions of a 20 minute version of the music video were made around the time of its release, but nothing has come of it since.
"Madder Red" by Yeasayer. Embodying the sentimental aspects of the song itself, the video is one heck of a Tear Jerker that depicts Kristen Bell as the owner of an Ugly CuteEldritch Abomination, who comes down with a bad illness that leaves it spewing blood and later dying. When she discovers this, her heart is practically crushed, but as she walks out of the hospital to bury it, she sees the "pet" in the clouds, resting peacefully, implying that it went to Heaven safely.