Music videos

Do you remember those iconic music videos?


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It’s hard to imagine how revolutionary MTV was when it launched on August 1, 1981.

Forty years before we could bring on-demand music videos, MTV was the destination for the newest, coolest, and best music on TV.

The principle was simple: to be the television version of the radio. At first, the network broadcast music videos 24 hours a day, animated by video jockeys (VJ). What was the first clip to air on MTV? The Buggles’ “Video Killed” Radio Star.

Of course, the channel has evolved over the decades, both in the genres of music videos it promoted (from early rock to pop and hip-hop) and in the programming it offered ( who can forget “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “The real world”?)

As MTV turns 40, we take a look back at the iconic music videos we remember watching on the Radical Network.

Michael Jackson, ‘Billie Jean’

MTV was still in its infancy when this single from Jackson’s “Thriller” came out in 1983 and helped define the cable network, which had quickly gained traction as a revolutionary new form of television that I constantly watched. Featuring a trench coat-clad paparazzo stalking Jackson as he dances to a hotel, the choreographed video was one of the first by a black artist to win a strong spin on MTV, and has was followed by the more cinematic video of the album’s title song. – Gary Levin

Duran Duran, ‘Rio’

They were the poster boys of MTV. But being suave and dashing weren’t enough, as they had to display their composure by flying to Antigua and pretending to sing without falling off a yacht. Who cared if no one understood what the lyrics meant when everything looked so good? – Melissa Ruggieri

Frida, ‘I know something is going on’

I was 13 when MTV launched, but unfortunately my house didn’t have cable TV. Eventually my best friend’s family did. I went to her house and we turned on MTV. Frida, with her haunting voice and feathered hair, languidly walking through the video, appeared on the screen. It made an impression. It was, after all, the first clip I saw. ALREADY. While it might not have been iconic, it made an impression. When it comes to being introduced to a whole new visual medium, you always remember your first one. – Marie cadden

Duran Duran, “A View to Kill”

“Come in, sit down and shut up,” my best friend from college ordered when I showed up seconds before the world premiere, the first of countless times we’ve watched the video for that theme song from James Bond. Of course, Simon Le Bond, uh, Bon’s explosive Walkman hasn’t aged well, nor has John Taylor’s tousled sexy mullet. But it’s always a hoot and a half to see Andy Taylor happily out of Nick Rhodes (who has never looked so good) with a killer accordion button. – Kim willis

Radiohead, “Paranoid Android”

I was an insomniac teenager and would stay awake until dawn on MTV. Deep in the night they were letting weird stuff tear apart, and in a particularly heavy spin was this hypnotically weird animated video. When I finally heard this song performed live, Thom Yorke’s theremin voice shot through my psyche like a laser, even then I couldn’t get the image of a nearly naked cartoon man cutting his limbs off. with an ax from my head. . – Barbara vandenburgh

Missy Elliott, ‘Get Ur Freak On’

I was the youngest kid in a house full of teenagers, so MTV was always the background noise to accompany sibling bickering. However, Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” music video would calm the chaos and grab everyone’s attention. The sitar pings were like a warning for a video that was compelling every time MTV aired it. Even today, I remember how much the saliva made my stomach turn, but I could never look away. – Elise brisco

Britney Spears, ‘Toxic’

I loved MTV’s Making the Video (I guess I loved feeling like I was about music even as a teenager) and Britney’s ‘Toxic’ is the most memorable series for me. At a whopping $ 1 million price tag, the video’s femme fatale aesthetic, cutting edge choreography, and thrilling sound pretty much blew me away. – Jennifer mcclellan

Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me a River”

I watched “Total Request Live” every day after school, so Britney, Christina and Justin all come to mind when I talk about iconic music videos. But it’s JT’s “River” from his first solo album that I remember most clearly, probably because of all the drama surrounding his breakup with Britney Spears. Did the actress look like Spears? Was there cheating? BREATH! I also had a huge crush on Timberlake. Do again. So that explains it. – Amy haneline

Rihanna, “Shut up and drive”

Has anyone ever looked prettier in a music video? Rihanna is the epitome of cool in this clip filled with drag racing-themed innuendo for her 2007 single “Good Girl Gone Bad”. This steamy video briefly convinced my 15-year-old self that I loved cars and that I still want his iconic green pants. – Patrick ryan


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