With over 450,000 music videos and live performances now available to stream with Vevo on Telstra TV, we pick 10 of the most classic, creative and celebrated to help get the party started in your living room.
Directed by one of Hollywood’s most influential filmmakers, Martin Scorsese, the Prince of Pop’s second single from the album of the same name was given the royal treatment with the production of an 18-minute short film written by screenwriter Richard Price (of HBO’s ‘The Wire’, ‘The Night Of’ and ‘The Outsider’) and shot by Michael Chapman (‘Ghostbusters II’, ‘Kindergarten Cop’ and ‘The Fugitive’). One of the most expensive of its time, the music video was inspired by the movie ‘West Side Story’ and features an elaborately choreographed dance battle designed to prove to a fellow gang member – played by Wesley Snipes in one of his first roles – that the buckle-clad, moonwalking MJ still has street cred despite cleaning up his act at school.
From one of the most expensive to one of the thriftiest, the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s debut single was reportedly made on a shoestring budget – filmed and edited on borrowed equipment from ‘SNL’ producer Lorne Michaels and starring her own mother, brother, manager and a colourful cast of friends including Dan Aykroyd as Beldar Conehead and WWF manager Lou Albano who played Cyndi’s father. The cameo actually led to a crossover wrestling match on MTV, with Lauper wielding her “Purse of Doom” in the ring. As the feminist anthem for a generation, it’s not surprising that the video was the very first to be awarded MTV’s Video Music Award for Best Female Video at the network’s inaugural VMA ceremony.
Fast-forward 25 years and you might remember a controversy surrounding that very same VMA for Best Female Video. During Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for ‘You Belong with Me’, Kanye West stormed the stage, snatched the microphone and said, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” And look, he’s not wrong. Choreographed by Frank Gatson Jr, who has won the most VMAs of any choreographer for his work with artists like Beyoncé, Salt-n-Pepa and En Vogue, the video’s hugely popular dance routine was inspired by Broadway legend Bob Fosse’s ‘Mexican Breakfast’ dance number performed on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1969. Thankfully, ‘Single Ladies’ went on to win Best Video of the night and all was made right in the world.
And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then parody is taking that appreciation to a whole new hilarious level. Directed by television director Jesse Peretz (‘Girls’, ‘Nurse Jackie’, ‘Orange Is the New Black’), the video is set aboard a jet flight reminiscent of 1970s movies ‘Airplane!’, ‘Airport 1975’ and ‘Airport ’77’. When the drug-smuggling cleaning crew played by Jack Black and Kyle Gass from Tenacious D inadvertently spike the coffee, the entire crew and passengers (almost entirely played by the Foo Fighters themselves in moustaches, wigs and fat suits) end up off their faces, forcing Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel and Taylor Hawkins to land the plane and save the day. A well-deserved winner of the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video.
Directed by Dave Meyers, the prolific director behind iconic pop videos like Missy Elliott’s ‘Work It’, Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’, Katy Perry’s ‘Swish Swish’, Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left to Cry’, Harry Styles’ ‘Adore You’ and many more – ‘So What’ sees Australia’s favourite pop-rockstar flipping her middle finger to the world following a separation from husband Carey Hart. Holding up traffic as she rides down Sunset Boulevard astride a lawnmower, chainsawing down trees carved with love-hearts, streaking on red carpets and having her own hair set alight in the salon, the video offers the perfect mix of defiant individuality and self-deprecation P!nk is loved for.
Known for their creatively elaborate music videos mostly filmed in one take and without any visual effects, alongside Vevo you’re also likely to find OK Go’s artistic music videos playing in renowned galleries like the Guggenheim and New York’s Museum of the Moving Image. Directed by lead singer Damian Kulash’s sister, director and choreographer Trish Sie, the hugely ambitious video for ‘Upside Down & Inside Out’ was shot in zero gravity – achieving the band’s acrobatic spins and flips thanks to a Russian cosmonaut training aircraft flying in a parabolic flight path. If that sounds a bit too technical, check out the behind-the-scenes video, also on Vevo.
Stripping back all the bells and whistles (and buttons) and focusing solely on the emotive movement of young dancer Maddie Ziegler, the uniquely stark video for the debut single of album ‘1000 Forms of Fear’ helped Aussie musician Sia break through to international success. The iconic blonde wig worn by Ziegler in the video was also worn by Sia herself, albeit with a longer fringe to obscure her face from all live performances promoting the single and subsequent releases from the album. Ziegler often accompanied Sia in her live performances – performing a variation on the video’s routine, choreographed by Ryan Heffington. In some, Ziegler was replaced with actors such as Lena Dunham and Kristen Wiig – wearing the same signature blonde bob and flesh-toned leotard. And in the video for the subsequent single, ‘Elastic Heart’, Ziegler is joined in an interpretive dance duet by actor Shia LaBeouf.
Speaking of Aussie hits, the dance move made popular by LMFAO’s 2011 chart topper ‘Party Rock Anthem’ is rumoured to have originated in Melbourne’s 1980s underground rave scene. Filmed on the “New York Street” set of the Warner Bros Studios backlot where countless other movies and music videos have been made (including the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars hit ‘Uptown Funk’ and U2’s ‘Elevation’), the video sees electro-dance duo Redfoo and SkyBlu wake from party rocking induced comas to find the world around them has been overrun by zombies – à la the movie ‘28 Days Later’. Only these are everyday-shuffling zombies, infected by the unstoppable energy and fun-loving vibe of this decade-defining hit.
Premiering during the pandemic – and with a video that was shot shortly before COVID-19 closed down filming in Los Angeles – the latest single from pop superstar Lady Gaga saw the artist take home the award for Song of the Year and Collaboration of the Year (with Ariana Grande) at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. The eleven-time Grammy winner’s latest video combines high-contrast hot pink costumes, impressive visual effects and catchy choreography designed by Gaga’s long-time collaborator Richard Jackson to be easily mimicked and shared online among TikTok users. The song’s uplifting message of focusing on the positive when surrounded by life’s mounting struggles is also incredibly timely.
The most viewed music video of all time, ‘Despacito’ from Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, is currently sitting at 6.9 billion views on YouTube – eclipsing its closest rivals by more than 2 billion views and helping to earn the artist seven Guinness World Records including Most viewed video online, Most liked video online, Most streamed track worldwide and First YouTube video to receive 5 billion views. An official remix of the song performed by Justin Bieber in English and Spanish alongside Fonsi also helped the track reach wider audiences and break the record for most number of weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.
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