Videos have been promoting artists and their songs for decades. They are advertising media that are available on demand (in our youtube age), are sometimes produced at great expense and have long since asserted themselves as an art form in their own right. Sometimes the music video is even better known than the song itself. There are impressive record holders, and then there are the pure provocations that are impossible to forget. Here are ten music videos, each with its own story… Enjoy reading & watching!
1. Most expensive music video ever: Michael and Janet Jackson on “Scream”
A master of staging was the King of Pop: Michael Jackson. An absolute perfectionist who left nothing to chance. And so it is no wonder that his video for “Scream” was the most expensive clip of all time. The video clip, in which he moves with his sister Janet through futuristic worlds in a spaceship setting, cost a whopping 7 million US dollars. The video is 4:46 minutes long. Each video second cost 24,475.52 dollars and there were not even a few cents left over for colour. ? With this video production, Michael is in the Guinness Book of Records.
2. But not entirely without Bond: Madonna on “Die Another Day”
Madonna follows directly with her music video for “Die Another Day”. With production costs of 6.1 million US dollars, the clip was a real budget-eating video house number. The title itself was the most successful Bond song after Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill”; Madonna had co-written it. What was curious was the critics’ ambivalent reaction. “Die Another Day” was nominated for Best Song for the Golden Globe and Worst Song for the Golden Raspberry at the same time. No words. In the video clip, Madonna actually didn’t want to appear with James Bond any more. See for yourself whether she succeeded:
3. Robbie Williams in “Rock DJ” satanically naked to the bone
In the millennium year 2000, Robbie Williams stripped bare. In the music video for “Rock DJ” he served up a striptease in which he stripped himself not only to the skin, but right down to the bone. Literally. He stripped down so consistently that he was nothing but a singing and dancing skeleton. A scandal easily boosts sales. After all, Robbie had managed to get the video censored throughout Europe. But that wasn’t all, he also had a bad time in the Dominican Republic, where his extreme striptease was considered Satanism. Other countries, other points of view.
4. Pure Horror in America: Madonna’s Music Video for “Like A Prayer
And Madonna again: With “Like A Prayer” Madonna served the world a video shock that was hard to digest. Blasphemous scenes, crosses were burning while she was making out with the black Jesus. Christian America completely misunderstood the basic message of the song and didn’t flinch for long. The video – and with it the song – was boycotted and immediately cancelled. In this country, the video was only played at night – if at all – on MTV for reasons of “youth protection”.
5. Falco with music video for “Jeanny” – scandalous stalker song
In 1985, none other than Falco caused one of the biggest scandals in the German-language music scene in particular. In his song “Jeanny” he tells the story of a man who stalks a young girl and – according to the critics’ interpretation – would not stop at further steps. A no-go then, and surely now as well. Falco was accused of glorifying the perspective of a stalker… Thomas Gottschalk, a famous German radio and TV host, called Falco a “(…) Viennese sausage that only produces bullshit”.
6. Longest music video ever: Twenty One Pilots to “Level Of Concern“
And then there are the records of the curious kind: The official world record holder for the longest music video of all time, with a corresponding entry in the Guinness Book of Records, is Twenty One Pilots’ music video for “Level Of Concern”. From June 2020, the video ran in a continuous loop for 177 days, with over 162,000 user contributions constantly generating new content. The previous holder of this record was Pharrell Williams with his 24-hour video for “Happy”. The Twenty One Pilots can only smirk calmly about this. They managed more than 4,264 hours. Here is the “short version”:
7. Most successful video premiere ever: K-pop band BTS with “Dynamite”
The K-pop boy band BTS has reached the top of the YouTube premiere charts with their video for “Dynamite”, with incredible numbers: within the first 24 hours, there were more than 100 million views, making the group the most successful music video premiere. On 21 Aug. 2020, more than three million fans watched the video premiere simultaneously. As of early Feb. 2021, “Dynamite” has now been clicked more than 825 million times.
8. Children’s song breaks YouTube record: Pinkfong Kids’ – “Baby Shark Dance”
With cheerful charm, the most clicked music video on YouTube attracts legions of kids. “Baby Shark” is actually a children’s and folk song that is said to have originated around a campfire. Maybe in the Boy Scouts; we don’t really know for sure. Many believe that the song about a baby shark was inspired by the horror film “Jaws”. However, there are no scary moments here. In 2016, a very fresh interpretation was played on the South Korean YouTube channel Pinkfong. And it went viral with – as of February 2021 – more than 7.8 billion (!) views.
9. Official world record clip for filter fans: Aurel on “Wenn ich ein Mädchen wär” (If I were a girl)
And another bizarre record: Hamburg musician Aurel and his production company Streitmedia colourfully staged the clip for the single “Wenn ich ein Mädchen wär” in 2017. Over the course of 3 minutes and 35 seconds, he used a total of 102 video filters from Snapchat & Co. From cat ears to hearts to landscapes, everything is included that the kids’ smartphones otherwise provide. Aurel is listed as the record holder for the “music video with the most social media video filters used”. #whatthehell ?????
10. The winter summer hit: Luis Fonsi – “Despacito” ft. Daddy Yankee
Curious lyrics included, such as “(…) Oh, you, are you the magnet, and I am the metal”, but in any case loosely upbeat. Although released in cold January 2017, “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee as a summer hit. The song received positive praise from music critics for its Latino crossover mix and danceability. Feminist circles saw it differently, calling the lyrics sexist. For over three years, “Despacito” topped YouTube’s Long Term View charts. In February 2021, it is in second place with almost 7.2 billion views.
Can you think of any other music videos that are missing from our list? We look forward to your suggestions in the comments!
Vítor Simões says:
I’m glad to find this blog.