25 of the Most Iconic Music Videos Ever Made

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Subterranean Homesick Blues
> Released in: 1967
> Artist: Bob Dylan

Considered an influential forerunner of music videos, though not an actual video – it’s a scene recorded for D.A. Pennebaker’s Dylan documentary “Don’t Look Back” – this features Dylan in a London alley holding up and discarding cue cards with the lyrics to his song on them. The clip has been parodied numerous times and has established itself as a pop culture motif.

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Bohemian Rhapsody
> Released in: 1975
> Artist: Queen

Often recognized as the first actual promotional music video, this 1975 masterpiece directed by the late Bruce Gowers helped to establish the music video as an essential marketing tool in album promotion. In 1999, the video reached 1 billion views on YouTube, making it the oldest music video to do so.

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Ashes to Ashes
> Released in: 1980
> Artist: David Bowie

Co-directed by Bowie and David Mallet, this was the most expensive music video ever made at the time of its production (and still ranks among the most expensive). Featuring an altered color scheme with a black sky effect, the eerie video, shot in three locations propelled Bowie’s single to No. 1 in the U.K. s

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Video Killed the Radio Star
> Released in: 1981
> Artist: The Buggles

This video directed by Russell Mulcahy has gone down in history as the very first music video to air on MTV during its debut broadcast on Aug. 1, 1981. The catchy synth-pop hit, which had already peaked on the Billboard charts in 1979, was itself a commentary on the changing nature of technology and its use in art.

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Thriller
> Released in: 1983
> Artist: Michael Jackson

Conceived by John Landis, director of such comedy films as “Blues Brothers” and “Coming to America,” this 14-minute theatrical short horror video became a Blockbuster hit and helped catapult a young Michael Jackson into pop superstardom. It also set a high bar for music video quality and helped to dissolve racial barriers on network television. The song’s choreography has been mimicked and parodied countless times since.

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