Skip to content

ROLLING STONE READERS PICKS

In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine let its readers send in votes for the best music videos of all time. Here are the top 10.

9.27/1011 ratings
1
1983
Michael Jackson's iconic video is one of the most well-known videos of the 80's. Directed by John Landis, who made An American Werewolf in London, the video references numerous horror movies and features Jackson dancing with zombies. It's a cultural landmark and was the first music video added to the National Film Registry.
8.9/1010 ratings
2
1986
Sledgehammer cleaned up at the VMAs, winning nine awards - still a record. The video uses a mix of animation styles, including claymation, pixilation, and stop motion. Peter Gabriel had to stay under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video while animators moved objects above him, one frame at a time.
8.55/1011 ratings
3
1991
Smells Like Teen Spirit's video features a school concert ends in anarchy and riot. Inspiration was taken from Jonathan Kaplan's 1979 movie Over the Edge, as well as the Ramones film Rock 'n' Roll High School. Cobain disliked Bayer's final edit and personally oversaw a re-edit of the video that resulted in the version finally aired
8.36/1011 ratings
4
1985
Norwegian band A-ha had their biggest hit with their 1985 re-recording of Take On Me. The video combines pencil sketch animation with live-action, using rotoscoping techniques. It took about four months for animators to complete the four-minute video. The romantic fantasy shows a comic book character and a woman reading about him join each others' shared worlds.
7/105 ratings
5
1992
November Rain shows a wedding between Axl and then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour, interspersed with a live performance in a theatre. It can particularly be noted for its massive budget (about $1.5 million) and stunning cinematography.
7.75/108 ratings
6
2001
Weapon of Choice features Christopher Walken dancing and flying around in the empty Los Angeles Marriott hotel. Walken trained as a tap dancer before his acting career took off. He said the video gave him the opportunity to do "something different."
7.33/103 ratings
7
1999
Learn to Fly takes place on a commercial airliner, parodying the movie Airplane!, and by extension, the films Airport 1975 and its sequel Airport '77. Two airline mechanics (played by Jack Black and Kyle Gass from Tenacious D) smuggle and hide their narcotics known as "World Domination brand 'Erotic' Sleeping Powder" in the coffee-maker. This ends up incapacitating everyone who drinks the coffee.
7.17/106 ratings
8
1994
Black Hole Sun has a surreal and apocalyptic theme and features post-production work by 525 Post Production and Soho 601 Effects. The video follows a suburban neighborhood and its inhabitants, which are eventually swallowed up by a black hole, while the band performs the song somewhere in an open field.
8/107 ratings
9
1994
Set in what appears to be a 19th-century mad scientist's laboratory, the video's imagery involves religion, sexuality, animal cruelty, politics, and terror. These images were inspired by the work of Joel-Peter Witkin, as well as by the Brothers Quay's animated short film Street of Crocodiles.
9.38/108 ratings
10
1992
Jeremy incorporates rapid-fire editing and juxtaposition of sound, still images, graphics, and text elements with live-action sequences to create a collage effect. Actor Trevor Wilson portrayed Jeremy, is an angry, depressed boy who commits suicide in his classroom. The edited version led to misinterpretations that Jeremy kills his classmates, not himself.
9.27/1011 ratings
1
1983
Michael Jackson's iconic video is one of the most well-known videos of the 80's. Directed by John Landis, who made An American Werewolf in London, the video references numerous horror movies and features Jackson dancing with zombies. It's a cultural landmark and was the first music video added to the National Film Registry.
8.9/1010 ratings
2
1986
Sledgehammer cleaned up at the VMAs, winning nine awards - still a record. The video uses a mix of animation styles, including claymation, pixilation, and stop motion. Peter Gabriel had to stay under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video while animators moved objects above him, one frame at a time.
8.55/1011 ratings
3
1991
Smells Like Teen Spirit's video features a school concert ends in anarchy and riot. Inspiration was taken from Jonathan Kaplan's 1979 movie Over the Edge, as well as the Ramones film Rock 'n' Roll High School. Cobain disliked Bayer's final edit and personally oversaw a re-edit of the video that resulted in the version finally aired
8.36/1011 ratings
4
1985
Norwegian band A-ha had their biggest hit with their 1985 re-recording of Take On Me. The video combines pencil sketch animation with live-action, using rotoscoping techniques. It took about four months for animators to complete the four-minute video. The romantic fantasy shows a comic book character and a woman reading about him join each others' shared worlds.
7/105 ratings
5
1992
November Rain shows a wedding between Axl and then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour, interspersed with a live performance in a theatre. It can particularly be noted for its massive budget (about $1.5 million) and stunning cinematography.
7.75/108 ratings
6
2001
Weapon of Choice features Christopher Walken dancing and flying around in the empty Los Angeles Marriott hotel. Walken trained as a tap dancer before his acting career took off. He said the video gave him the opportunity to do "something different."
7.33/103 ratings
7
1999
Learn to Fly takes place on a commercial airliner, parodying the movie Airplane!, and by extension, the films Airport 1975 and its sequel Airport '77. Two airline mechanics (played by Jack Black and Kyle Gass from Tenacious D) smuggle and hide their narcotics known as "World Domination brand 'Erotic' Sleeping Powder" in the coffee-maker. This ends up incapacitating everyone who drinks the coffee.
7.17/106 ratings
8
1994
Black Hole Sun has a surreal and apocalyptic theme and features post-production work by 525 Post Production and Soho 601 Effects. The video follows a suburban neighborhood and its inhabitants, which are eventually swallowed up by a black hole, while the band performs the song somewhere in an open field.
8/107 ratings
9
1994
Set in what appears to be a 19th-century mad scientist's laboratory, the video's imagery involves religion, sexuality, animal cruelty, politics, and terror. These images were inspired by the work of Joel-Peter Witkin, as well as by the Brothers Quay's animated short film Street of Crocodiles.
9.38/108 ratings
10
1992
Jeremy incorporates rapid-fire editing and juxtaposition of sound, still images, graphics, and text elements with live-action sequences to create a collage effect. Actor Trevor Wilson portrayed Jeremy, is an angry, depressed boy who commits suicide in his classroom. The edited version led to misinterpretations that Jeremy kills his classmates, not himself.

Designed using Unos. Powered by WordPress.