These Five Videos Killed the Radio Star: the Best Music Videos of the 80s

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MTV launched on August 1st 1981, and the world of music would never be the same. Suddenly, the ability to make a video to accompany a song became a marker of a song’s success. It melded two different art mediums in a way that hadn’t been significant in the realm of pop culture before. Of course, MTV proceeded to crash and burn once the world of reality TV took over, displacing music videos altogether. However the impact of MTV on the music world was here to stay. These five videos appeared during the soaring importance of music videos, and as such makes them all the more impressive.
These Five Videos Killed the Radio Star: the Best Music Videos of the 80s

2Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (Stephen R. Johnson)

Besides starting out like that “miracle of life” film we all had to watch in 10th grade biology, Sledgehammer is really freaking cool. The song’s message is heightened by the video’s frantic stop-motion, and each and every image is significant to the viewer. There is not one second that your eye wanders from the screen. The video won 9 MTV Video Music Awards. Whatever he means by “I wanna be your sledgehammer,” you know that it’s got to be something deep, and the video’s visual intrigue is undeniable. Even the dancing chickens seem somehow endearing (but also kind of creepy). Oh, and props to Peter Gabriel for having a mixed-race cast of characters in his video. For 1983, popular culture, that was revolutionary – just like every other second of this video.

In the first decade of music videos existence, these five claim the top spots because they managed to meld both art forms in a way that was not only artistically interesting, but ground breaking in their own rights. Experimenting with different types of animation, and different ways of visually representing their songs, these musicians managed to craft videos that would change the face of their music, and all music videos to come.


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