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The best music videos in history according to Rolling Stone

The historic music magazine 'Rolling Stone' has ranked the best music videos of all time. 

Some are very recent, others are real short films that will make you think, also dealing with important issues such as racism and more. 

This ranking includes video clips of songs by Guns N' Roses, Madonna and other artists who have made music history: browse the photogallery to find out which are, according to 'Rolling Stone', the most beautiful video clips in music history!

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Best video clips ever: the Top 15
The historic 'Rolling Stone' magazine has compiled a ranking of the best music videos of all time. Some videos are very recent, others are real short films that will make you think, also dealing with important issues such as racism and more. Browse the photogallery to find out which are, according to 'Rolling Stone', the most beautiful video clips in music history!
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15. The White Stripes - Fell in Love With a Girl
Directed by Michel Gondry, this particular video clip is characterised by the presence of the famous LEGO bricks, which form numerous different structures throughout the song. At the beginning of the video, the director introduces his son as he builds with the famous bricks.
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14. a-ha - Take on Me
That of 'Take on Me' is one of the most famous video clips in history, one of the first to be broadcast on MTV. The uniqueness of this video lies in the innovative technique with which it was made, combining the real world and the world of animation. In February 2020, the video of the song exceeded one billion views on YouTube.
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13. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
The video clip of Nirvana's most famous song marks the directorial debut of Samuel Bayer, who claimed that he was hired to direct the video because the test footage was so 'cheesy' that it was perfectly in tune with the punk and grunge spirit. The estimated budget for the video is between $30,000 and $50,000. The video clip shows the band members performing in a high school gymnasium, under the eyes of students in the stands and accompanied by cheerleaders dancing. Later, the show degenerates with the students rioting and destroying the set, while Kurt Cobain smashes his guitar.
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12. Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
The music video for 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)' was shot immediately after the end of the filming of the music video for 'If I Were a Boy', another big Beyoncé hit. The uniqueness of this video lies in the fact that it was shot in one take without cuts, with one camera, for a total of 12 hours of work! Not an easy project at all, but one that shows a lot of skill from a technical, choreographic and creative point of view.
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11. George Michael - Freedom ’90
Directed by David Fincher, the video clip for this track features some of the best known models of the early 1990s, including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, John Pearson, Mario Sorrenti, Scott Benoit, Todo Segalla and Peter Formby. George Michael never appears, and in order to mark the singer's new artistic journey, the video shows the destruction of three elements that had characterised Michael's previous album: the leather jacket, the jukebox and the guitar.
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10. Micheal Jackson - Billie Jean
Directed by British director Steve Barron, the video for 'Billie Jean' is very atmospheric. In the images we find a lonely Jackson walking through the streets of a city in a hypothetical future, inspired by the atmosphere of the film 'Blade Runner'. This video clip was a wild success on MTV, revolutionising forever the way videos were made to support songs.
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9. Guns N'Roses - November Rain
The video clip, directed by Andy Morahan, shows Axl Rose marrying his then girlfriend: the video sums up their intense and troubled relationship, which would end within a few months. Notably, the video clip ends with her early death, in keeping with the melancholic sound of the song.
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8. Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
The video was directed by Stephen R. Johnson and was made using the stop-motion animated technique, which was cutting-edge for the time. Not surprisingly, the video clip was very successful and won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987 and a BRIT Award in the same year.
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7. D’Angelo - Untitled (How Does It Feel)
The video consists of one long tracking shot, which focuses on D'Angelo. The footage starts from a millimetre away from the singer's head and spreads over the rest of his body.
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6. Beastie Boys - Sabotage
The video for the song, directed by Spike Jonze, is an homage to 1970s TV detective series such as 'S.W.A.T.' and 'Starsky & Hutch'. The video clip, presented as a TV series called 'Sabotage', features the band members as main characters.
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5. New Order - The Perfect Kiss
Set in a recording studio, the video clip shows the band rehearsing and recording the composition from start to finish, while they make the song. In some sequences, the poster for Joy Division's album 'Unknown Pleasures' is shown.
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4. Childish Gambino - This is America
The video clip, directed by Hiro Murai, shows Gambino dancing through a warehouse, interacting with a series of chaotic scenes. After 53 seconds, Gambino shoots a man in the back of the head with a gun, while assuming a comical stance.This video clip is clearly rich in messages and symbolism, and for its artistic and creative value it also won the Grammy Award for Best Video Clip in 2019.
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3. Madonna - Vogue
The video, directed by David Fincher, is considered one of Madonna's best. Shot in black and white, it recalls the look of 1930s films and sends out a feminist message, representing a kind of erotic defiance. Madonna's close-ups are inspired by the famous portraits of Marlene Dietrich.
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2. Johnny Cash - Hurt
The touching and nostalgic video mixes sequences of Johnny Cash as an old man with archive footage of the artist when he was young. The result gives a melancholic and emotional effect, a kind of stocktaking of the artist's life. The video won the Grammy Award for Best Video Clip in 2004.
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1. Beyoncé - Formation 
The video clip of the song was directed by Melina Matsoukas and is full of references to Hurricane Katrina, police brutality, racism and black pride. The video is full of symbolic elements and sends important messages, which is why it is also considered fundamental for the testimonies it leaves behind: this video was also honoured with the Grammy Award for Best Video Clip.
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