The 1980s were arguably when the pop video came of age, with Jackson's Thriller deemed by staff at MTV and TV Guide magazine to be the defining moment for the genre. Lisa Bernhard, TV Guide's senior editor, said Thriller was chosen because it was "innovative and ambitious for its time". "Michael saw a lot of images [in videos] that didn't make sense. He brought videos to a new level. It shifts planes from B-movie to horror story to dancing and back to a traditional narrative. He broke the doors open on videos."
The film-maker John Landis directed the video and turned it into a landmark short movie that had its own cinema release. Jackson's Beat It video was also placed in the top 25.
The top 100 videos featured most of the big names in rock and pop, with the top 10 dominated by US artists, including Madonna, whose Vogue was voted second best video of all time. She was followed by the likes of Nirvana, Peter Gabriel and the Beastie Boys.
Tom Calderone, MTV's senior vice-president of music and talent, said Madonna's Vogue was chosen because of tight editing. "You see beautifully shot black and white images. It's perfectly edited," he said. "When making the decision, someone at MTV said, `If you put a Madonna video in an art gallery, this would be the one'." Madonna was the only artist to have two entries in the top 10, with Express Yourself making number 10 itself.
MTV mainstays such as Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer finished near the top, alongside the most recent of the entries, the Beastie Boys' Sabotage. Two of those whose works made it into the top 10 are now dead. Nirvana, the band of suicide victim Kurt Cobain, was placed number three with Smells Like Teen Spirit, and California Love by slain rapper Tupac Shakar was ranked number nine.
THE MTV TOP 30 VIDEOS
1 Michael Jackson - Thriller
2 Madonna - Vogue
3 Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
4 Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
5 Run DMC w/ Aerosmith - Walk This Way
6 Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
7 Beastie Boys - Sabotage
8 Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
9 2Pac/Dr. Dre - California Love
10 Madonna - Express Yourself
11 Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
12 Michael Jackson - Beat It
13 R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
14 A-Ha - Take On Me
15 Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott - The Rain
16 Police - Every Breath You Take
17 Nine Inch Nails - Closer
18 George Michael - Freedom
19 Pearl Jam - Jeremy
20 Busta Rhymes - Put Your Hands Where My Eyes
21 INXS - Need You Tonight/Mediate
22 Blind Melon - No Rain
23 The Notorious B.I.G./ Mase & Puff Daddy - Mo
Money, Mo Problems
24 Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity
25 The Cars - You Might Think
26 Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle
27 LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
28 Herbie Hancock - Rockit
29 Dire Straits - Money For Nothing
30 Korn - Freak On A LeashReuse content