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Video killed the radio star

12 iconic music videos you never knew were made by famous directors

Martin Scorcese directed a Michael Jackson video?

WHEN WELL-EXECUTED, music videos can play out like a miniature film. It’s no surprise, then, that several of the film directors we all know and love have dabbled in directing some of your favourite videos.

1. Michael Jackson – Bad

michaeljacksonVEVO / YouTube

Director: Martin Scorcese

The man behind Taxi Driver and Raging Bull was enlisted by Michael Jackson to direct an eighteen-minute long video for Bad. An homage to West Side Story, the video is also notable for featuring a young Wesley Snipes.

2. New Order – Touched By The Hand of God

RHINO / YouTube

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Before she became the Academy Award-winning filmmaker she is today, the woman responsible for Point Break and The Hurt Locker directed this video for New Order, a send-up of glam metal.


3. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark

BruceSpringsteenVEVO / YouTube

Director: Brian de Palma

Arguably one of the most iconic videos of all-time, Dancing in the Dark features Bruce strutting around the stage in a plain white t-shirt and jeans, before plucking a young Courteney Cox from the audience to dance with him.

But did you know that it was directed by Brian de Palma? As in the Brian de Palma responsible for Carrie and Scarface?

Now you do.

4. The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

Sam Muir / YouTube

Director: Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola hasn’t made too many forays into directing music videos, but it is always memorable when she does. Case in point? This clip accompanying The White Stripes’ moody rendition of Dusty Springfield’s I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.

5. Madonna – Vogue

madonna / YouTube

Director: David Fincher

Before he became one of the most respected filmmakers of his generation, David Fincher honed his craft on the music video circuit. He made videos for the likes of George Michael (“Freedom ’90″), Aerosmith (“Janie’s Got A Gun”) and Madonna.

The uber-glam Vogue is probably his most iconic clip, though.

giphy (1) Giphy Giphy

6. Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)

emimusic / YouTube

Director: Michael Bay

Michael Bay specialises in big, brash blockbusters. It makes sense then that the man responsible for the assault on the senses that is the Transformers franchise would helm the video for Meat Loaf’s big and brash I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

7. The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

emimusic / YouTube

Director: Michel Gondry

Apart from directing the gorgeous Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry is most certainly in the top tier of music video directors. He has made trippy, delightful videos for Kylie Minogue, Daft Punk, Bjork, The White Stripes and The Foo Fighters.

In fact, he is so prolific and consistent that it’s difficult to cite just one of his videos as a “stand-out”. This video for Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers is vintage Gondry, though.

8. Fatboy Slim – Praise You

Skint Records / YouTube

Director: Spike Jonze

Like the aforementioned Gondry, Spike Jonze is absurdly prolific when it comes to music videos and is behind some of the most memorable videos of the last two decades.

Buddy Holly by Weezer? That was Jonze. Sabotage by Beastie Boys? Jonze. Da Funk by Daft Punk? You know who. Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim? Okay, we’ll stop now.

9. Sparks – I Predict

wonderfool1234 / YouTube

Director: David Lynch

David Lynch, you crazy genius, you.

10. Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

SmashingPumpkinsVEVO / YouTube

Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Okay, they may not be household names, but Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are the minds behind one of the most beloved films of the last decade, Little Miss Sunshine.

Before they broke out into features, though, they were veritable hotshots in the music video game, making videos for Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

11. Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

Stan Smith / YouTube

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Jonathan Glazer is behind one of the year’s most haunting/acclaimed films in the form of Under The Skin. He made his name making videos for the likes of Radiohead and Jamiroquai, though.

From Jamiroquai to ScarJo – what a leap, eh?

12. U2 – One

U2VEVO / YouTube

Director: Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn has emerged as a sought after director in recent years and directed the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in this year’s A Most Wanted Man, as well as the well-received Ian Curtis biopic, Control.

The Dutch director has an incredibly impressive curriculum vitae when it comes to making music videos.

Among his clients? Oh, just U2, Nirvana and Depeche Mode.

No biggy.

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