100 Greatest Pop Videos, Channel 4

by | Feb 6, 2005 | All, Reviews

The good, the bad and the ugly

The Good

• The seemingly possessed children with sinister blue eyes in Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

• The three different endings to the Cardigans’ My Favourite Game when the reckless driving of singer Nina Persson results in her either being killed, decapitated or knocked out by a rogue rock.

• The masturbating dummy in Herbie Hancock’s Rockit video.

• The Pet Shop Boys striding through Moscow’s Red Square like some invading lycra-clad aliens for Go West.

• Radiohead’s Just – a clear case of where the video was superior to a humdrum, aimless guitar racket. We still weren’t told what the bloke lying down said to get everyone else lying down beside him though; although we will maintain our fascination for no other reason than to keep the mute Radiohead thinking they’re important for not revealing the transcript of the mysterious monologue.

• Wu-Tang Clan’s Gravel Pit with the dinosaurs and trademark kung-fu combat.

• The uncensored version of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes video where Russian premier Konstantin Chernenko and Ronald Reagan engaged in a fight that featured eye gouging, bollock crushing and ear biting.

• The bit in Eurthymics’ Sweet Dreams where the scene shifts from a fascist nerve centre to a cow field.

• The Cure’s Close To Me filmed under duress in a claustrophobic cupboard after the band and film crew had enjoyed a large curry takeaway.

• Johnny Cash’s Hurt where the Man in Black seems to be crumbling before your very eyes.

• Electric Six’s Gay Bar in which a thong-clad Abraham Lincoln visits a gym-cum-male brothel.

The Bad

• The continued eulogising of Sid Vicious who was a significantly less talented iconographic totem for punk than Gareth Gates is for brainwashed teenagers.

• How horribly dated the Boomtown Rats’ I Don’t Like Mondays now sounds; ancient Egyptian mummies have decayed less in a millennia than Bob Geldof’s finest musical moment has in 25 years.

• Ultravox’s ultra-pompous Vienna, in which Midge Ure swept along monochrome gothic streets like an off-duty Gestapo officer with interminable sideburns that could be used to hook to safety distressed children who have fallen down wells. Still, he now at least has the humour to admit how awful it is and that he invented “video clichés”.

• MC Hammer’s voluminous trousers in U Can’t Touch This; which were almost large enough to be cast across the pallid corpse of Britain after the lethal shame that will engulf the nation on Wednesday when Angels is named as the best song of the past 25 years.

• Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love that helped usher in a dark age of fashion dominated videos, in a move that was only slightly less damaging on human evolution than if Jade Goody was Eve.

• The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage; like lying paralysed beneath a writhing mass of giant worms who each have a the face of a character from a 70s cop show grafted o nto their heads while the wailing and whining from all the spoilt, obese children in America is fed into your ears at 500 per cent amplification.

• The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up, one of the most tedious videos ever committed to celluloid that pandered to a bully boy audience with scenes of fornication, vomiting, stripping and violence and then tried to excuse its excess by revealing the uncouth antics were the work of a woman in a “twist” less angular than a motorway.

amioquai’s Virtual Insanity promo – a glossy body bag around the rotting corpse of a convicted war criminal.

• Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing – a perfect encapsulation of what was wrong with the 80s in four skin-crawling minutes from the lurid headbands to the blocky computer graphics made by a rock band so sterile they couldn’t make a black widow pregnant; although we’d like to see them test this theory as it would mean seeing Mark Knopfler being eaten alive as he mindlessly churned out Sultans of Swing for the billionth time to serenade the understandably irate arachnid.

• Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain – the insipid indulgence of a rock band once so riddled with heroin that poppy fields tried in vain to crawl away from them in fear of ending their days entombed in their tainted veins.

• Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty providing more evidence that pornography is the least imaginative use of video tape in the known world with the exception of any episode of Emmerdale.

The Ugly

• Basement Jaxx’s Where’s Your Head At with the genetically bred monkeys with human faces.

• Sting’s epileptic knee in the Every Breath You Take video.

• Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker with the dancers morphing into grotesque versions of Richard James.

• George Michael’s stubby pony tail in Club Tropicana.

• Adam And The Ants’ Prince Charming with Diana Dors leading a dance third only to Quentin Willson on Strictly Come Dancing and Gil Gerrard in the Buck Rogers film as the most appalling in television history.

• The Spice Girls’ Wannabe – five expendable lab rats hamming it up in the hope it wouldn’t be their turn to be dissected for some menial and largely unnecessary advance in medical science.

• Fat Boy Slim’s Weapon of Choice where Christopher Walken dances and flies around a hotel lobby in a cynical exercise to coerce the viewer into thinking they’re watching something wondrous because a famous actor is playing the fool. Such dystopian deceptions should be confined to Friends.

• Bigoted Queen fans not buying their records because of the I Want To Break Free video where the gang were in drag, rather than not buying them for the perfectly acceptable reason of them being rubbish.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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