It should come as no surprise that Michael Jackson and John Landis's music video, Thriller, has just been voted the number one groundbreaking music video of all time. A MySpace poll, which saw a shortlist of videos compiled by industry experts get whittled down to the top 20, saw Jackson's video beat entries by Queen and Johnny Cash. The 14-minute feature, which cost $500,000 (Dh1.8 million) to produce, was the most expensive video made until another Jackson collaboration in 1995 (Scream) overtook it.
Starring a youthful Jackson still in possession of his boyish good looks, Thriller is still as popular as ever, almost 30 years after it was made. Ola Ray played Jackson's love interest in the video, which saw a group of zombies come after the couple before eventually turning Jackson into one of them. Choreographed by Michael Peters - who had previously worked with the singer on Beat It - the dance sequence has become known the world over.
Also containing a spoken-word performance by the horror movie maestro Vincent Price, it was the first music video to be included into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in the US, where it will be preserved indefinitely. The Norwegian band, A-Ha, claimed the number four spot with their (at the time) innovative video for Take on Me. And at fifth, Cash's poignant cover of the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt also made the cut. Filmed shortly before his death, the video contains footage of Cash's life over the years, and earned its director, Mark Romanek, a Grammy for Best Video of the Year.
Music videos have been big news ever since MTV launched in 1981 with Video Killed the Radio Star, by the Buggles, being the first to air on the channel. As the decades have passed, the music video has become an even bigger phenomenon, with plenty of famous performers and directors eager either to star in or produce them. And with the rise in popularity of websites such as YouTube, musicians know that now, more than ever, they have an opportunity to achieve fame with lively and original videos.
One band to capitalise on the strength of music videos is the American rock-pop group Ok Go. Coming second in the poll with Here It Goes Again, the Illinois-based band achieved its biggest success to date with the song, although most praise is confined to the video. Featuring the band acting out a complicated dance routine on a series of treadmills, the video has been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube.
The former bubblegum queen of pop, Britney Spears, made the third spot with Baby One More Time. Filmed in 1998, the original concept for the video was for it to be filmed in a cartoon style, so as to attract younger audiences. Instead, Spears insisted that the cast wear school uniforms and the result was instant stardom. No list of the most groundbreaking videos ever made would be complete without a nod to the flamboyant rock outfit Queen, who made number six with Bohemian Rhapsody. The video, which only took four hours to record, was also hailed as kick-starting the "MTV age". The Muppets' version of the song and video (which came out at the end of last year) also deserves a shout out for sheer hilarity.
Leading the rearguard is the French electronica act, Daft Punk, with the crazy (but wonderful) video for Around the World. Directed by Michel Gondry, the video features mummies, very tall athletes (with abnormally small heads), girls dressed as synchronised swimmers, skeletons and robots dancing to the beat. Weapon of Choice, by the British DJ Fatboy Slim, is another superb video - and quite possibly made the veteran actor Christopher Walken even cooler than he already was. The video, which sees Walken tap dance in a hotel lobby, was given plaudits for bringing the actor to a new generation of fans.
In ninth place comes Sledgehammer by the former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel, which undoubtedly made the list for its artful use of clay animation and stop motion. The song gave Gabriel his biggest hit, and the video was at one time the most played in the history of MTV. Rounding off the list is Sabotage by the American hip-hop trio Beastie Boys. Filmed by the renowned director Spike Jonze, the video played out as a homage to popular police shows from the 1970s. It was nominated for several MTV Awards, though it failed to win any.
The changes to the music industry brought about by the internet have made music television and the music video less central than they once were. But, as the 30 million YouTube hits that Lady Gaga's video for Telephone has notched up since its release last month prove, they still have the power to capture our attention.