10 Best Rock Music Videos Of The 1980s

It was a great decade for music videos, but what did the rock music world have to offer?

We Are Twisted Sister
Andrew Horn Filmproduktion

For as long as there has been music, there has been the music video. Actually, that's not true and there is plenty of evidence to prove it. However, it does feel like that sometimes.

A great video can elevate a song from excellent to legendary and turn the people who made it into megastars almost overnight.

When it comes to great decades for music videos, you can't do much better than the 1980s. Acts like Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston turned the medium into an artform, helped by the launch of a little channel called MTV in 1981.

Insert joke about how MTV doesn't actually make music content anymore here.

With plenty of amazing videos to look back on, choosing the best of the bunch is a mammoth task. Even by just limiting this list to videos from the world of rock, we still had a real job on our hands picking just ten.

However, we think we've done a pretty good job in showcasing the best and brightest that the period had to offer, with some videos that are still talked about in high regard to this very day.


10. Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie

Choosing the best Queen music video from the 80s is like trying to bathe an infant - it's difficult, it's messy, and at least one person is going to cry.

There are so many that could have made the cut - Radio Ga Ga, A Kind of Magic, I Want to Break Free - but we thought we'd go for a song that most people know with a video that is often underrepresented.

In 1981, Freddie and the gang teamed up with fellow British superstar David Bowie to give us Under Pressure; a song that still slaps despite Vanilla Ice's best efforts. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of both parties, neither were around when it came time to make the video.

In a bit of a pickle, director David Mallet thought way outside the box for this one. Combining stock footage, newsreels, and clips from old silent films, he created an abstract expression of the very concept of pressure itself.

Is it a conventional pop video? Not at all, but that's what makes Under Pressure such a fascinating case study.

Now, please don't be angry that we didn't pick the one where they dressed up as women.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.