From 'You Might Think' to 'Humble,' watch every VMA Video of the Year champ ever

in Celebrity

Sadly, amid Madonna’s floor-rolling, Kanye’s speech-interrupting, Gaga’s meat-dressing, Beyoncé’s baby-bumping, and Miley’s foam-fingering, the artists who in fact win Moonmen (or Moonpersons, as they are now known) at the MTV Video Music Awards are usually bound forgotten. This year’s Video of the Year VMA nominees are Drake’s “God’s Plan,” Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” the Carters’ “Apes***,” Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry,” acceptable champ Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” and Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s “Finesse.” We will allegedly overlook about all of these nominees centermost through Cardi’s aperture performance.

Come on, does anyone even bethink that Missy Elliott’s “Work It” was called Video of the Year 15 years ago, the year that Madonna swapped discharge with Britney? Or that Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” best up top ceremoniousness 5 years ago, the year of Miley and Robin Thicke’s Twerkgate scandal?

1984: The Cars, “You Ability Think”

You ability anticipate (heh) that it looks like a Flying Toasters screensaver now, but 34 years ago, this video was appealing abuse cutting-edge. “You Ability Think” was in fact one of the aboriginal videos to use computer graphics, and it amount $80,000, which was about three times the boilerplate music video annual aback in ‘84. Believe it or not, “You Ability Think” exhausted out an even added big-ticket archetypal video, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” for this countdown honor.

1985: Don Henley, “The Boys of Summer”

David Lee Roth allegedly canceled himself out with his two nominees for “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody,” appropriately allowance the way for the abandoned Eagle’s abundant added black Jean-Baptiste Mondino mini-movie. Technically, “The Boys of Summer” exhausted out appealing abundant every brilliant in American pop music, aback it was aswell up adjoin USA for Africa’s all-star alms video, “We Are the World.”

1986: Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing”

Incredibly, administrator Steve Barron had to attempt adjoin himself in the Video of the Year category, as addition video he directed (and addition one of the 1980s’ a lot of acclaimed videos), A-ha’s “Take on Me,” was aswell nominated. In any added year, A-ha, who had to achieve for the Viewer’s Choice Award, would acquire been a affirmation — but 1986 was a very, absolute acceptable year for music video. Godley & Creme’s groundbreaking morphing-technology blow “Cry” and Robert Palmer’s iconic supermodel antic “Addicted to Love” were aswell 1986 Video of the Year nominees.

1987: Peter Gabriel, “Sledgehammer”

This stop-motion masterpiece still holds two illustrious MTV records: the a lot of VMAs wins in a alone night (nine), and the a lot of plays in the history of the cable channel. Bethink if MTV played music videos?

1988: INXS, “Need You Tonight/Mediate”

The additional bisected of the Aussie rockers’ advance video, “Mediate,” was an accessible admiration to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” But the aboriginal bisected was thoroughly avant-garde (for 1988, that is), with beheld furnishings created by acid up 35mm film, photocopying the alone frames, and layering those images over the aboriginal footage. How INXS-ive!

1989: Neil Young, “This Note’s for You”

This win was a massive upset, aback “This Note’s for You” was basically one behemothic F-U to M-T-V. The abusive video accursed accumulated bartering — even abusive Michael Jackson’s ablaze Pepsi bartering accident, which acquired it to be briefly banned from MTV. Ironically, it concluded up acceptable the Video of the Year accolade over Jackson’s own “Leave Me Alone” (and Madonna’s abominable Pepsi advance song, “Like a Prayer”). Aswell ironically, “This Note’s for You” afterwards absent the Best Concept Video Grammy to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Fat” — addition Michael Jackson spoof.

1990: Sinéad O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Sometimes, beneath is more. While added nominees this year — including the David Fincher-directed “Janie’s Got a Gun” for Aerosmith and “Vogue” by Madonna — were affected affairs, O’Connor (who was the aboriginal changeable artisan to win this award) captivated the MTV bearing with her teary-but-unflinching camera stare-down, bald head, and one-take performance. O’Connor afterwards appear that her tears were real; she was cerebration of her asleep mother if she lip-synched the line, “All the flowers that you planted, mama/All died if you went away.”

1991: R.E.M., “Losing My Religion”

This was aboriginal video in which awfully camera-shy frontman Michael Stipe agreed to lip-synch. Apparently, this was a acceptable decision: “Losing My Religion” was nominated for nine VMAs and won six. The adolescent filmmaker who directed this, Tarsem Singh, went on to lens movies like Jennifer Lopez’s abstruseness The Cell as able-bodied as big-budget TV commercials for (wait for it) Pepsi. What would Neil Adolescent think?

1992: Van Halen, “Right Now”

Diamond Dave-era videos like “Hot for Teacher” and “Panama” were classics, but incredibly, it wasn’t until the Van Hagar years that this bandage won a Video of the Year VMA. Sammy Hagar didn’t like the “Right Now” video at the time, allegedly because he wasn’t in fact in it, complaining: “People ain’t even traveling to be alert to what I’m adage because they’ll be annual these subtitles.” (Rock admirers abhorrence reading, right?) Anyway, “Right Now” angry out to be the better video of Van Halen’s career. It even exhausted out Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for top VMA honors.

1993: Pearl Jam, “Jeremy”

When Ballsy Records initially alone “Jeremy” as a abeyant alone off Pearl Jam’s admission anthology Ten, Eddie Vedder and aggregation took affairs into their own easily and had Vedder’s friend, columnist Chris Cuffaro, do his own version, which Cuffaro financed himself. Unfortunately for Cuffaro, that’s not the “Jeremy” video that won four trophies at the ‘93 VMAs. Instead it was this afterwards one, depicting a afraid adolescent who eventually commits suicide, that got all the glory. While it wasn’t absolutely a animation video, “Jeremy” absolutely affiliated with the blank Bearing X of the ’90s. But the Cuffaro’s simpler adaptation exists on YouTube, if you affliction to see what ability acquire been.

1994: Aerosmith, “Cryin’”

This video did even added for Alicia Silverstone’s career than it did for Aerosmith’s. Afterwards administrator Marty Callner spotted Silverstone in The Crush and casting her in a leash of ‘Smith vids — this one, “Amazing,” and “Crazy” — Silverstone bent the absorption of Clueless administrator Amy Heckerling. And the blow was history. (Side note: Abundant like the late, abundant Nathaniel Hornblower, we still anticipate the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” absolutely got beggared that year.) Aerosmith, an absolute bedrock band, will decidedly accomplish at this year’s VMAs.

1995: TLC, “Waterfalls”

1995 was addition acceptable year for music video: Michael and Janet Jackson’s astounding, Mark Romanek-directed “Scream” and Weezer’s Happy Days admiration “Buddy Holly” by Spike Jonze were aswell nominated. The administrator of this video, which won four VMAs, did all appropriate for himself: F. Gary Gray’s went on to absolute the agreeable box appointment accident Straight Outta Compton.

1996: Smashing Pumpkins, “Tonight, Tonight”

Titanic about acquired this video to sink: “Tonight, Tonight” admiral Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris had agitation accolade aeon apparel in the L.A. breadth for this assembly (which was aggressive by an absolutely altered movie, Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon), because Titanic administrator James Cameron had busy them all. Thankfully, Dayton and Faris were able to acquisition and/or doctor abundant apparel to accomplish it work, as Tim Gunn ability say… and eventually at the VMAs, “Tonight, Tonight” was baron of the world! Incidentally, Dayton and Faris got their own Oscar celebrity a decade later, with their blur Little Miss Sunshine.

1997: Jamiroquai, “Virtual Insanity”

It may attending like accompanist Jay Kay is boogie-ing on a behemothic agent belt in this video, which denticulate 10 VMA nominations and four wins, but it was all a absolute able apparition created by administrator Jonathan Glazer utilizing affective walls. Jamiroquai recreated the boundless aftereffect with an absolute affective attic for their crazily air-conditioned achievement at the 1997 VMAs.

1998: Madonna, “Ray of Light”

Until 2016, Madonna captivated the almanac with the a lot of VMA wins (21), and 5 of those are for this warp-speed blow lensed by Jonas Akerlund. Akerlund went on to absolute six added videos for Madge: “Music,” “American Life,” “Jump,” “Celebration,” “Ghosttown,” and “Bitch I’m Madonna.” Akerlund is aswell the guy who brought us addition “Bitch” video: the Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up,” which came out on Madonna’s Maverick Records label.

1999: Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”

1999 was a acceptable year for Ms. Hill: Forth with her four VMA wins, she won 5 Grammys (including Anthology of the Year and Best New Artist). She never replicated that success, but she alternate to the MTV airwaves three years afterwards with her polarizing and unhinged MTV Unplugged special. That won no awards.

2000: Eminem, “The Absolute Slim Shady”

While “The Absolute Slim Shady,” which was co-directed by Eminem’s coach Dr. Dre, wasn’t banned from MTV like “This Note’s for You” was, it allegedly wasn’t a admired a part of abounding MTV audience — including Absolute Request Reside host Carson Daly, one of abounding accessible abstracts lampooned in the video and song. Tommy Lee, Will Smith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Fred Durst, and *NSYNC were all targets of Shady’s contemptuousness as well.

2001: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa & P!nk (feat. Missy Elliott)

VMA admirers could acquire been forgiven for mistaking this blow for a Twister Sister video, acknowledgment to Christina’s Dee Snider-like frightwig of albino braid curls. Xtina rocked the absolutely askance attending at assorted awards shows that year, including the Blockbuster Awards and MTV Cine Awards, admitting abounding abashed actualization critics’ cries of “We’re not gonna yield it!” Endure year, P!nk accustomed the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Accolade for her abandoned work.

2002: Eminem, “Without Me”

Shady connected to piss off his aeon two years afterwards his aboriginal VMA victory, action at the awards with techno brilliant Moby (“I will hit a man with glasses,” he said in one chic accepting speech) and base Conan boob Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. An accolade for me to annual on, indeed.

2003: Missy Elliott, “Work It”

Madonna, Britney, and Xtina blanket poor Missy’s barrage with their onstage liplock, but this Dave Meyers-directed ballsy featuring cameos by Timbaland, Eve, Mr. Wiggles from the Bedrock Steady Crew, and a agglomeration of reside bumblebees deserves its due. Fun fact: According to an MTV annual with Meyers, Missy got absolutely bashed on the set, if he forgot to alter the wine in her bottle with baptize during assorted takes of the restaurant scene.

2004: Outkast, “Hey Ya!”

MTV absitively that this Ed Sullivan bluff starring eight Andre 3000s was absolutely acknowledgment than accepting cool: It won four VMAs in 2003. Administrator Bryan Barber told MTV that arena the assorted roles of the Adulation Below bandage associates Benjamin Andre (keys), Possum Jenkins (bass), diva Ice Cold 3000 (vocals), Dookie Blasingame (drums), and Johnny Vulture (guitar) absolutely wore Andre out during the 23 takes it took to get this video right. But acutely it was all annual it.

2005: Blooming Day, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”

The car acclimated in this Samuel Bayer-directed clip, a 1968 blooming Mercury Monterey convertible, is the absolute aforementioned auto that Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Air-conditioned collection to the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards to aces up their six trophies, including Best Group Video and Best Bedrock Video. What a agrarian ride.

2006: Panic! At the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”

“What a admirable wedding,” indeed. This circus-themed ceremony, starring the Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Cirque, was a abundant alpha to Panic!’s MTV career; it was, incredibly, the aboriginal video the bandage anytime made. Even added incredibly, bandage associates Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross had the flu while authoritative it. Panic!, forth with Aerosmith, will represent bedrock at this year’s VMAs.

2007: Rihanna, “Umbrella”

This song was originally bound with addition MTV darling, Britney Spears, in mind. Well, Brit Brit’s accident was absolutely RiRi’s gain, as this became the Barbados singer’s big advance hit and a quintuple VMA nominee. However, we do anticipate Britney absolutely could acquire rocked the argent bodypaint, custom-mixed by architecture authority Pamela Neal, that Rihanna wore in this memorable shoot. In 2016, Britney and Rihanna were the stars of the VMAs, with Britney abiding to accomplish for the aboriginal time aback ’07 and Rihanna accepting the Video Vanguard Award.

2008: Britney Spears, “Piece of Me”

2007 was a absolute bad year for Britney at the VMAs. Afterward her accessible accident that included a camp head-shaving adventure and an awning attack, she was somehow affected by handlers, who acutely didn’t acquire her best interests at heart, aback assimilate the VMAs date — even admitting it was accessible that she was not accessible for prime time. Her show-opening “Gimme More” achievement was a alarmingly panned, potentially career-killing disaster. The assumption at MTV got their watercooler moment, but they acquire to acquire acquainted some answerability over the accomplished thing, because the afterward year, they arrive Britney aback and lavished her with three Moonmen for “Piece of Me,” arguably one of the weakest videos of her career.

2009: Beyoncé, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)“

This was the crazy year if Kanye West, angered that Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” had won for Best Changeable Video over “Single Ladies,” bumrushed Swift’s speech. But humans overlook that Bey in fact took home the top annual that year — assault out Kanye’s own “Love Lockdown” in the process.

2010: Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”

The basal artifice of this bathhouse bout de force, directed by Francis Lawrence of Hunger Games fame, was Gaga — in a faux arctic bear-fur jacket, razorblade sunglasses, and 12-inch Alexander McQueen belvedere shoes — accepting kidnapped by a assemblage of supermodels who biologic her and advertise her to the Russian mafia. Typical Gaga, then. She’s fabricated 30 admirable music videos during her career, but “Bad Romance” is still the one by which all of Gaga’s added videos acquire to be judged.

2011: Katy Perry, “Firework”

Katy, who hosted the VMAs endure year, has accurate by now that she isn’t all about whipped-cream bras, boyish dreams, and dejected wigs, you know. This heartstring-plucking video, committed to the It Gets Better Project, was one of the aboriginal to advertise her added austere and acute side. It was aswell a appointee for Best Video With a Message, a new class alien in 2011, forth with Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” P!nk’s “Perfect, “Rise Against’s “Make It Stop,” and Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” However, “Firework” ultimately absent out in that chase to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

2012: Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris, “We Found Love”

This is possibly the best analogy of the old “art assuming life” cliché in VMAs history. If the video was appear in October 2011, the similarities to Rihanna’s real-life ball with on/off admirer Chris Brown were absurd not to notice. Her co-star, Brown lookalike Dudley O’Shaughnessy, albino his hair albino for the shoot, and he and RiRi even reenacted a allocation of the badge address annual of her 2009 car action with Brown. Yet admitting all of its sensationalism and corruption of their claimed lives, “We Found Love” humanized Rihanna and Brown, in a way. It charcoal one the VMAs’ finest champs.

2013: Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”

Who doesn’t adulation this eight-minute ballsy adulatory the decades-spanning adulation adventure of JT’s admired affectionate grandparents, William and Sadie Bomar? The Floria Sigismondi-directed, acutely addictive blow warrants assorted viewings, finer with a box of extra-ply tissues at the ready. The real-life William died in December 2012 afterwards a continued action with affection agitation and dementia; one arena in the “Mirrors” video, if the fabulous Sadie’s marriage ring avalanche off and her grandson cautiously catches it, hints at Justin’s ambition to backpack on the Bomars’ bequest and adore a abutment with his own bride, Jessica Biel, that’s as acknowledged as the one his grandparents aggregate for 63 years. Sob.

2014: Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”

We anticipate the 2015 VMAs host’s pool-party twerkfest “We Can’t Stop” was the absolute jam, but MTV accustomed this hammer-licking tighty-whiteys comedy instead. Miley, who’d acquired such a fuss twerking up on Robin Thicke at the antecedent year’s VMAs, attempted to apple-pie up her act and accomplish a agreeable account by auctioning a abandoned youth, Jesse Helt, to acquire the accolade on her behalf. But she still couldn’t abstain controversy, if it was afterwards appear that Helt had a bent past. Helt’s TV actualization prompted badge to forward out a accreditation for his arrest for acquittal violation, and he was eventually bedevilled to six months in jail.

2015: Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

Swift premiered her eye-popping, high-budget “Look What You Fabricated Me Do” — which was broadly believed to be about her 2009 VMAs nemesis Kanye West — at endure year’s VMAs. However, it was shut out of all the above categories this year. (It is up for three abstruse awards, for editing, art direction, and appropriate effects). Three years ago, Swift won top ceremoniousness for this all-star video that was broadly believed to be about addition one of her frenemies, Katy Perry.

2016: Beyoncé, “Formation”

As she committed her VMA “to the humans of New Orleans,” Bey bankrupt the best almanac for a lot of wins at the VMAs, before the above-mentioned Madonna, with a absolute of 24. “Formation,” from her ground-breaking beheld anthology Lemonade, aswell won for Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Choreography, and Advance Continued Form Video, a part of others. Hopefully Kanye is now satisfied!

2017: Kendrick Lamar, “Humble”

This Dave Meyers-directed admiration video, which aswell won the Grammy Accolade for Best Music Video this year, got a lot of absorption for casting a real-woman archetypal with absolute arresting amplitude marks. But its lightning-quick three account and three abnormal are arranged with iconic imagery, from a Endure Supper Da Vinci reenactment (with Lamar in Jesus’s centermost chair), to an agreeable Grey Poupon transaction, to a arena that is absolutely actually authentic fire. Sit down and watch this admirable champ over and over again.