In spite of being presented by Jimmy Carr, Channel Four’s The Top 100 Greatest Pop Videos last night was well-worth watching because, unusually for one of these top 100 programmes, it was a pretty fine representation of some genuine masterpieces. For once, it seems that the general public actually knew what it was voting about – personally I’d have placed Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video at number one above Michael Jackson’s Thriller, but essentially the right videos were in the right places.
Having said that, here are Five Pop Videos Which Should Have Made the Top 100…
The Wild Boys (Duran Duran) – Simon LeBon nearly drowned while they were making the video, the least he deserved was for it to hit the top 100. And it’s a wonderful 1980s attempt to film a bit of a book which is not only unfilmable but is also so twisted it shouldn’t really exist at all.
Better the Devil You Know (Kylie Minogue) – a landmark video. Before this, Kylie was always the girl-next-door character she played in Neighbours, perm and smile and skipping along like a bush kangeroo. In this video she surrounded herself by flames and devils, straightened her hair, took off a lot of clothes and paved the way for her now legendary status, upsetting my little sister in the process. A fine piece of work all round.
Jump They Say (David Bowie) – it’s a difficult one because there are so many to choose from, but this may be Bowie’s finest video. Multi-layered and disturbing, not to mention extreeeemely stylish.
Christmas Wrapping (Libera/Tony Robinson) – in 1990, annoying soft-pop boy choir Libera released a single with the once-great Tony Robinson (when he was still writing high quality comedy and not digging up bits of earth). It is officially the funniest pop video ever – more even than the Mr Bean single I Wanna Be Elected, though that gets a mention because it contains the line “Don’t be in-betweeny, vote for Mr Beany!”
When You Come Back to Me (Jason Donovan) – in my youth I thought this was an effortlessly cool video of Jason Donovan walking through an ever-changing London landscape; a recent viewing revealed to me that it is actually the most terrifying pop video ever. There are Victorian backing singers who grow bigger and bigger until they tower over Jason like ogres. And weird things flying through the sky, and chimney sweeps and stuff. It’s like Dickens meets Lewis Carroll set to music by Stock, Aitken and Waterman. It’s hard to imagine a more brilliantly horrific four-and-a-half minutes.