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Timeline of Music Videos

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Zahra Mukadam

on 2 September 2014

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Transcript of Timeline of Music Videos

Music videos weren't really that popular until MTV was launched in 1981 however, there are quite a few examples before the 80s that can be referred to as music videos
One particular 'music video' that stood out in this decade was Louis Blues by Bessie Smith in 1929

During this decade plus 1950s there was a Disney fantasia. Such films released by Disney were Cinderella (1950), Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Sleeping Beauty (1959), etc all have songs in them. The parts of the film where there was singing could be seen as "music videos" and because the Disney films were such a success, the songs in the movies also became popular too. Also Elvis presley was rising to fame during this time but any 'music videos' of him would be him performing on stage
This was the decade of the flower power, the aftermath of WWII was in the past and The Beatles came on the scene. Their music videos were yet again more like mini films however, there was less acting and more music in their videos, normally of them on a stage of some sort playing instruments and singing. Overall, music videos started to become a lot shorter and more like 'music videos' and were performance orientated. It was still mainly white in the music industry but The Dreamgirls appeared in the late 50s early 60s and were one of the first black girl groups to be really successful in music and they were signed to music label Motown, established in 1959, which is still around today who helped African-American singers like Whitney Houston (in the 1980s onwards), Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and The Supremes and more rise to fame. Their music videos mainly consisted of them singing on stage with the occasional dancers or a band in the background. Also, more female singers appeared. Since the Beatles, during this era more groups and bands formed, also they started off the hippie culture trend. For both men and women big or long hairdos were in fashion and you could see this through the music videos. In addition Top of the Pops, a British music chart television programme began airing in 1964 on a weekly basis.
During this era there were more performance music videos and more groups formed such as ABBA, The Beegees, Ramones and Queen. It also saw rise of punk rock culture in videos which was very influential on the younger generations fashion with multicoloured mohawks, leather jackets, etc. There was also the start of the 'disco scene' in music videos which started around mid-seventies and continued into the eighties. Women started to have shorter hair but this was not really properly into fashion until the 80s/90s. Afro's and permed hair became common from the likes of singers like Gloria Gaynor who sang I will survive and in the music video it's all about her performance, her dressed in a really shimmery dress. Music videos did not really have a story to them it was all about the performance put on by the singer/band and the dance-pop trend emerged. Bohemian Rhapsody released in 1975 was a one of the most successful singles of the decade and topped the charts for nine weeks with an unusual video because the beginning was slightly different to most videos being released at that time but it was still a performance orientated video.
This era saw the rise of pop, dance music and new wave genres. R&B, Hip-hip and urban genres were becoming more common. It was also the birth of MTV which is still around today. Singers like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Duran Duran, Dire Straits, Adam Ant, Madness, Whitney Houston, Aha etc rose to fame through their unique music videos. It is still very much white in the music industry at this point. Music videos also changed during this decade and became less about stage performances and more about set dance routines especially in the pop genre. There were also music videos that had stories to them like Thriller by MJ and Take on Me by Aha, take on me also showed how technology was evolving as it turned the characters in the video from real life to moving comic book animations. Female sexuality, voyeurism and exhibitionism became more prominent through singers like Madonna who put on risque performances in her music videos and was known for wearing studded bralettes and corsets, she also became a fashion icon aswell as a sex icon. Music videos also became more popular and advanced with the help of programmes like MTV. Thriller by MJ was a music video to watch and MTV's first world premier music video, which many people waited until the early hours of December 2nd 1983 for the video to be aired and is one of the most well known music videos to date.
During this decade urban pop and R&B was a common genre that most people listened to. Teen pop and dance pop trends which had emerged in the 70s and 80s still dominated the music industry. There were many music videos in the 90s that were quite popular and still are today. Michael Jackson released successful videos throughout the 90s. Bands like N-Sync, Backstreet Boys and Boyzone became popular, especially amongst teenage girls. Britney Spears rose to fame during the late 90s as her music career became in full swing when she released her Baby One More Time music video in 1999, it was set in a school and it was made up of a dance routine, like most teen pop videos were in the 90s. In this era especially, what the singers in music videos were wearing had a great influence on the fashion of younger generations of that time. Bands like N-Sync wore polo T-shirts tucked into baggy trousers and most of the band members wore earrings and a lot of baggy denim. Thanks to MTV launching in the 80s people could watch music videos on a particular channel which would regularly play popular videos. Music videos also became more sexualized in the very late 90s the 'Thong Song' music video by Sisqo was released which was followed by a new wave of 'booty' music videos. It has been criticized for making women look like sex objects. Rap genre was becoming increasingly popular with rappers like Tupac and Eminem (who is one of the first notably accredited white rappers) rising to fame. Tupac's first music video for single Brenda's Got A Baby was released in 1992, the video addresses teen pregnancy which was on the rise in the 90s and like most rap videos it had no dance routine, but a mini film about a teenage girl called Brenda, based on a true story and was in black and white. In 1997 Celine Dion released My Heart Will Go On as the theme song for the Titanic film, it doesn't have a music video apart from videos of Celine Dion performing the single and it is featured in parts of the Titanic film. The Macarena which was released in 1994 and is still quite a popular dance song today. The video is of yet another dance routine which became a worldwide dance routine throughout the 90s, 00s and 2010s. In the music video you notice the women have more skin showing than the men which was a common occurrence in most music videos throughout the 90s onwards. During this decade there was a significant decrease in the amount of black and white videos being released and overall digital quality of music videos became increasingly clearer compared to the decade before . Whitney Houston's music video I will Always Love You (released in 1999) was another successful hit with its powerful ballad, like most soulful music videos there were many closeups of Whitney and there were some parts of the video of her in a film that featured this song. Despite male gaze being more frequent, female power was too with the spice girls and Destiny's Child showing through their videos unity of women and that they do not need to be controlled by men.
Voyeurism, exhibitionism and male gaze was becoming more frequent during this era. There were also many music video highlights aswell such as Teenage Dirtbag by American band, Wheetus became a frequently played music video on MTV and is one of the most well known songs of this decade to date. Music videos were less about performances on stage and more about the singer/group themselves. Teen pop was still quite popular in the early noughties however, hip-hop was one of the most dominant genres with Eminem exploding onto the scene with his slightly controversial music videos referencing to earlier stars like Michael Jackson, his music videos at this time mainly consisted of him either dressed up as other people addressing what he is rapping about or him as himself rapping about serious or personal issues. Music videos included a mixture of black and white people even more so compared to the decades before where it was mainly white and more 'segregated'. In the early 2000s Kylie Minogue became popular and the music video to her successful single, Out of My Head was mainly a dance routine and the camera mainly focused on her and her face. In my opinion I think music videos from here onwards became more dramatic, sometimes in a good way sometimes in a bad way. The Black Eyed Peas in the early 00s were a very successful band as was British boyband Blue. Videos like funk with my heart that had a theme to it which was a blind date show featured the Black Eyed Peas whilst they lip synced to the song. In this decade lip syncing has become quite frequent as the music videos at this time are not performances on stage like they were in the 70s. Rihanna came onto the scene in 2005 with Pon Du Replay being her first music video which had a dance routine as well as many close ups of Rihanna to get her recognised. Since she has been very successful and released music videos every year, most of which have been criticized for being too sexual, for example the S&M video in 2010 which features people being gagged and whipped and handcuffed has been banned from viewing in several countries. Also, in 2005 a new way in which everyone could watch music videos was when YouTube was first launched where you can watch your favourite music videos as many times as you like unlike MTV which shows which videos the TV station has broadcast. Music videos also had a slight increase in female gaze as well but not as much as female gaze. HD was introduced to our televisions and Youtube videos in the late 00s so music videos became more clearer and defined. In most pop/R&B music videos the use of cars and digitally enhanced backgrounds were quite common in the early 00s.
Timeline of Music Videos
It is quite a long video but music videos during this era were short films and had a dialogue. Unlike music videos nowadays there weren't any scantily clad men or women. There are mainly black men in the video and there is a white woman with a black man which in those days was very rare and a black woman supposedly the man who is with the white woman's mother attacks the white girl once she discovers she is with her son and the son does nothing to stop her which puts black people in a bad light. This was a time of racial segregation and it was not until the 60s/70s different ethnicities began to be accepted and in late 80s early 90s and onwards given better and more film/music roles.
There were a few music videos that were highlights of the 90s, some examples:

Baby one more time - Britney Spears
BackStreet Boys - I want it that way
Michael Jackson - Black or White
Whitney Houston - I will always love you
As of the past few years through music videos we have seen Disney channel stars such as Miley Cyrus, etc go 'bad' by doing such things like twerking in their videos, licking hammers in a provocative way and wearing barely any clothes to prove that they are no longer children/teens anymore and have so called begun adulthood. There has been more music videos featuring homosexuality like Same Love by Macklemore and Te Amo by Rihanna which represents how free homosexuals are nowadays in expressing themselves, even though there's still prejudice they are allowed to marry in church. There's a lot more male gaze with music videos like Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke which features naked models running about in front of the camera while T.I., Robin Thicke and Pharrell perv on them - notably quite a controversial music video to date. There's also female gaze aswell in music videos today like I Luh Ya Papi by Jennifer Lopez and Super Bass by Nicki minaj. There is a lot more twerking going on and even singers who do county/pop music like Taylor Swift have started twerking. 'Black Culture' is accepted a lot more than it was in music videos twenty years back, but I think Taylor Swift's recent video with her trying to twerk even though she has no bum whatsoever to me seems like she is poking fun at it as twerking derived from the Hip-hop genre. More singers are openly smoking weed in music videos which are stretching beyond the rap genre, twenty years ago this would not be as common. A lot more music videos are in HD whereas in the beginning of the 2000s HD was not introduced. A lot more music videos have been age restricted during this era because they have been deemed too sexual by critics.
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