The 10 Best '80s Music Videos: Poll Results

Three weeks ago, in anticipation of MTV's 30th birthday today (Aug. 1), we asked our readers to celebrate three decades of music television by voting on the best videos of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, each week in a separate poll. Now, we are proud to present the top ten of the 1980s, as voted by you, the readers.

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10. "Rhythm Nation"

Janet Jackson (1989)

Janet Jackson's 1989 clip had a lot going for it: Years before Coldplay raided the Sgt. Pepper's jacket department, Ms. Jackson and her crew put on their military jackets and did the finely choreographed routine that fans everywhere wore out countless VHS tapes rewinding to memorize.

9. "Every Breath You Take"

The Police (1983)

With its eerie black and white and Sting's earnest/creepy ode to obsessive love, this video captured the Police's glory days.

8. "Walk This Way"

RUN-D.M.C. and Aerosmith (1986)

They weren't just the kings of '80s hip-hop, they were the original kings of great mashups. RUN-D.M.C. spun Aerosmith's familiar rock tune into rap gold, playing loud neighbors with a Spandexed Steven Tyler, who came bursting through their unlaced-Adidas lair.

7. "Hungry Like The Wolf"

Duran Duran (1983)

The fashionable Brit rockers were at their most cinematic in this 1983 clip, directed by Russell Mulachy, which found them raiding through the jungles of Sri Lanka like five would-be Indiana Jones.

6. "Sledgehammer"

Peter Gabriel (1986)

The California Raisins ain't got nothing on Peter Gabriel! He used stop-motion animation and claymation to great effect in making "Slegehammer" a smash hit (and winner of the 1987 MTV VMA for Video of the Year), complete with dancing raw chickens!

5. "When Doves Cry"

Prince (1984)

Dig, if you will, this picture, of Prince famously immersed in a bathtub and slithering on his hands and knees as the visual backdrop to his 1984 classic. But that wasn't all: check out the purple one (and The Revolution) doing synchronized dance moves in lace and silk at the end. Hot!

4. "Take On Me"

a-ha (1985)

The Norwegian trio is arguably more famous for this comics-inspired, rotoscoped video, directed by Steve Barron, than for the 1985 hit itself. The clip earned it a nomination for MTV's Video of the Year in 1986.

3. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Cyndi Lauper (1983)

Cyndi herself wasn't the only colorful thing in her 1983 video. The clip is an '80s gem for its sitcom-y vibe, with wrestler Captain Lou Albano in a white wife-beater undershirt playing Cyndi's dad.

2. "Like A Prayer"

Madonna (1989)

The religious imagery in the 1989 hit quickly got Madge into hot water with Pepsi, whom she was doing commercials with at the time. But nevermind the fact that the Vatican condemned it, the scenes of crosses and Madonna getting cozy with a saintly character in a church have remained memorable for 20+ years.

1. "Thriller"

Michael Jackson (1983)

If the Video Music Awards had existed in 1983, MTV would have had to practically create a category just for the culture-dominating ingeniousness of "Thriller." It's little wonder that the video was up for several VMAs even a year later when the awards show kicked off. And almost 30 years after the MJ's epic horror-movie-style ghouls and zombies grooved and paraded into the hearts of music lovers, it's still tops with's voters, capturing a whopping 65% of the vote in our poll. He's not just the King of Pop, he's the king of music videos, too.

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