Bullet point list showing the development of the music video from early films
1927 The Jazz Singer
This was the first “talkie” film. It showed the power of combining a film with music. The shock of hearing “Folks, you ain’t heard nothing yet” on an established medium like the silent movies changed the world for ever.
1933 42nd Street
This was a Busby Berkeley choreographed musical. It was sexually charged with lots of females performed synchronised dance routines. It took the audience out of the despair of economic depression and made their lives exciting.
A film from the musical. This was the great age of musicals when songs and dances within a play helped the plot along and supported characterization.
1964 A Hard Day’s Night The Beatles
This film established the elements of the modern video. Its visual style of unconnected music and action placed the emphasis back on the music and away from the plot of traditional musicals. It was also promotional for the sale of albums and professionally directed.
1966 The Monkees TV series
This was a TV series with an assembled boy band that mimed to music. The format followed The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night with plotless anarchic youthful action linking songs that were heavily promoted as singles.
1975 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
This short film was surrealistic rather than natural and aided the promotion of the music of bands that were not simply mainstream “pop” music, or popular, but were more pretentiously “rock” music, and which was “art”.
A television station devoted to music videos, where music and artists were promoted through not only the sound of their music but also the visual image. The video became critical in catching the eye as well as the ear of the audience.
1984 Thriller Michael Jackson
Music video goes Hollywood. This was a big budget music video made to the standards of a Hollywood film with special effects, choreography and professional direction.
1989 Like a Prayer Madonna
Madonna fully exploited the medium of the music video courting controversy with Catholicism and sexual themes. The music videos were very expensive to produce, designed to shock but made Madonna into the biggest selling solo artist of all time.
2005 Lily Allen on Myspace
The internet and social media broke the stranglehold of the professionally and expensively produced music video. The first artist to self promote and develop a following was Lily Allen.