Believe it or not, the music video does still exist. You may have to search for it and there’s certainly not much of a televised space for it, but it’s still there. Nowadays, most videos are made to live on a bands Youtube page, website or intended for promotional use. Many choose to leverage the power of video content to deliver a live performance.
Back in 1992, the music video meant something else entirely. It was a chance to see the band or song you loved before they came to town. It was another angle to the song that ran the airwaves. Furthermore, people sat in front of their televisions just waiting and hoping for the video they loved to come on. It was an opportunity to see it all right in front of you. Present day those four minutes, can be spun on repeat all day long if you’d like. In 1992, it was capturing lightning in a bottle as those four minutes exceeded the impact of looping a video all day long.
In the early 90’s, whenever I had free time at home or days off of school, I would camp out in the dark basement, pull the TV plug on (Yes – pull not push) and watch video’s on MTV. I got hooked on this after seeing the Guns ‘n’ Roses, “November Rain” video which I still think is the greatest of all time. The best part about sitting there glued to TV waiting not so patiently to watch Slash wail an epic solo in a deserted field was that it introduced me to so many other great songs and artists. Pearl Jam for one. The “Jeremy” video would circulate in that wave and I remember being in awe of the passion Eddie Vedder would exude. He’s just sitting on stool by himself, but damn, the intensity in his eyes and passion in the delivery was something I connected with immediately and had never seen in music before.
If you examine the list of video’s that were in frequent circulation in 1992, its remarkable how not only were many of the songs great, but their video companions were as well. Art yin and yang. Additionally, let’s not forget, this was also the year we saw: Kris Kross – “Jump,” Right Said Fred – “I’m Too Sexy,” Genesis – “I Can’t Dance,” George Michael/Elton John – “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,” House of Pain – “Jump Around,” Mr. Big – “To Be With You,” “Ugly Kid Joe – “Everything About You,” Toad the Wet Sprocket – “All I Want,” Tom Cochrane – “Life is a Highway,” Sir Mix-A-Lot – “Baby Got Back,” PM Dawn – “I’d Die Without You,” Wreckx ‘n’ Effect – “Rump Shaker,” Shai – “If I Ever Fall in Love,” En Vogue – “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It), Mariah Carey – “I’ll Be There,” Bobby Brown – “Humpin Around,” Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You,” Michael Jackson – “Jam,” Arrested Development – “Tennessee” and Boyz II Men – “End of the Road,” to name a few!
In the Alt/Rock and Metal categories, there were numerous classic videos from Metallica, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Def Leppard, The Black Crowes, Spin Doctors, REM, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Aerosmith and Eric Clapton.
Somehow there is still a top ten, yet to be mentioned. Here they are:
10. Metallica – “Wherever I May Roam”
i remember getting nervous when i’d watch this video, the we’ll get you and we’ll bring it every time metallica
9. The Cure – “Friday I’m In Love”
classic cure just being themselves which was an intro for many
8. Van Halen – “Right Now”
no performance, the band hardly even appears, just message after message, ahead of its time
7. U2 – “One”
3 videos were made for this song, this is the Anton Corbjin version
6. Temple of the Dog – “Hunger Strike”
meeting of the seattle iconic minds for a great tribute
5. Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
perfectly delivered the message of the song, right to the point
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Bridge”
the anthony kiedis run at the end is classic
3. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
an older song and video resurrected by Wayne’s World, just as good in ’92 if not better
2. Pearl Jam – “Jeremy”
so heavy, from vedder to the words popping on screen to the actual storyline
1. Guns ‘n’ Roses – “November Rain”
the most viewed music video on YouTube not made in the 21st century, over 540 million views according to YouTube and Wikipedia
*note this article reflects when the video’s saw their play peak, not the year the song was released.