Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and another 5 of the most expensive music videos

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Here we list the 6 music videos that were the most expensive of their time

Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and another 5 of the most expensive music videos

"... I would say that the song is the hamburger and the music video, the complete combo" - Simon Cahn, film director.

Perhaps there is nothing more effective in the promotion of music than music videos. If one has a musical project and wants to reach the whole world, a music video is one of the best presentation letters available to the public. Since the 1920s there have been recordings of songs with film promotions, but it was from the sixties that rock bands and great pop icons began to record more and more music videos to reach all viewers, that new audience that It was growing exponentially around the globe.

Leer en español: 'Thriller' de Michael Jackson y otros 5 de los videos musicales más costosos

Being a strong impression in the commercial audience, music videos should ensure that fans of the group are blown away to fall in love with them, as well as those who are not followers to hook them. For this reason, it is not surprising when a world-class artist spends millions of dollars on an audiovisual product that can last less than three minutes. Next, we will present you in chronological order seven music videos that managed to be the most expensive of their time.


6. David Bowie - Ashes to ashes (1981)

Directed by: David Mallet and Bowie.

It's no wonder to see the eccentric rock chameleon on this list. Putting ourselves in context, Bowie was promoting his most recent album, Scary Monsters, which was sweeping the listings. His first single, "Ashes to ashes", reached the fourth best-selling position in his native country just in the first week of life, and won the first place to the next. It cost around 250,000 sterling pounds, which today would be 1.7 million dollars. Much of the money went into the countless extravagant dresses used and the innovative special effects of the time.

The song follows the story of Major Tom, one of the multiple masks of Bowie, although he does not mention much about his adventures after what happened in Space Oddity.

5. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1983)

Directed by: John Landis

Honestly, has anyone here seen Thriller? This video, besides being one of the most popular, if it is not the most, around the world, was the first to invest a million dollars that, adjusted to today's inflation, would be two and a half. The enormous impact was not only the terror factor or the impressive makeup, but the form; being a short film of the height of the best commercial productions that included the king of pop singing one of the hits of the best-selling album in the world, the promotional video catalog was too small, so it became a phenomenon cultural.

The impact was such that the people, desperate to be at the mercy of television, began renting massively in tapes the 13-minute short. And that perhaps this is the most insignificant impact. Thanks to Thriller, the filming of music videos became a multi-million dollar industry and even gave more space to black artists to appear on the new American musical television channel, MTV.

Its exorbitant cost, even for today, was due in large part to dance rehearsals, makeup and special effects.

4. The Wild Boys - Duran Duran (1984)

Directed by: Russell Mulcahy

Shortly after the impact of "Thriller", the English popular group, Duran Duran, countered with one of the most elaborate videos, even to this day. The really impressive thing about this video is that they built a huge metal pyramid, a mill, a pool and even a very advanced robotic head for the time.

That, not to mention the special effects, the extravagant costumes and the futuristic makeup. The video, unlike the music of the set, is quite apocalyptic. The influence of Mad Max 2, released three years before the video, is quite noticeable. Everything else mentioned above, added to the dangerous stunts, pyrotechnics and choreography, would be a little over a million dollars nowadays.

Read also: Soundtracks sounded on the radio

3. Bad - Michael Jackson

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Four years after being dethroned by Duran Duran, Jackson counterattacked with a video twice as expensive as the English, which today would be almost five million. It is not as extravagant as "Thriller", but the high cost is due to the work team that at that time were renowned, such as Wesley Snipes, Roberta Flack, Gregory Holtz and, of course, Mr. Scorsese. In this video, Michael returns with a short film, this time more focused on the social problem of racism.

2. Madonna - Express yourself (1989)

Directed by: David Fincher

Just as "Bad" doubled production costs "The Wild Boys," this song by the pop queen doubled the king's. We cannot decide on what is most striking in this video: whether the monstrous production or the message of female empowerment of the song and the video itself, being an infinity of times more significant in the late eighties than today.

The lyrics talk about how women should only conform to the best and should express themselves as what they really are in order to truly liberate themselves. The video, inspired by the silent film classic Metropolis, shows a somewhat dystopian world where Madonna is a kind of aristocrat who sees from a tall tower, and then from her factory, to her slaves, all men models toned with the torso discovered, work to exhaustion.

Read also: 9 songs that will make you feel empowered

1. Michael and Janet Jackson - Scream (1995)

Directed by: Mark Romanek

With you, the famous video of seven million dollars, eleven with current inflation, which is still the most expensive music video in history. Interestingly, if you see the video, you would not believe that it cost so much, because there are not huge buildings like on "The Wild Boys" video, nor do they participate in Hollywood heavyweights like "Bad", or anything like that.

While all you see in the video are seven sound stages of futuristic and aesthetically impressive medium scale, good but not incredible effects and a wardrobe not very extravagant, the cost of production is so high for the short time they had to take it out, from its conception until its edition, which in total were seven weeks.


LatinAmerican Post | Pedro Vergara

Translated from "'Thriller' de Michael Jackson y otros 5 de los videos musicales más costosos"