The A To Z Of Music Video Secrets

  • Posted by: Aimee Curran

Music videos are an artist's way of showcasing their singles in ways that can make you laugh, cry, reflect and embrace feelings of nostalgia. Special effects and concepts can be shocking and wow fans, but behind-the-scenes of getting it done is another story. From A-Z we've discovered secrets of 26 music videos you probably didn't know about.


Thanks to Aerosmith, Alicia Silverstone got her big break in Hollywood. Starring as the lead video girl in videos for "Amazing," "Cryin," and "Crazy" she was all anyone wanted to talk about. What fans might not know is the video version of "Amazing" was extended by 52 seconds with a double loop at the end to accommodate uncuttable footage.

Blank Space

Taylor Swift didn't actually destroy the vintage Shelby AC Cobra in "Blank Space." While we all cringed at the sight of it, truth is, Taylor was given half a golf club to swing and special CGI effects were added in post-production to give the illusion she was seriously fucking up a piece of automotive history.

Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)

When Father John Misty dropped his video for Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins), a DIY video filmed on his iPad during his honeymoon, it came with mixed reviews...many unfavorable. FJM explained he had initially wanted to stage something much more elaborate. "I was going to rent a wedding chapel, get a dozen kittens and stage a kitten wedding, over which I would preside and intercut with performance footage of me lip-syncing the song which youre hearing today, Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)." Damn, we wish that had come to fruition.

Dark Horse

A year ago, Katy Perry was smack in the middle of controversy over her "Dark Horse" video. The image of a burning man and his pendant formed the word 'Allah' the arabic word for God, which sparked a petition to ban the video from YouTube. After stacking up thousands of signatures, the video was edited to omit the offensive image.


No Doubt released the video for 'Ex-Girlfriend' to a few raised eyebrows after it was reported the video was loosely based on controversial anime comic Kite. Guitarist Tom Dumont played a cop in the video, but ended up on the cutting room floor during final edits.


Iggy Azalea broke into the big time in 2014 with the release of her single and video for "Fancy." Collaborating with Brit-pop singer Charli XCX, the pair succeeded in conquering air-waves with the infectious track. The surprising part is the video shoot was the first time the two chart toppers met. Looks like they had instant chemistry as collaborators and friends.

Good Girls Go Bad

Cobra Starship had been around for a few years before collaborating with, then Gossip Girl star, Leighton Meester on the hit single "Good Girls Go Bad." The video takes place in a fictitious illegal club under a deli where the only "in" is to order a special sandwich. As party goers enter the club they pass hooks full of meat, but due to Cobra Starship's support of PETA, faux meat was constructed to use for the shot.

Hands Clean

Alanis Morrisette used her single "Hands Clean" to produce a video whose concept was following the commercial success of a song. It is said to be written about a 29-year-old man she had a love affair with when she was 14. While it was rumored to be about several different men including Full House star Dave Coulier, Alanis refused to reveal the identity during filming of the video and still keeps the secret to herself.


The Beastie Boys were progressive in everything they did from their albums to supporting music videos. "Intergalactic" was no different. The guys traveled to Japan to shoot scenes in the Shibuya and Shinjuku train station. The Boys even donned official Japanese construction uniforms for all intents and purposes of upholding the authenticity of their surroundings.


Pearl Jam's video for "Jeremy" was shocking, sad, and put a spotlight on how deep bullying and neglect can affect the psyche of a young teen. What you might not know is it was the second video shot for the track. The first video was a labor of love for video director Chris Cuffaro who sunk a ton of his own money into the passion project after Pearl Jam's label refused to pay for production costs. After the video was complete, the label decided to release the song as a single and brought in video director Mark Pellington to helm the project and film a new video.


When MGMT dropped their official video for 'Kids" in 2009, it was met with criticism for what many thought was mistreatment of the toddler used who looked terrified throughout the video. The band defended themselves by posting a behind-the-scenes video on YouTube showing the toddler laughing engaging with the puppets and actors in costume in-between shots.

Like A Prayer

Madonna's "Like A Prayer was a provocative and controversial video, but the making of it didn't come easy. Actor Leon Robinson, who played the saint and Madonna's love interest, had to act as a staue after casts of his face, hands and feet didn't look real enough in post-production. Re-shoots were necessary, leading to Leon to spend extended periods of time in heavily masked make-up. About the shoot Leon said, "First of all, I didn't realize how hard it is on the back to stand absolutely tall and straight and not move. Secondly, as a performer you have this nervous energyand my requirements here were total antithesis of that."

Misery Business

Paramore's breakout album Riot thrust the band into the music spotlight with their single "Misery Business" leading the way. They shot the video at Reseda High School in Los Angeles home to other famous scenes in movies like Grosse Pointe Blank and The Hard Times Of RJ Berger. During the shoot, the band were the only individuals who were actually of high school age. Lolz..


OK Go is known for grandious and weird videos. Shooting one for their single "Needing/Getting" proved to have a hefty price tag to bring their idea of using a car to make music. They band ultimately hit up Chevrolet, who sunk $500,000 to $1 million into the production of the video because they felt the band's youthful demographic influence was a tight fit with the Chevy Sonic.


It's hard to hate anything Usher does and his 2010 video fro club jam, "OMG" was an obvious smash. The video (ft. Black Eyed Peas showcases his incredible dance skills, but what's up with the vintage TV that keeps popping up? Turns out director Anthony Mandler, used inspiration from '80s British television and film, fictional artificial intelligence character Max Headroom to create those shots.


Lady Gaga is weird and wonderful and her music videos are rarely disappointing. "Paparazzi" put the spotlight on the intrusive and sometimes dangerous behavior of the paparazzi. Remember the scene when Gaga's lover (played by Alexander Skarsgard) tosses her over the balcony and she lies in a pool of her own blood while the paps surround her and take photos? It's rumored it is meant as a way to pay homage to Alfred Hitchcock's movie Vertigo.

Queen Of California

John Mayer's video for "Queen Of California" shows John time traveling back to walking the street of LA's Laurel Canyon in the early 1970's which was a neighborhood many LA rock musicians found inspiration. John told NPR it was about, "being able to have a hopeful vibe about something again... it's actually about getting over stuff."


Vance Joy's single "Riptide" is a cute and campy song you can't help but play over and over. The accompanying video is unique in that it depicts the song word for word.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

The video that changed a generation almost wasn't was. Kurt Cobain refused director Sam Bayer's final cut of the video and took it upon himself to fly to LA to edit it himself. He explained to MTV News that "it looked like a Time-Life commercial to me," and he "threw in a few extra things which pretty much saved it." Good move.

Take A Walk

Passion Pit's "Take A Walk" video depicts the perspective of a bouncing ball as it travels around several locations in Philadelphia. To achieve this effect, advanced helicam (a fancy remote-controlled mini helicopter) was used to give the illusion of the ball going on a grand journey.


Rihanna stepped into music's A-list with the release of "Umbrella." Looking to ramp up her image and extend it intoner music video, she turned to director Chris Applebaum who rushed a treatment over to start a conversation on where to take the video. The idea to have Rihanna covered in silver body paint wasn't something he was sure she'd go for, but after embracing the idea the video was shot on a closed set with only Rihanna, Applebaum, and a video assistant present.

Va Va Voom

Nicki Minaj's video for "Va Va Voom" was initially a project she was excited about. During filming of the Hype Williams directed video she tweeted, "The look were about to shoot, your gonna Spazz," but later wanted to shelve the video after the final cut wasn't to her liking. Nicki eventually relented and released the video because it was a single.

What's My Age Again

Blink-182's video for 'What's My Age Again" was a break out song and video for the former trio who appeared running naked through the streets of Los Angeles. While the video was edited to look as though it was blurring out the band's private parts, truth is they filmed the scenes wearing nude colored speedos. Mark Hoppus shared the secret in an interview with Rolling Stone "Watching people's faces in the cars as they drove past us was the best. They almost got into accidents. They just saw these ugly blobs running down the street."


Here's a fun fact. It seems there isn't a music video made for any song that starts with the letter X.

You're Beautiful

When James Blunt dropped "You're Beautiful" it was impossible to get away from the emotionally charged love song. The video is simple in concept. James stands on a dock at the edge of the ocean on what looks like a freezing cold rainy day. Truth is, it was shot on a warm, but overcast, summer day in Spain and the rain was created by a machine.


The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are known for their edgy indie-rock sound and always have the best videos to kick up their cool factor. The video for "Zero" was shot in San Francisco's seedy Tenderloin, as well as the city's North Beach and Chinatown districts. As Karen O explained, "It made sense that the visuals would take you on a journey and keep you on the moveno sitting still for too long in the city landscape of bright lights, dark alleys and glittering streets."


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