The Most Iconic Videos by Female Artists
Where do you even start when making a list like this?
Well, let’s get straight to business. You start with Cher, of course.
1. Cher – ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’
The big hair! The suspenders! The tiny leather gusset! Straddling a cannon! This video has it all, but most importantly, she looks like she’s having the time of her life. Go Cher!
2. Bonnie Tyler – ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’
Sung 97% of the time at karaoke, this is a belter of a video. Pigeons, candles, flammable fabrics, a dark gothic building and a gaggle of teenage boys with horrible glowing eyes. And some ninjas. You’ll need canoe-sized shoulder pads to do this song justice.
3. Spice Girls – ‘Wannabe’
If you wanna be a something, you gotta get something friends. A video recorded in one take and saw the girls zig-a-zig-ah-ing (yes, that’s a verb) around a house full of hoity-toity people having a party. The record company wanted to re-shoot the video for the US but the girls refused, and quite rightly so. It’s a classic.
4. ABBA – ‘Mamma Mia’
You haven’t lived until you’ve grabbed your best mate, slung a bathmat around your shoulders, stood slightly too close to one another and belted this song in the direction of imaginary camera. Trust us.
5. Britney Spears – ‘…Baby One More Time’
The video that sold a million marabou hairbands. Apparently, the school uniform was Britney’s idea and was decided at the last minute; the clothes were sourced from a local supermarket. If the school in the video looks familiar, that’s because it’s Venice High School, where the movie Grease was filmed.
6. Pat Benatar – ‘Love is a Battlefield’
Pat proves you can do anything. In this video, she runs away from her oppressive father, moves to big, bad New York City and leads a dancers' rebellion against an aggressive pimp, with some great choreography to boot. She also wears a dress that looks like shredded bog roll, but we’ll forgive her that.
7. Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, Pink – ‘Lady Marmalade’
Originally recorded by the girl group Labelle, Xtina and co. released their cover version for the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge! Much like the film, the music video is a feast for the eyes and ears. Minimalist it ain’t - and it’s good.
8. Madonna – ‘Like A Prayer’
Featuring interracial relationships, stigmata, burning crosses and a sexy moment with a black Jesus, Madonna’s 1989 single upset a few people, most notably The Vatican and Madonna’s sponsors Pepsi. Did it harm her career? Your call.
9. M.I.A. – ‘Bad Girls’
This high-octane video sees women carrying out risky driving stunts in the desert while covered in bling, and was filmed in solidarity with the ‘women to drive’ movement, the campaign by Saudi women who wanted the right to drive on public roads. The ban was officially lifted in June 2018, finally.
10. Whitney Houston – ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’
Could this be the best distillation of 80s neon style in one video? We say yes, quite probably. Pass the eyeshadow and the curling wand… We gotta dance!