20 Best MTV VMAs Opening Performances

Michael Jackson, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and more: Who kicked it off the best?

Load Previous

5. Michael Jackson feat. Slash (1995)

To celebrate both the new songs and old hits of the recently released HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, Michael Jackson opened the 1995 VMAs with an epic 15-minute(!) medley that puts 10 songs from King of Pop's solo career in a blender. Vincent Price's "Thriller" laugh cackles over a four-second supercut of several different sections of "Beat It." He dances over the "Billie Jean" bassline for a minute before singing but one line of the song. Slash, then in his frustrating final months in Guns N' Roses, falls to his knees and solos endlessly like a man possessed. But in a surprising turn of events, it's a deep cut, "Dangerous," that gets most fully realized setpiece, taking breaks for "Smooth Criminal" and Ennio Morricone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme

Back to Top