Readers' Poll: The 10 Greatest Music Videos of the 1990s - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Music Videos of the 1990s

Your picks include ‘Buddy Holly,’ ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and ‘No Rain’

Beastie Boys perform in New York City.

Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Music videos may have reached the masses in the 1980s, but the art form was truly perfected in the 1990s. It was a time when budgets went through the roof and ambitious young directors like Spike Jonze, Jonas Åkerlund and David Fincher made names for themselves with amazing work that doubled as short films. It was the last decade that MTV had videos in heavy rotation, and a good clip could break an artist practically overnight. We asked our readers to vote for their 10 favorite videos of the 1990s. Click through to see the results.

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2. Beastie Boys – ‘Sabotage’

Spike Jonze made his 1994 video for the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" seem like the beginning of a 1970s cop show, i.e. Barretta or Starsky and Hutch. Beavis and Butt-Head weren't the only ones confused by the whole thing: "This is gonna be cool when this video finally comes out," Beavis says. Butt-Head, always a little smarter, tries to correct him: "This is the real video, dumb-ass." It didn't win a single MTV Video Music Award, losing out to Aerosmith's "Cryin'" and R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts." In 2009, the channel made up for the slight by giving it a new award: Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman).

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1. Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

In the summer of 1991, Nirvana spent a day on a soundstage in Culver City with first-time video director Samuel Bayer and a ton of extras dressed up like high-schoolers at a goth pep rally that devolves into a punk-rock riot. Nobody present that day could have possibly imagined they were making something that would forever change the music business and eventually become the most iconic piece of film of the entire decade. The whole thing cost less than $50,000. 

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