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The 30 Sexiest Music Videos of All Time

From the risque to the raunchy to the banned, we count down the hottest, kinkiest, most talked-about clips from Beyonce, Prince, Madonna and more

Sex and pop music have walked hand in hand since the days of Elvis’ swiveling hips. But the 1981 launch of MTV made the relationship even more explicit – eye-popping videos like Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” got the controversy started early, while the likes of Madonna and Prince built their pop empires on their willingness to break through boundaries. These 30 videos, which range from the earliest days of MTV through the era of YouTube-enabled smartphones, turned up the heat, as well as the chatter.

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Prince, “Kiss”

The polymorphously perverse Prince probably deserves his own “sexiest videos” list. Like Madonna, his boundary-testing clips helped push MTV’s standards and practices departments into new directions. But the video for 1986’s jittery funk come-on “Kiss” stands out, as it shows off Prince’s moves – and his midriff – alongside guitarist Wendy Melvoin and dancer Monique Manning, whose playful rapport with the singer gives the clip an extra erotic charge.

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Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game”

The ingredients that make up Chris Isaak’s 1990 video for his soul-plumbing ballad are pretty simple: a man, a woman, a beach. But under the guidance of director Herb Ritts, that equation added up to the steamiest video of all time, a black-and-white clip in which Isaak and supermodel Helena Christensen seductively (yet strategically – Christensen was topless, although her nudity was well-hidden by camera angles and edits) lolled about in the sand while waves lapped and Isaak sighed over a sparse guitar line inspired by the most wounded pop of the Sixties. The smoldering passion exhibited by Isaak and Christensen had a vulnerability about it that still makes the video’s simple concept eye-popping decades later.

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