VH1 ranks Michael Jackson's `Thriller' top video

Tuesday, May 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Michael Jackson's ``Thriller,'' a mini-movie that was more of a pop culture event than a mere music video, topped VH1's list of the ''100 Greatest Videos,'' which the cable music channel released Tuesday.

Clocking in at 17 minutes and directed by John Landis, ``Thriller,'' was much hyped before its 1983 premiere on VH1's precursor and sister channel, MTV, and it helped catapult Jackson's album of the same name to the top of the all-time best-seller list.

The video features Jackson turning into a werewolf after going on a date to a scary movie, then performing one of his signature dance routines with a gaggle of ghouls behind him.

Coming in second was Madonna's ``Like a Prayer,'' which caused a stir for depicting the pop diva kissing a black Jesus figure.

Madonna had six videos on the list, more than any other artist. Her ``Justify My Love,'' which MTV refused to air in 1990 because of its kinky sexual images, came in seventh.

Jackson had the second-highest number of videos on the list with five. The high-tech, black-and-white video for ``Scream,'' a duet with his sister, Janet, was No. 9.

Several animated videos made the list. Peter Gabriel's colorful, stop-action extravaganza, ``Sledgehammer,'' came in third overall. The video for the Norwegian trio A-ha's ``Take on Me,'' which combined live action and comic book-style pencil drawings, was No. 8.

Rounding out the top 10 were Nirvana's ``Smells Like Teen Spirit,'' the first hit from the pioneering Seattle grunge band, at No. 4; the dramatic ``November Rain'' by Guns N' Roses at No. 5; Pearl Jam's ``Jeremy,'' with its images of school violence, at No. 6; and Herbie Hancock's mechanical ``Rockit'' at No. 10.

More than half the videos _ 53, to be exact _ first appeared in the 1980s, the decade when the music video explosion occurred. The oldest video, Bob Dylan's ``Subterranean Homesick Blues,'' was made in 1967. It's No. 28.

Three of the videos first appeared in 2000: Red Hot Chili Peppers' ``Californication'' at No. 35; Creed's ``With Arms Wide Open'' at No. 92; and Bon Jovi's ``It's My Life'' at No. 97.

And the first video MTV aired when it began life in 1981, The Buggles' ``Video Killed the Radio Star,'' only reached No. 79 on the list.

VH1 will air a series of specials on the ''100 Greatest Videos'' at 10 p.m. EDT, May 7-11. A panel of music experts at the channel ranked the videos.