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Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody voted best video

By Felix Lowe
Last Updated: 2:31am BST 09/10/2007

It was one of the first promotional videos ever recorded and took just four hours to shoot on the band's rehearsal stage. Now Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody has been voted the UK's best music video of all time in a poll.

Nearly a third of those quizzed in the Q Magazine survey (30 per cent) said the groundbreaking video for the rock opera-style song was their top choice.

Freddie Mercury and the video's trademark visual feedback
Queen singer Freddie Mercury is distorted by the video's trademark visual feedback

The video cost a paltry £4,500 to produce back in 1975 and is widely hailed at the music video that launched the MTV age.

During the near six-minute clip of what would become Queen's magnum opus, the camera zooms in and out on the faces of the four band members, while there is a heavy use of silhouette and a type of colourful, jagged visual feedback that became known as the 'honey comb' effect.

Besides stadium lighting, a liberal use of dry ice and an array of classic 70s attire and haircuts, the video also shows Freddie Mercury performing at the same piano upon which Paul McCartney recorded the Beatles hit "Hey Jude".

Runner up in the poll with 13 per cent of the vote was Michael Jackson's Thriller, a quasi-horror film spoof featuring choreographed zombies strutting alongside the singer in his fabled red leather jacket. Rising from the grave, Jackson just pipped Justin Timberlake's pop ballad Cry Me A River, which received 12 per cent of votes.


To emphasise the increasing influence of the internet, little known group OK Go's A Million Ways - a home-made video which sees the band perform a choreographed routine in their back garden and was downloaded by nine million people worldwide - came fourth with nine per cent. It's an astonishing feat for a music video during which, in all reality, nothing much happens.

The top-five was completed by Norwegian trio A-Ha's mix of animation and film in the immeasurably catchy nugget Take on Me, which attracted seven per cent of voters.

It is perhaps a sign of the times that Britney Spears could only muster up 15th place with her precocious breakthrough single Baby One More Time.

The video was huge on its release, mainly owing to the fact that it featured the then rising star in a range of schoolgirl outfits while gyrating with a posse of equally scantily clad cheerleading types.

But the public eye is becoming less favourable to Spears as the days go on, and the video only gathered two per cent of the poll, the same figure as Oasis's Wonderwall.

To make matters worse, Spears was not only beaten by her ex Timberlake, but also by her one-time principal rival and former Mickey Mouse Club colleague Christina Aguilera, who received four per cent of the vote for the controversial video Dirrty.

The survey of 1,051 adults found that "the video relating to the song" was the most important factor in what made a good music video, with 56 per cent plumping for it.

Thirty two per cent chose "good choreography", making it the second most important factor, and, perhaps, an indictment to the standards of the school corridor dancing of Spears and her colourful gaggle.

And 16 per cent thought "an attractive lead singer" was important, while 11 per cent put a "sexy video" as a vital ingredient.

Mobile phone network O2 commissioned the survey to celebrate its sponsorship of the "best video" category of the 2007 Q Music Awards.

This year's event takes place in London today and marks the 21st birthday of the prizegiving.

Grahame Riddell, head of content at 02 said: "Sponsoring the 2007 Q Awards Best Video has given us a real insight into the love affair between the UK population and music videos.

"This research shows that in many cases the music video is often more memorable and popular than the actual song."

This, of course, is surely not the case of Bohemian Rhapsody, which as well as being voted best music video, is widely regarded as the greatest single of all time.

Less than a fortnight ago, it was revealed, on the Radio 1 Chart Show, that the rock-operatic gem was the most played song since Radio 1's launch 40 years earlier.

The UK's Top 15 best music videos of all time are as follows:

1. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (30pc)

2. Michael Jackson - Thriller (13pc)

3. Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River (12pc)

4. OK Go - A Million Ways (9pc)

5. A-Ha - Take on Me (7pc)

6. Robert Palmer - Addicted to Love (4pc)

7. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U (4pc)

8. REM - Losing My Religion (4pc)

9. Christina Aguilera - Dirrty (4pc)

10. Madonna - Like A Prayer (3pc)

11. Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity (3pc)

12. Lionel Ritchie - Hello (3pc)

13. Duran Duran - Rio (2pc)

14. Oasis - Wonderwall (2pc)

15. Britney Spears - Baby One More Time (2pc)

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