Hot Top 5 1960s Music Videos

HAAA, look at this. Our 1960s video list wound up in the hands of Sergio from Infomania on and well, just watch…


Check out our original post and let us know about your favorite pre-mtv vids below.


Before MTV revolutionized the music video format, rock & roll videos were mostly lip-synched reenactments or television appearances. In rarer instances, the filmmaker would push the limits to create an artistic match to the audio it intended to promote (‘promo clips‘). Here’s our 5 favorite pre-MTV promo clips, each with a video as boss as the song:

5. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
This is on the line as it’s a studio lip-synch, but there’s something going on here. Clever camera angles that show the roles of each band member, stoic pacing around the studio, Alan Price pulsating on the Vox Continental, and Eric Burdon’s ice cold performance show this to be an inspired rock video, one of the earliest made.

4. The Kinks – Dead End Street (1966)
After writing the huge Kinks hit, Sunny Afternoon, Ray Davies wanted to write about something a little less sunny and came up with Dead End Street, a fantastic hard-edged single. They got to ham it up for this film, though the BBC refused to show it when they found their antics mixed with Great Depression photos to be in “poor taste.” It’s not hilarious today, but it was one of the first music videos to introduce a plot, of sorts.

3. The Masters Apprentices – Buried And Dead (1967)
This was a pioneering promo clip in Australia’s 1967, influencing many other bands to release videos for their songs. Slow motion and choppy edits of live footage are interspersed with a DIY back-story. This gritty little film nicely captures the feel of the song.

2. The Beatles – Rain (1966)
There’s not a lot of depth here (just the Beatles acting casual, digging their song), but the direction by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, is iconic in style. This clip has everything a traditional music video has like rhythmic back-and-forth edits and trippy B-roll of the band. Stands out amongst the crowd as the fab4 always did.

1. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (1966)
Little needs to be said for the classic D.A. Pennebaker film that would elevate the promo clip to an artform. Bob Dylan drops increasingly inaccurate cue cards while Allen Ginsberg chats with Bob Neuwirth in the background in this groundbreaking piece of musical cinema vérité . It’s an all-time classic, recognized and imitated the world over.

Q: Let us know about your favorite 60s music videos.

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  • Cool post. The Dylan video is probably the best music video ever made.

    This early video by The Who (surely influenced by Hard Day’s Night) is a good one without any attempt at lip-synching or even to match the “plot” of the song: Happy Jack

  • I’ve always enjoyed the Sloop John B video by the Beach Boys. It is
    light-hearted & fun. Most all the film footage they took during that
    period (and beyond) gets me…

  • The Small Faces Lazy Sunday is a cracker

  • Tough call. Have to rank ’em Dylan first, Kinks second, then Animals. House of the Rising Sun is still just basically the group performing, while Dylan’s cue card lyrics really hit a chord that still resonates, and the Kinks video was also way ahead of its time.

  • Louder than Milk

    Speaking of the Small Faces, check out Song Of A Baker from Ogden’s NGF. Performed live in the studio from a ’68 UK show Color Me Pop. Not a promo clip but simply awesome.

    The show included a fair slab of Ogden, including Stanley Unwin in a robe, sitting on a throne. So Song Of A Bsker is only a starting point.

  • alllal

    My all-time favorite will always be the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever! Still the trippiest video ever.

  • The Animals video, by the way, comes from a really fantastic and silly British film called ‘Pop Gear’ that’s well worth checking out. It’s got performances from some other well-known ’60s groups (Herman’s Hermits, Peter & Gordon) as well as some more forgotten British beat acts, like Sounds Incorporated and Tommy Quickly & the Remo Four.

    Here’s the Joe Meek-produced Honeycombs from the same movie:

    That rhythm guitarist is such a style icon.

  • Brendan

    I dig that Honeycombs video Evan, and thanks for the info. Joe Meek forever.

  • All this music is from the time when I was 17 – 22, crucial time space in a human life and I realized something today. We didn’t BUY much music, seriously, few of us bought albums, sometimes a single, but we lived BY THE RADIO, bedside, and in our cars! which we shared with others! Our mothers were nearby, it was hard to strike out and even say what we liked! My grandfather would not allow me to watch the Beatles on TV – the House of the Rising Sun was considered somehow sinister! No wonder the 60s happened and rebellion flourished!

    Have you ever looked at the difference in numbers for purchase – don’t know how one would. But I bet you I did not buy anymore than 24 LP records ever, ever!! And (needs to be proven) I don’t believe I was unusual. What a difference, huh? j

  • chris

    There used to be a fantastic promo for the Nazz ‘Open My Eyes’ but it seems to have vanished from youtube. The Syd era Pink Floyd ones are great. Here’s a very strange Nico promo featuring Iggy Pop:

  • Joe Lindsay

    This is great. You got the best of the best.

    I have recently added three video clips I have made from ’64, ’65, ’66, and they are on Utube. If you are interested in adding a link.

    Rock On,


  • Len Liechti

    For a REAL style icon, check out the matching Burns Bison guitars the Honeycombs are playing in Evan’s clip. Wow!

  • I am a big sixties fan , and I never heard of The Masters Apprentices . Thanks man. Great list

  • Eye for Detail

    Indeed a great videos. Worth watching it.

  • Tom

    Along with the Nazz’s “Open My Eyes”, I always liked the black and white Gothic castle feel of Procol Harum’s video for “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.”
    The Beatles “Penny Lane” was also a fave.

  • ron

    Contact me for the greatest collection of cool sixties music video!

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