The 10 biggest rock music videos of all time (2023)

By Louder


The stats are in, and these are the rock music videos you guys have feasted your eyes on most over the years

The 10 biggest rock music videos of all time (1)

There used to be a time when a single's success hinged on its music video. With an innovative and imaginative musical showreel, a song would be all but guaranteed heavy rotation on music television, and the rest, as they say, was history. What would have become of Queen's I Want To Break Free, for example, had it not been for Freddie Mercury hoovering in a mini skirt?

Over the years, the trend for creating music videos has waned somewhat, but it seems your appetite for watching them hasn't. With Guns N' Roses breaking world records twice with their music vids, and Slipknot breaking their own records with pretty much every video they release, the viewing figures on a host of the world's biggest rock videos have more digits than your average phone number.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Vevo has totted up a definitive list of the world's most-viewed rock music videos, and we've compiled them all for you below.

On how the data was compiled: The list below is of the top 10 most viewed rock videos globally. That means that the data pertains to the entire world, but only those songs counted as "rock". These views are taken from the artists’ YouTube Vevo channels. The source used here is Vevo's Internal Analytics, US 2019 viewing metrics, which they kindly shared with us.

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The 10 biggest rock music videos of all time (2)

10. Europe - The Final Countdown (1986)

Worldwide views: 695m

The Final Countdown is among the most celebrated run of notes in popular music – so ubiquitous that the Queen could most likely hum it upon request. So it follows that its video's total views come in at roughly double the entire population of the United States. Not bad for a little band from Sweden.

With a tenuously space-aged concept – the band are being watched from monitors in some sort of space craft, heading to Venus as they were – it helped the band slide into heavy rotation and finally made them a household name.

9. The Police - Every Breath You Take (1983)

Worldwide views: 701m

Directed by 10cc's Kevin Godley and Lol Creme – whose greatest impact arguably stemmed from the 50+ videos they directed in the MTV-dominated 80s – this video was based on Gjon Mili's 1944 short film Jammin' The Blues.

Praised for its artistic aesthetic and abstract narrative, it's become something of a touchpoint for 80s music video cinematography. It also highlighted the usefulness of a good video, with A&M co-founder Jeff Ayeroff commenting "With a good video, the return on your investment is phenomenal" off the back of its success.

8. Scorpions - Wind Of Change (1991)

Worldwide views: 721m

Scorpions’ greatest hit has variably been referenced as their Stairway To Heaven, their Freebird and their albatross. Inspired by the Scorpions’ performance at the 1989 Moscow Peace Festival, it did well enough to see the German hard rockers through the incoming grunge explosion. The rousing video, which chronicles the building and toppling of the Berlin Wall, interspersed with footage from German history (and obligatory moody band shots) didn't hurt its success a jot.

"Almost every act that came from where we did in the 80s got killed," vocalist Klaus Meine told Classic Rock in 2016. "If this album had been a flop, it could have easily been the end of us too. The success of Wind Of Change helped us survive."

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7. Bon Jovi - It's My Life (2000)

Worldwide views: 786m

From the albumCrush, this track is almost a rejuvenation of Bon Jovi's upbeat 80s philosophy. With writing help from Britney Spears collaborator Max Martin, Jovi reference the characters Tommy and Gina fromLivin’ On A Prayer – the video for which has only managed to amass 625m views, fact fans – while Richie Sambora brings back the talk box.

It all makes for an unexpected burst of effervescently convincing pop/rock, propped up by a dramatic, narrative-driven video spliced with slick live footage – all in all showing a band continuing their prime right on into the 21st century.

6. System Of A Down - Chop Suey! (2001)

Worldwide views: 904m

Within days of the release of their 2001 album Toxicity, System Of A Down began notching up airplay for the track Chop Suey! However, almost as soon as it was picked up, it was dropped by radio stations who found its lyrical references to ‘self-righteous suicide’ and dying angels too near-the-knuckle in the wake of 9/11.

Not that it did the video any harm. A raucous, fan-filled affair which sees the band perform the track to a heaving crowd in the open air, it's become the defining video of the MTV nu-metal era.

5. The Cranberries - Zombie (1994)

Worldwide views: 964m

Irish alt-rockers The Cranberries had enjoyed success with their sweet ballads, but this storming left-turn, Zombie – an incendiary, furious track about the bombings in Northern Ireland – made them massive. That was helped in no small part by the accompanying video, in which the late vocalist Dolores O'Riordan was painted gold and surrounded by silver-painted cherubs. It was inter-cut with documentary footage of soldiers and children on the streets of Northern Ireland, filmed by director Samuel Bayer, who also made the video for Nirvana’sSmells Like Teen Spirit– which is funny, considering what's up next in this list.

“I actually thought the director was very brave,” said O’Riordan at the time. “When he got back, he was pretty pumped – there was a lot of adrenalin pumping through him. He was telling me how tense it was and how he was blown away by the whole thing. He got footage of the kids jumping from one building to another, and he got a lot of footage of the army. He was a very good director.”

4. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

Worldwide views: 971 million

This infamous video is pretty much as famous as the song it accompanies, which is saying something. Shot at Culver City Studios in California on August 17, 1991, the fans in the video were all from a gig the band had done two days previously at The Roxy in West Hollywood. They gave out flyers there, inviting everyone to come along. But the climactic destruction at the video finale wasn’t choreographed – the fans were angry and fed up at the end of the shoot, which took over 12 hours, and they were allowed to go bananas and destroy the set.

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The video was inspired in part by the 1979 movie Over The Edge, a favourite of Cobain’s, and the cheerleaders were hired from a local strip club.

3. Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine (1987)

Worldwide views: 1 billion

Not the first Guns N' Roses video to hit the one billion views mark – you can find out more about that below – 1987 hit Sweet Child O' Mine has made records in its own right by becoming the first video from the 80s to surpass the big one bill point. Understated in its nature – mixing black and white footage of live performances with candid behind-the-scenes shots – it showed a slightly more thoughtful GN'R than we were used to. On the surface, at least.

At time of writing, the video has a whopping 1,003,493,902 views, which works out at an average of almost 600,000 views daily. Wild.

2. Imagine Dragons - Believer (2017)

Worldwide views: 1.2 billion

The fact that this is the only song and video released this decade says something about the massive appeal US rockers Imagine Dragons have across the world.

Many of the best Imagine Dragons songs are built from the beat up. Here, a simple handclap rhythm acts as a launchpad for a stadium-sized anthem with a drop-and-release chorus that hits like an industrial hammer. The video's pretty nifty, too, all psychedelic light displays and lasers, mirroring their live stage show and highly-curated visual aesthetic.

1. Guns N' Roses - November Rain (1992)

Worldwide views: 1.2 billion

Turns out GN'R have something of a monopoly in the old music video stakes. In 1992, Guns N’ Roses unveiled their epicNovember Rainvideo. It was, at the time, the most expensive promo ever made, costing the label $1.5 million. Geffen had to stump up $150,000 to build the white chapel in the desert alone. Taking into account the budget to get a helicopter to film aerial shots, Axl Rose’s velvety coat and the costs of staging a lavish wedding complete with a fake rainstorm, it’s no surprise to see how a band could burn through that amount of cheddar for a nine-minute mini-film.

Turns out it was an investment worth making, as nearly 30 years on the video broke records, becoming the first video from the 90s to reach one billion views. It's still the most-viewed rock music video of them all.

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What is the best rock music video of all time? ›

Are these the 20 Best Rock Music Videos of All-Time??
  • “ Sledgehammer”, Peter Gabriel (1986)
  • “ November Rain”, Guns N' Roses (1992)
  • “ Bohemian Rhapsody”, Queen (1975)
  • “ Gimme All Your Lovin'”, ZZ Top (1983)
  • “ We're Not Gonna Take It”, Twisted Sister (1984)
  • “ ...
  • “ ...
23 Feb 2022

What is the #1 music video of all time? ›

1. 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson.

What is the biggest rock hit of all time? ›

  1. 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix. ...
  2. 'Whole Lotta Love' by Led Zeppelin. ...
  3. 'Sympathy for the Devil' by The Rolling Stones. ...
  4. 'Under Pressure' by Queen & David Bowie. ...
  5. 'Baba O'Riley' by The Who. ...
  6. 'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd. ...
  7. 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. ...
  8. 'Funk #49' by the James Gang.

Who has the best rock voice of all time? ›

  • Chuck Berry. ...
  • Mick Jagger. ...
  • Paul McCartney. ...
  • Janis Joplin. ...
  • Elvis Presley. ...
  • Jimi Hendrix. ...
  • Freddie Mercury. Did rock and roll ever have a better showman than Freddie Mercury? ...
  • Bruce Springsteen. Bruce is the link between folk, '60s R&B, punk, and of course, rock and roll.
12 Nov 2015

What is the greatest song to ever exist? ›

Now, without further ado, here are the most famous songs and the most iconic songs of all time.
  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana. ...
  • “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson. ...
  • “Stayin' Alive” – Bee Gees. ...
  • “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor. ...
  • “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin. ...
  • “Sweet Child O'Mine” – Guns N' Roses.
11 Oct 2022

What is the 1 rock song of all time? ›

The Greatest EVER Rock Song
11 Nov 2019

What is the #1 most popular song of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Who is the biggest rock star alive? ›

Top 10 Richest Rock Stars in the World (2022)
PositionRock StarNet Worth
1Paul McCartney$1.2 Billion
2Bono$700 Million
3Bruce Springsteen$650 Million
4Jimmy Buffet$600 Million
6 more rows
27 Oct 2022

Who is the biggest rock legend? ›

1. Elvis Presley. Known as the king of rock'n'roll, Elvis Presley is the second best-selling solo artist of all time and has sold over 146.5 million units to date.

Who is the king of rock? ›

Elvis Presley is, quite simply, the King of Rock & Roll. In 1954, the performer kicked off a musical revolution by modernizing traditional genres such as blues, country and bluegrass for contemporary (and more youthful) audiences.

What are the top 3 songs of all time? ›

Top 10 Best Songs of All Time
  • 1 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen. ...
  • 2 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin. ...
  • 3 Imagine - John Lennon. ...
  • 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana. ...
  • 5 One - Metallica. ...
  • 6 Hotel California - Eagles. ...
  • 7 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd. ...
  • 8 Hey Jude - The Beatles.

Which is the fastest song to reach 300 million views? ›

BLACKPINK's “Pink Venom” Becomes Fastest K-Pop MV Of 2022 To Hit 300 Million Views. Just hours before their highly-anticipated comeback with “BORN PINK,” BLACKPINK's latest music video has soared past 300 million views!

What are the 5 most recorded songs of all time? ›

Here's 5 of the most covered songs in history
  • “Yesterday” by The Beatles. ...
  • “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. ...
  • “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones: ...
  • “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. ...
  • “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, sung by Judy Garland.
24 Mar 2022

What is the coolest rock song? ›

Best rock songs
  1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Stairway, denied. ...
  2. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. ...
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. ...
  4. Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. ...
  5. Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. ...
  6. Light My Fire by The Doors. ...
  7. Hotel California by Eagles. ...
  8. Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan.
24 Jul 2022

What song has made the most money? ›

In 1893, the Hill sisters needed a song for their kindergarten class to sing on birthdays. Fast forward 120 years and "Happy Birthday" is by far the richest and most profitable song of all time. The Ownership of "Happy Birthday" has changed hands a few times in the last 100 years.

Who is the #1 selling artist of all time? ›

Top-selling artists worldwide as of 2022. Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

Who is the goat of rock and roll? ›

Who is the real G.O.A.T.? According to majority of our listeners… The Greatest Of All Time is… LED ZEPPELIN!

Who is the king of heavy rock? ›

"There was only one king of rock 'n' roll = Elvis Presley. And there was only one KING of heavy rock music = Ronnie James Dio.

What is considered the greatest soundtrack of all time? ›

The best movie soundtracks of all time
  • Purple Rain (1984) ...
  • 24 Hour Party People (2002) ...
  • A Hard Day's Night (1964) ...
  • The Crow (1994) ...
  • Quadrophenia (1979) ...
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) ...
  • Pump Up The Volume (1990) ...
  • Submarine (2010)
27 Mar 2022

What is the most controversial music video of all time? ›

Top 5 Most Controversial Music Videos of All Time
  • 1. “ Like a Prayer” – Madonna.
  • 2. “ Famous” – Kanye West.
  • 3. “ Heart-Shaped Box” – Nirvana.
  • 4. “ Stan” – Eminem.
  • 5. “ Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke.
23 Jun 2022

What is the greatest rock song of all time and why? ›

Best rock songs
  • Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Stairway, denied. ...
  • Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. ...
  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. ...
  • Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. ...
  • Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. ...
  • Light My Fire by The Doors. ...
  • Hotel California by Eagles. ...
  • Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan.
24 Jul 2022

Which artist has the most videos with 1 billion views? ›

J Balvin Now Has the Most Videos in the Billion Views Club – Billboard.

What song was #1 for the longest time? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks.

What's the number one rock song in the world? ›

100 Greatest Rock Songs as voted by Planet Rock Listeners.
11.Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven (1991) [Single]
22.Queen Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are the Days of Our Lives (1991) [Single]
33.Lynyrd Skynyrd Free Bird / Sweet Home Alabama / Double Trouble (1976) [Single]
44.Deep Purple Smoke on the Water (1973) [Single]
119 more rows

What are the 3 most popular songs of all time? ›

The Top 10 Best-Selling Songs of All Time (at a glance)
  • “ WHITE CHRISTMAS” by Bing Crosby. ...
  • “ SHAPE OF YOU“ by Ed Sheeran. ...
  • “ DESPACITO“ by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. ...
  • “ CANDLE IN THE WIND” by Elton John. ...
  • “ SILENT NIGHT” ...
17 Sept 2022


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