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MTV VMAs 2016: Every Video Of The Year Winner EVER

From INXS and Sinéad O'Connor to Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus.

22/08/2016 14:28
Vevo

The MTV Video Music Awards are undoubtedly one of the high-points in the showbiz calendar, where some of the most iconic performances and outrageous antics in recent pop culture history have taken place.

If Lady Gaga has a meat dress to wear, she saves it for the VMAs. If Madonna wants to snog Britney Spears, she saves it for the VMAs. And if Kanye West wants to announce he’s planning on running for President in 2020, he saves that for the VMAs too.

However, while the stars’ controversial behaviour sometimes outshines the awards themselves, a VMA is still very much a coveted addition to any popstar’s trophy cabinet, with the Video Of The Year prize being the most prestigious category on the night.

Following the awards’ inaugural year in 1984, past winners have included huge artists from across different genres including Aerosmith, Madonna, Eminem and TLC.

Here are all the videos that have won the prize since then...

  • 1 The Cars - 'You Might Think' (1984)
    The very first VMAs were held in 1984, with The Cars snagging the top honour of the night. We're not saying they didn't deserve it, but they were up against 'Thriller'. Actual 'Thriller' didn't win a VMA.

    Moving on.
  • 2 Don Henley - 'Boys Of Summer' (1985)
    .
    The awards' sophomore saw David Lee Roth nominated twice for Video Of The Year, alongside 'We Are The World'.

    It was Don Henley who snagged the big prize, though, with a video that, sadly, isn't on YouTube, so here's a still of him frolicking on the beach with a nice lady.
  • 3 Dire Straits - 'Money For Nothing' (1986)
    1986 was a tough year in the Video Of The Year category. This colourful and energetic offering triumphed over Aha's 'Take On Me', Robert Palmer's 'Addicted To Love' and Talking Heads' 'Road To Nowhere'.
  • 4 Peter Gabriel - 'Sledgehammer' (1987)
    Not the only sledgehammer to win a VMA, as Miley Cyrus later found out with 'Wrecking Ball' (spoiler alert).
  • 5 INXS - 'Need You Tonight'/'Meditate' (1988)
    INXS's impressive 'Need You Tonight' video was the VMAs' first double-headed winner, as the clip segues into another of their songs, 'Meditate'.

    That year's category also featured two offerings from U2, alongside George Harrison's 'When We Was Fab' and Bruce Springsteen's 'Tunnel Of Love'.
  • 6 Neil Young - 'This Note's For You' (1989)
    We're sure this felt like the right choice at the time... but is this really better than Michael Jackson's 'Leave Me Alone' and Madonna's 'Like A Prayer', both of which were nominated in 1989?
  • 7 Sinéad O'Connor - 'Nothing Compares 2 U' (1990)
    Sinéad was the first ever female winner of the Video Of The Year at the MTV VMAs, taking the prize for this iconic video.

    She beat Madonna's 'Vogue', Aerosmith's 'Janie's Got A Gun' and Don Henley's 'The End Of Innocence'.
  • 8 R.E.M. - 'Losing My Religion' (1991)
    Religious iconography, stripped-back sets and some questionable hair choices made sure it was in the bag for R.E.M. in 1991.
  • 9 Van Halen - 'Right Now' (1992)
    It was a rock-heavy category in 1992, with Van Halen getting the coveted Moon Man over Nirvana, Def Leppard and Red Hot Chill Peppers.
  • 10 Pearl Jam - 'Jeremy' (1993)
    We're still not really sure what this one's all about, to be honest with you.
  • 11 Aerosmith - 'Cryin' (1994)
    A pre-'Clueless' Alicia Silverstone won Aerosmith the gong back in 1994.
  • 12 TLC - 'Waterfalls' (1995)
    Gun crime, drug abuse and HIV were the important themes of the 'Waterfalls' music video, which won Video Of The Year in 1995 over Michael and Janet Jackson, Weezer and Green Day.
  • 13 The Smashing Pumpkins - 'Tonight, Tonight' (1996)
    This surreal effort won rockers The Smashing Pumpkins the Moon Man in 1996.
  • 14 Jamiroquai - 'Virtual Insanity'
    That is one big hat.
  • 15 Madonna - 'Ray Of Light' (1998)
    Where 'Vogue', 'Like A Prayer' and 'Justify My Love' all failed, 'Ray Of Light' succeeded, winning Madonna her first Video Of The Year.
  • 16 Lauryn Hill - 'Doo-Wop (That Thing)' (1999)
    This split-screen offering from Lauryn Hill was the winner in 1999, over Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, Will Smith and Korn.
  • 17 Eminem - 'The Real Slim Shady' (2000)
    Clock that Kathy Griffin cameo.
  • 18 Christina Aguilera et al. - 'Lady Marmalade' (2001)
    Already one of the most iconic music videos of the 21st century... it had to be a winner, didn't it?
  • 19 Eminem - 'Without You' (2002)
    Eminem became the first artist to ever win Video Of The Year twice thanks to this playful effort.
  • 20 Missy Elliott - 'Work It' (2003)
    Oh YES, Missy.
  • 21 OutKast - 'Hey Ya!' (2004)
    All that shaking it like a Polaroid picture paid off for OutKast, who won Video Of The Year over Usher, Britney Spears, Jay Z and D12 in 2004.
  • 22 Green Day - 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' (2005)
    Things took a slightly more somber turn in 2005, when Green Day bagged the award for 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams'.
  • 23 Panic! At The Disco - 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' (2006)
    Top hats! Masks! Cake! It's all going on.
  • 24 Rihanna - 'Umbrella' (2007)
    The song that launched Rihanna to mega-star status also landed her a Video of The Year win for the first time.
  • 25 Britney Spears - 'Piece Of Me' (2008)
    Given that she's arguably the Queen of the VMAs, it's surprising Britney's first Video Of The Year win wasn't until almost a decade into her career (and one year after that divisive 'Gimme More' performance).

    'Toxic', '...Baby One More Time', 'Stronger' and 'I'm A Slave 4U' all failed to bag Video Of The Year despite their cast iron place in pop history, so it's surprising that one of her least memorable efforts managed it.

    Still, we're happy for BritBrit.
  • 26 Beyoncé - 'Single Ladies' (2009)
    And just as well, too! Who knows how Kanye would have reacted if Beyoncé hadn't won?
  • 27 Lady Gaga - 'Bad Romance' (2010)
    An award she collected wearing a meat dress, back when it looked like she could do literally no wrong.
  • 28 Katy Perry - 'Firework' (2011)
    The question is... do you ever feel like a plastic bag?
  • 29 Rihanna and Calvin Harris - 'We Found Love'
    Rihanna's second time scooping Video Of The Year, she won out over M.I.A.'s 'Bad Girls', Katy Perry's 'Wide Awake' and Drake (feat. herself)'s 'Take Care'.
  • 30 Justin Timberlake - 'Mirrors' (2013)
    JT's eight-minute 'Mirrors' video was the undeniable choice for the prize in 2013 (and we're not just saying that because it was up against 'Blurred Lines').

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