From Madonna to Michael Jackson: The '80s Music Videos Quiz



By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Way back in the '80s, things called "music videos" were shown on TV. Some were seriously weird; some were forgettable; and some were classics that we still talk about today. What's your '80s music video IQ? Take this quiz to find out.

What was the first video played on MTV?

The one-hit wonder "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles was the very first video on MTV.


What was the date the first video played?

MTV hit the air at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1, 1981.


Which video got Madonna into hot water with the Catholic church for "blasphemous imagery"?

"Like a Prayer," with burning crosses and Madonna making out with a black saint, really touched off a firestorm in 1989.


According to a 2011 Billboard poll, what was the best video of the '80s?

The legendary "Thriller" video took the prize.


Which video won the first MTV Video Music Award (VMA) for best video, in 1984?

The Cars' wacky "You Might Think" video was the inaugural winner, beating out "Thriller."


What major '80s video featured a technique called rotoscoping?

The iconic "Take on Me" by a-ha looked like an animated pencil drawing.


Which artist won the Video Vanguard Award and video of the year at the 1987 VMAs?

Peter Gabriel and Justin Timberlake are the only two artists to have achieved this feat.


Which Peter Gabriel video won video of the year in 1987?

The stop-motion, Claymation "Sledgehammer" video won nine VMAs in 1987.


Which Prince video shows him singing in the bathtub?

A naked Prince lip-synchs suggestively from a steaming claw-foot tub in "When Doves Cry."


Which Robert Palmer video does NOT feature a red-lipped, black-clad girl "band"?

"Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible," with the all-babe band, have to be two of the most '80s of all '80s videos.


For this video, the obscure British band Godley & Creme used the same face-morphing technique as Michael Jackson's "Bad."

Godley & Creme were a very minor one-hit wonder with the song "Cry," but they were also video directors — and this one is a classic.


INXS won the 1988 video of the year VMA for this Bob Dylan-inspired clip.

The "Mediate" section of the video featured the band displaying the lyrics on large cards, a la Bob Dylan in "Subterranean Homesick Blues."


Duran Duran traveled to Sri Lanka for this big-budget video.

The "Hungry Like the Wolf" video features Duran Duran romping through the Sri Lankan jungle.


Which band's "Land of Confusion" video featured grotesque puppets of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan?

The members of Genesis were also made into puppets for the video.


Which unlikely artist beat out Michael Jackson for video of the year in 1989?

Neil Young's "This Note's for You," a critique of corporate sponsorship of rock music that was banned from MTV for a time, was the winner in 1989.


In which of these videos does Chevy Chase NOT appear?

Unfortunately, Chase did not don '80s-style exercise gear in Olivia Newton-John's "Physical."


Which of these videos is NOT in black and white?

Belinda Carlisle was in full color for "Heaven Is a Place on Earth."


Which comic actor can be seen singing in the chorus in the "We Are the World" video?

According to the video's producers, Aykroyd was in the video to represent Hollywood.


According to VH1's "Pop-Up Video" show, Madonna has a blink-and-you-miss-it wardrobe malfunction in this video.

Madonna apparently pops out of her strapless top very briefly in "Papa Don't Preach."


Which Wham! video features George Michael dancing around in a "choose life" T-shirt?

George Michael also sports some yellow fingerless gloves and very short shorts in "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."


What's the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers "Alice in Wonderland" video?

There are some seriously creepy moments in "Don't Come Around Here No More."


Who plays the caterpillar in that video?

Dave Stewart shows up on a mushroom early in the video.


How long is the full-length "Thriller" video?

"Thriller" clocks in at 13 minutes.


What's the most-played video ever?

The aforementioned "Sledgehammer" has been played more than any other.


In which video does Steven Tyler of Aerosmith kick through a wall to meet with another band?

In the "Walk This Way" video, Steven Tyler hears Run-DMC jamming on the other side of a wall and busts through it.


Which Madonna video is based on the classic film "Metropolis"?

"Express Yourself" director David Fincher was inspired by the stylized industrial look of the 1927 film.


This animated video won the video of the year VMA in 1986.

Dire Straits went full animation for "Money for Nothing."


How many video of the year VMAs did Michael Jackson win?

Unbelievably, Michael Jackson never won video of the year, and he was nominated three times for "Thriller," "Scream" and "Leave Me Alone."


Milton Berle appears as a dinner party guest in a video by this hair metal band.

Berle and the other guests are beyond shocked when Ratt's guitarist suddenly drops through the ceiling onto their dinner table.


What was the first rap video that aired on MTV?

Perhaps Blondie's "Rapture" would be better described as a "song that includes rap" instead of an actual rap song, but no mind.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!