Whitesnake, “Here I Go Again” (1987)
One of the most legendary hair band videos of the 1980s starred the late Tawny Kitaen as the ultimate car model, draping herself all over the hoods of two Jaguars as singer David Coverdale made sultry eyes at the camera. While we wouldn’t recommend doing a full splits across two luxury vehicles, distracting the driver by cooing in his ear or hanging out the window on the highway while he’s driving, Kitaen found a way to make it look cool.
The bearded Texas blues rockers had a mid-career blow-up in a series of 1983 videos starring a tricked-out 1933 Ford coupe hot rod with their logo splashed across its side that fueled a trio of visuals that made them MTV stars. Did it help that a trio of comely models in high heels and skimpy dresses were behind the wheel? Sure.
M.I.A. “Bad Girls” (2013)
This iconic clip shot in the Moroccan desert finds the singer hanging with a gang of women covered in head-to-toe designer niqab-style outfits while driving in the dust as groups of kaffiyeh-wearing men look on. Drifting, ghost-riding, spinning out, tilting up on two wheels and racing across the sandy expanse without a care, the clip appeared to be a commentary on the then-outlawed rights of women to drive in Saudi Arabia. Whatever it was meant to be, watching the women hold on to the doors and skate across the sand at high speeds and whip it in their neon-covered, slightly busted BMWs, Benzes and Peugeots is a helluva rush.
Gorillaz, “Stylo” (2010)
Bruce Willis tears up the blacktop in a classic cherry red 1969 Chevy El Camino as animated band members 2D, Murdoc and Noodle try to avoid his hail of .357 magnum shots in their dinged-up, bullet-strafed 1969 Camaro while a donut-eating cop tries to chase them all down, Steven McQueen-style.
Missy Elliott — “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)
Most people remember the black inflatable garbage bag outfit Elliott wore in this Hype Williams-directed visual. But don’t forget that Missy also hops into her tricked-out black Hummer for an eye-popping drive to the beach.
Sheryl Crow — “Steve McQueen” (2002)
Speaking of automotive acting legend McQueen, Crow puts on her driving leathers and recreates the iconic chase scene from McQueen 1968 action movie Bullitt in this thrilling clip. She climbs into a 1967 Mustang and races through the streets of San Francisco (okay, her stunt double did the driving, but still) against Dale Earnhardt Jr. while catching some serious air.
Jay-Z and Kanye West — “Otis” (2011)
In this Spike Jonze-directed clip for the song from the dynamic duo’s collaborative Watch the Throne album Jay and ‘Ye lay waste to a 2004 Maybach 57 with a blowtorch and a circular saw to the strains of their Otis Redding-sampling banger. Ripping off the top and doors, the hip-hop superstars rap in front of a giant American flag, throw up sparks dragging metal-tipped gloves on the ground and burn out in a parking lot with a bevy of models in the backseat of their definitely unsafe-at-any-speed whip.
Lady Gaga/Beyoncé — “Telephone” (2010)
The epic (nine-plus minute) mini-movie from the musical superstars is ostensibly a story about a bad girl (Gaga) getting sprung from prison by her homegirl (Bey) in serious style. And we’re not just talking about her killer ensemble. Queen Bey pulls up in the flame-licked iconic “P—y Wagon,” which Uma Thurman’s Bride character drove in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill 1.
Beastie Boys, “Sabotage” (1994)
Spike Jonze paid homage to classic cheesy 1970s crime shows in this which Nathan Wind (MCA), Vic Colfari (Ad-Rock) and Alasondro Alegré (Mike D) drive their lumbering sedans through garbage, slide and jump across their hoods, catch some air and pull off evasive maneuvers on city streets as they burn rubber in an attempt to catch Sir Stewart Wallace (also MCA) in the act.
Sammy Hagar, “I Can’t Drive 55” (1984)
Before he became the lead singer of Van Halen and an tequila-preneur, the Red Rocker was known for his ripping guitar skills and this solo hit, supposedly inspired by Hagar getting busted for driving seven miles over the then-national 55 m.p.h. speed limit in upstate New York, leading to him uttering the now-famous song title to the cop. The video was shot at the Saugus Speedway in Santa Clarita, California and it finds Hagar racing around in a black Ferarri BB512i before taking it out on a desert roadway to really let loose. “One foot on the break and one on the gas/ There’s too much traffic, I can’t pass,” he sings as he wears out the gearshift before getting hauled into court.
Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg, “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” (1992)
The visual for the legendary single from Dre’s debut solo album, The Chronic, was directed by the former N.W.A. rapper and opens with him arriving at Snoop’s house in his custom lowrider. After waking his buddy up they arrive at a barbecue where they join a horde of fellow auto enthusiasts bouncing and tilting their rides up on two wheels across L.A.
Rihanna, “Shut Up and Drive” (2007)
This Anthony Mandler-directed clip for the song with endless cars-as-sex metaphors opens with RihRih pulling up to a junkyard in her red Ferrari as a gang of female mechanics get to work in the warehouse full of tricked-out rides. And while it might look like a Fast and Furious outtake, even that gears-and-girls franchise never managed to pull off a sexy dance routine involving sensual car polishing in hot pants and low-cut jeans. There is, of course, a drag race as well, with Rihanna dropping the flag in her barely-there leather jacket and short-shorts outfit while singing, “‘Cause it’s 0 to 60 in 3.5/ Baby, you got the keys/ Now shut up and drive.”
Judas Priest, “Heading Out to the Highway” (1981)
The British metal legends start out the low budget video for this fist-raising anthem on a set painted to look like a two-lane desert road at dusk before singer Rob Halford sprints out to the middle of rural road to shout encouragement at his bandmates as they check their hair one last time before peeling out in their vintage hot rods.
OK GO, “Needing/Getting” (2012)
The band whose elaborately staged videos have turned into a decade-long excuse to indulge in wacky hijinks put the pedal to the metal in this Chevy-sponsored stunt clip. Outfitted in their driving jumpsuits and matching helmets, the quartet strum guitars, slam doors and speed through a specially designed track lined with instruments activated by paddles attached to the outside of their speeding Sonic.
Rick Ross, “Hustlin'” (2006)
Y0u could toss a handful of darts and hit any number of the Bawse’s clips that prominently feature top-dollar rides. But the firs single from Rozay’s debut Port of Miami album established his platinum-plated lifestyle by spotlighting classic cars and modern luxury vehicles cruising down Ocean Drive. In between shots of women in bikinis (and a lyrical shout out to “fast cars”), we see Rick rolling through the neighborhood in his custom white 745 BMW drawing looks of admiration and jealousy at the car wash where his switches up into a flashy convertible with purple racing paint and spinners.
Metallica ,”Fuel” (1998)
Metallica singer James Hetfield’s obsession with nitro-fueled race cars is given voice in the chrous to this single from the band’s seventh album, Reload: “Give me fuel, give me fire/ Give me that which I desire.” The visual pins the needle to red right away with a montage of smoking tires and revved-up tachometers to go with the galloping rhythm and overheated 1950s drag racing movie graphics. Alas, the street racers burn out and flip over, hardly keeping up with the band’s double-time playing.
Audioslave, “Show Me How to Live” (2003)
In a nod to the 1971 Cleavon Little cross-country high-speed chase flick Vanishing Point, singer Chris Cornell and the gang pile into a white Dodge Challenger and blast through police barricades, jump over ravines and send their pursuers tumbling into ditches in between clips of the original. Spoiler alert: It does not end well for them.
Jamiroquai, “Cosmic Girl” (1997)
The funk-loving, furry hat-wearing British dance pop singer with the need for speed and his crew fly through the Spanish desert in three legendary supercars (red and black Ferraris and a purple Lamborghini Diablo), with Jay Kay doing the one thing you never want to do while whipping around S-curves at terrifying velocity: singing and mugging for the dash cam.
Prince, “Sexy MF” (1992)
Though Prince’s undeniably funky Love Symbol album track and the singer’s golden handgun microphone are center stage in this clip, it’s his canary-yellow BMW 850i E31 that is the real star. As Prince gets funky in a hotel hallway, the late pop icon cools his heels by leaning, dancing and polishing his ride before giving his mic a devilish gunslinger spin and driving off.
Ludacris, “Rollout (My Business)” (2001)
In addition to little body-big head Luda, the other co-star in this clip is the rapper’s slick silver Mercedes SL-Class convertible sedan, which he pays homage to in several different lyrics (“We rollin’ on twenties, with the top back,” “Where’s you get hat matching Benz with them windows tinted?,” “Man, that car don’t come out until next year, where in the f–k did you get it?/ That’s $80,000 bucks gone, where in the f–k did you spend it?”). Luda makes sure to give it a quick polish as he heads into a shop for more bling and you better believe it helps him get attention from the ladies as he slow-rolls by.