What does it take to turn a music video into a mega hit? You need a sensational song and dynamic choreography, of course, but you also need beautiful people. That’s why bands routinely enlist the help of A-list actors and actresses to help bring their vision to the small screen. Turn up your speakers as we look at 10 hit videos featuring bona fide television stars.
Courteney Cox (“Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen)
Courteney Cox was still a complete unknown in 1984 when she was handpicked by acclaimed director Brian De Palma to star in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” video. Sporting tight blue jeans and a sleeveless tour t-shirt, the future Friends star played a wide-eyed fan who was invited onstage to boogie with the Boss. Unbeknownst to Cox, her self-conscious dance moves would become part of television history several years later when actor Alfonso Ribeiro began using them as the basis of his hilarious “Carlton Dance” on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
David Boreanaz (“White Flag” – Dido)
Nearly every woman in the world wanted to have David Boreanaz as a boyfriend back in 2003, so it’s hardly surprising that the Angel star was cast as Dido’s brooding love interest that year in her video for “White Flag.” His appearance ensured the video got plenty of airplay and helped Dido sell more than five million copies of the single worldwide.
Chevy Chase (“You Can Call Me Al” – Paul Simon)
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That was Paul Simon’s thinking in 1986 after seeing the original music video for “You Can Call Me Al.” Shot at 30 Rock, the video featured Simon performing the song during one of his many appearances on Saturday Night Live. Although the audio quality was superb, Simon felt the video needed more of a hook, so he enlisted the help of his friend (and SNL alumnus) Chevy Chase. Together they performed a kind of musical skit in which Chase lip synced the lyrics while a visibly deflated Simon went back and forth thanklessly schlepping instruments. The revamped video played a large role in the song’s success and it went on to become a huge hit in the U.S. and Europe.
Michael J. Fox (“Stick Around” – Julian Lennon)
There are few videos that transport you back to the 1980s faster than Julian Lennon’s “Stick Around.” Released in 1986, the video features Saturday Night Live’s Joe Piscopo as a beefed up jock and Michael J. Fox as a pizza delivery man who gets to frolic on the singer’s bed with a trio of bikini babes. Jam-packed with teased hair, artfully-ripped jeans and inflatable furniture, this four-minute clip stands on its own as a time capsule to a bygone era.
Jerry Springer (“David Duchovny” – Bree Sharp)
You’d be hard pressed to find more star power in a single clip than in Bree Sharp’s “David Duchovny” video. Written in honour of The X-Files star, this five-minute homage features more than a dozen celebrities lip-syncing her lyrics including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Whoopi Goldberg, Gillian Anderson, Jenna Elfman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jane Leeves and Alex Trebek. As entertaining as their cameos may be, it’s Jerry Springer’s appearance at the very end that really takes the cake. Appearing on the set of his talk show, the self-proclaimed Sultan of Salaciousness references Barbra Streisand, Gary Coleman and satanic lesbians before making an impassioned plea for Duchovny to love him. It’s ridiculous, over-the-top and absolutely perfect.
Elisha Cuthbert (“Perfect Situation” – Weezer)
How do you ensure that your music video becomes a hit? You cast Elisha Cuthbert in it, of course. The Calgary native had just been named one of the 100 sexiest women in the world by FHM when she was selected to play the lead singer of a fictional band in Weezer’s “Perfect Situation” video. The inspired bit of casting was well received by fans and propelled the song to the top of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks for four weeks.
Zooey Deschanel (“She’s Got Issues” – The Offspring)
Zooey Deschanel was still two years removed from her breakthrough role in Almost Famous when she was selected to play a highly unstable young woman in The Offspring’s “She’s Got Issues” video. Typical of many of the roles she’s played since, Deschanel’s character in the video possessed a vivid imagination, an offbeat perspective and, of course, a wickedly quirky sense of humour. “My character in this video is a girl who’s sort of stuck in a uniform, pedestrian, plain world who has a very vivid imagination,” she told MTV at the time. “Mainly she’s just a cool girl stuck in a place where they aren’t a lot of cool people.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Sour Girl” – Stone Temple Pilots)
Stone Temple Pilots only had one song reach the Billboard Hot 100, and its video starred Sarah Michelle Gellar. Coincidence? We think not. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer star was at the height of her popularity in 2000 when she appeared in the trippy video as a bizarrely costumed goth chick who morphs into a blonde goddess.
Matt LeBlanc (“Miracle” – Bon Jovi)
Matt LeBlanc and Jon Bon Jovi were both in the early stages of their careers in 1990 when the two heartthrobs combined forces on the music video for “Miracle.” Created for the blockbuster film Young Guns II, the video featured the two stars as a pair of badass bikers who roll into a Mexican town. Once there, Bon Jovi finds plenty of chances to flaunt his abundance of chest hair while LeBlanc falls in love with a beautiful senorita whose hair is only a little less perfect than his own. It’s a little like the cover of a Harlequin novel came to life, and it helped the song chart at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Mila Kunis (“Jaded” – Aerosmith)
When it came time to cast the lead in their video for “Jaded” one of the most famous bands from the 1970s chose one of the most famous actresses from That ’70s Show. Dressed in a gorgeous ballgown, Mila Kunis played a sullen prima donna who had been rendered numb by the opulence that engulfed her. The lavish video was a hit with fans and critics alike and was named Best Hard Rock Clip of the Year at the 2001 Billboard Music Video Awards.