Michael Jackson, ''Billie Jean'' (1983)
Gondry first saw the slick video for Thriller's second single on late-night French TV. ''Michael Jackson on this glowing floor — it was quite magical,'' he recalls
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzp0JETG0Pw (I got tired of searching for an embeddable version. Deal.)
Peter Gabriel, ''Sledgehammer'' (1986)
''At this time, Plasticine and puppet animation was out of fashion,'' says Gondry. ''This video showed you could do stuff yourself.''
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ''Give It Away'' (1991)
When he saw Stéphane Sednaoui's black-and-white clip, Gondry says he ''was devastated. It was too good. The contrast was so sharp, it looked like a new medium.''
Beastie Boys, ''Sabotage'' (1994)
For Gondry, ''the humor and sort of violence'' in this Spike Jonze–directed video reflects ''the band's edge. Spike's perfect for finding the right tone.''
Björk, ''It's Oh So Quiet'' (1995)
Gondry gets ''a little jealous'' when Björk works with other directors, but he digs Jonze's retro musical. ''It's light and energetic — very girly for her.''
Herbie Hancock, ''Rockit'' (1983)
The tongue-in-cheek clip tickles Gondry's own techno-geeky funny bone. Directed by the prolific duo Godley and Creme, it features retro-futuristic robots and crude papier mâché sculptures strutting around an apartment while Hancock appears on a TV screen, rocking out at the keyboards. ''It's funny — like a bunch of people sat down and said, 'Okay, how will the future sound? We're gonna do something that's like the future.' So it was the future created by the technology they had at the time. It's an interesting concept.''
Jean-Luc Ponty, ''Individual Choice'' (1983)
The French jazz-rock violinist's time-lapse view of New York City made a huge impression on young Gondry. ''It's not a revolutionary effect, but seeing that type of imagery on TV was pretty amazing.''
Talking Heads, ''Burning Down the House'' (1983)
''I like this one very much. I was in a band in the '80s [Oui Oui] and in spirit we were close to the Talking Heads — blurring the line between art and music, which always creates interesting territory to explore. Actually our band's singer, Etienne Charry, is doing the music for my films now.''
Téléphone, ''Un Autre Monde'' (1984)
Directed by the prolific Jean-Baptiste Mondino, this clip from the post-punk French rockers ''was a poetic way of seeing Paris at night — black and white with a nostalgic light.''
The Cure, ''Close to Me'' (1985)
Gondry loved that the Cure's longtime director Tim Pope was essentially ''part of the band. When I started to work with Björk, I was sort of imagining this type of relationship. This one, where they're in a closet playing instruments, is really my favorite. Tim Pope always did something innovative in his videos.''
New Order, ''Perfect Kiss'' (1985)
Gondry enjoys this simple clip which, directed by Jonathan Demme, finds the Mancunian band mates playing in a studio. ''It's very basic, and you feel they are playing live. It's a video that explains how you make music — like a documentary.''
Beastie Boys, ''Fight for Your Right to Party'' (1986)
Gondry still gets a kick out of the Beasties' homemade-looking clip for their parody of hair band party songs. ''It has humor. You didn't feel [they were] competing for the sleekest look.''
Run DMC featuring Aerosmith, ''Walk this Way'' (1986)
''It's the perfect illustration of how the sample was used. It told you, okay Run DMC recycled Aerosmith's music, but they [made] it new. They really took Aerosmith to the front of the scene. Eventually, Aerosmith became the kings of MTV thanks to Run DMC.''
Paul Simon, ''You Can Call Me Al'' (1986)
''Paul Simon and Chevy Chase — it was pretty funny,'' says Gondry. ''Simon is one of the best musicians around, but he has such a good sense of humor. It's sort of self-derogatory.''
Michael Jackson, ''Leave Me Alone'' (1987)
The video for the eighth single from Jacko's Bad is another animated favorite of Gondry's. ''It was really interesting: Michael Jackson in an [amusement] park, in a little boat. That was the good thing about MTV in the beginning: It was a place where you could see animation other than Walt Disney. I always liked animation and creative images.''
Madonna, ''Like a Prayer'' (1989)
''I'm not a big fan of Madonna,'' Gondry admits. Still, he thinks the story in this controversial clip, directed by frequent Madge collaborator Mary Lambert, ''felt genuine. It was a good take on racial problems. And she was pretty amazing-looking with her [dark brown] hair. At the end, the choir of religious people is all cliché. But it's effective.''
Tone Loc, ''Wild Thing'' (1989)
Reportedly made for a trifling $500, the black-and-white clip in which Tone Loc ''follows girls like a dog and two girls play the guitar like in Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love' video,'' gets top mark from Gondry. ''It was outrageous and funny and entertaining. The [Palmer] parody has been done in many videos, but it was so trashy in this one. It was perfect.''
Young MC, ''Bust a Move'' (1989)
''This was really funny. You had Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who was playing the bass, dressed in a costume made out of bears. It was before rap videos found the slick look that became hip-hop look in the late '90s. It was more like kids' college video.''
Massive Attack, ''Unfinished Sympathy'' (1991)
''It's one of the early one-shot videos,'' says Gondry of the Baillie Walsh-directed clip, in which Massive Attack member Shara Nelson sings to the camera while walking through a rough neighborhood on L.A.'s West Pico Boulevard. ''It just has something very dramatic about it, but actually nothing special happens. It carries the music and the music carries the video so well.'' (FTMFW)
Lenny Kravitz, ''Are You Gonna Go My Way?'' (1993)
To Gondry, the spectacle of Kravitz and his band playing furiously in an illuminated planetarium-like stadium makes for ''one of the most impactful videos ever. Mark Romanek directed it, and I think he reaches a maximum level of impact.'' (So is that an honorable mention for DMX's "What's My Name" video?)
Jamiroquai, ''Virtual Insanity'' (1996)
''The idea was very simple,'' says Gondry of the Jonathan Glazer-directed clip, which shows Jamiroquai frontman Jason ''Jay'' Kay grooving around a long, narrow room whose floor appears to be a giant conveyer belt. ''I thought it was really impressive. I've seen him on stage, and that's exactly the way he dances.''
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1YPDv5NmOw (Same old thing. Boo-urns.)
The Pharcyde, ''Drop'' (1996)
Yet another Spike Jonze joint, this one consists of footage of the L.A. hip-hoppers performing backwards. The Beastie Boys also make a cameo. ''There's sort of a softness in it that's really nice,'' says Gondry.
Aphex Twin, ''Come to Daddy'' (1997)
''It's the scariest video ever,'' says Gondry of the Chris Cunningham-directed clip that takes place in a washed-out, spooky urban housing development packed with an angry dog, a frightened old lady, and school children with adult faces. ''It's the spirit he creates: The kids are old people, they yell. It's really creepy.''
Devendra Banhart, ''A Ribbon'' (2004)
''It's very haunting: A ribbon comes through nature and ends up in a little house,'' says Gondry, who is friends with the video's director, Lauri Faggioni. ''It's very poetic.''
R. Kelly, ''Trapped in the Closet'' (2005)
Of Kelly's hilariously awful hip-hop opera, Gondry says: ''It's totally inappropriate and ridiculous, but very funny. You get really into it. He talks like he's trying to [be serious] while he's pointing the gun at the person. It makes no sense.''