There aren’t that many music videos that feature nudity. There’s a few that hint at it, but I wanted to make a list of vids that really went for it - full frontal nude scenes with the musicians or models really having to go naked. So here’s my top 10 list.
Girls On Film - Duran Duran
This video made huge waves in 1981 due to it’s depiction of topless women mud-wrestling. The BBC banned it while MTV opted for heavy editing. The controversy helped Duran Duran reach the top of the charts. Girls On Film is considered to be the first example of nudity in a music video so it deserves a place in this list.
Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
This is the banned version and it’s quite a thing to watch - leather boys, guys in drag, simulated anal sex and a very, very fat man who strips off his toga (aargh, my eyes!). This video was cleary too gay for 1984 which is why they made a whole other, tamer version.
Path of Thorns - Sarah McLachlan
In this video from 1991 the Canadian singer sings naked although her modesty is protected by deep shadows and her hands across her breasts. “The idea of nudity is simply the closest way to be pure and real and honest,” she once told a fan “and that’s what Iâ€™m trying to portray in my music.” She’s also appeared naked and smothered in mud in another video, Into The Fire.
Closer - Nine Inch Nails
Offers full frontal female nudity near the start, plus plenty of bizarre, kinky and downright scary visuals. The video was directed by Mark Romanek. MTV heavily censored it but the song still went to number 1.
Erotica - Madonna
This video features images filmed during the photo shoot for Madonna’s book Sex. There’s the odd glimpse of a breast here and there, plus a whole swathe of kneeling naked men. The final shot features Madonna standing naked on the side of the road, hitchhiking.
Livin’ On The Edge - Aerosmith
The start of this video features the rather disconcerting image of Steven Tyler stark naked, half covered in body paint and holding his privates in one hand. It took five hours to get him made up. “I was embarrassed to hell,” he said. “I got naked and held myself in.” Livin’ on the Edge indeed. The video also features Terminator 2’s Edward Furlong.
Thank U - Alanis Morissette
“Courageous” might be the best word to describe Alanis’ appearance in this video. She’s pale, wide-hipped and vulnerable, her long hair covering her breasts. The final scene sees her standing naked in a street with her nether regions blurred. Apparently a whole city block had to be closed down to film the video. This song features the lyric: “Thank you, terror.” Now there’s a sentiment you don’t hear anymore.
By the way, check out French and Saunders spoof of the song, complete with wandering merkin.
What’s My Age Again - Blink 182
The band streak through the streets and yes, they are naked, except for the bit with the little girl and her magnifying glass. Apparently the guys wore Speedos at that point.
Rock DJ - Robbie Williams
Robbie strips naked and then goes further, ripping off his skin and muscles until he’s a skeleton. As usual, the clip was censored in the US and Europe. perhaps more for its gruesome quality than its nudity.
Get Naked - Method of Mayhem
“Gratuitous” doesn’t even begin to describe how much nudity is in this video, although it’s all done in the best possible taste, what with pixels, shadows, black lines and the sun shining out of Tommy Lee’s ass. This video is more like soft porn and makes Duran Duran’s efforts look like high art. Still, it should be included here as the end point to my top 10 list.
But wait, there’s more. I didn’t want to stop at 10, so here’s a couple more.
Bonus Video - Red Hot Chili Peppers
The guys haven’t ever made a music video naked but they are famous for appearing on stage nude except for socks… on their cocks. Here they are doing it in front of thousands of people. Classic.
Bonus Video: Just Lose It - Eminem
Aside from parodying Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pee Wee Herman and MC Hammer, Eminem does a nude street run and the camera dips low enough for pixels to be required. A cameraman said of the nude shoot: : “He wasn’t shy in stripping off, despite all the people on set. He even remained naked during the breaks in filming and messed about with us all. And remember, it was freezing.”