Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat”
When Erykah Badu’s guerrilla-style music video premiered last week, the first lady of neo-soul shocked America with images of her disrobing in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza, where President Kennedy was assassinated. But perhaps most disturbing was the video’s ending showing—spoiler alert—Badu lying shot dead on the sidewalk. After a Texas woman lodged a complaint, police charged Badu with disorderly conduct, slapping her with a $500 fine. “My point was grossly misunderstood all over America,” Badu said on The Wanda Sykes Show via MTV. “JFK is one of my heroes, one of the nation's heroes… John F. Kennedy was a revolutionary; he was not afraid to butt heads with America, and I was not afraid to show America my butt-naked truth.”
Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”
Though Lady Gaga originally wrote “Telephone” for Britney Spears (also a fan of naked music videos), the newly crowned princess of pop decided to record it as a highly anticipated follow-up duet to “Video Phone” with Beyoncé. The Tarantino-inspired video, which premiered in March, includes a girl-on-girl kiss, an inmate dance sequence, a vehicle called the Pussy Wagon, and a stripped and helpless Gaga climbing on the prison bars with tape over her nipples and her genitals blurred. As the guards leave the new prisoner behind (at around the 1:10 mark), one comments on the rumors regarding the singer’s gender: “I told you she didn't have a dick.”
Britney Spears’ “Womanizer”
A decade after Britney Spears raised eyebrows by tying up her Catholic school girl shirt for her earliest music video “…Baby One More Time,” the pop star made eyeballs bulge with her comeback effort “Womanizer” in 2008. The video begins with Spears writhing in a steamy sauna setting, legs and arms strategically placed to hide her naughtiest bits to prove that she was back in shape. “I knew that the whole world would be watching,” director Joseph Kahn said, “So I wanted something in there that stated, ‘This is Britney, this is why you should respect her.’”
Robbie Williams’ “Rock DJ”
While few things could make nudity unsexy, British pop star Robbie Williams managed to reveal himself in all is gory instead of glory for the 2000 “Rock DJ” video. The video begins with Williams surrounded by a bevy of scantily-clad roller disco girls; but his eyes are on the female DJ standing above circular rink. When taking off his white tank top and jeans doesn’t win her over, he goes even further. And when that fails, he begins ripping off his skin, muscles, and organs until Williams is bare boned. The bloody video concludes with the warning, “No Robbies were Harmed During the Making of this Video.”
Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U”
Thank Alanis Morissette’s incredibly long signature locks of hair for preventing the world from seeing her breasts in the 1998 video “Thank U.” Upon returning from a trip to India, the singer wrote the track that would soon be accompanied by a music video featuring her naked body, blurred crotch and all, being embraced by strangers in public locations from street intersections to supermarkets. After hearing director Stéphane Sednaoui’s concept about being open and comfortable, Morissette reportedly said, “You know what? I would love to be naked in that video,” to which Sednaoui replied (as he told Entertainment Weekly), “Wow! Fantastic! That's great.”
Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again”
The three pop punk amigos of Blink 182 may have fooled MTV audiences into believing they bared all while running through the street naked for the 1999 music video “What’s My Age Again?” but in actuality, for the majority of the video, they were covered. “We wore skin-colored Speedos for most of the scenes and when we were running, I realized how unattractive male genitals are,” frontman Mark Hoppus told NYRock.com. “Everything dangling and such. I didn't think I could be embarrassed easily, but I really was.”
Lisa Stansfield’s “Never Never Gonna Give You Up”
Lisa Stansfield’s 1997 cover of Barry White’s "Never Never Gonna Give You Up” was accompanied by an attention-grabbing video of the British-born singer. Though she begins in a typically seductive music video scene—in the bathtub—Stansfield (at the 1:15 mark) decides to get up and leave her apartment without so much as a towel. Angrily marching down the street in slow motion, men ogle her naked body until Stansfield finds a black button down to cover up.
D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does it Feel)”
A little bit lower now would have been a lot problematic for D’Angelo’s notorious 200 video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” The single-shot video solely consists of the incredibly muscular R&B artist spinning from the torso up, lip-synching to the seductive track about a man essentially begging to get his lover into bed. But the singer wasn’t exactly pleased with the attention the barely there video earned him—QuestLove, who produced the album “Untitled” appeared on, later revealed D’Angelo didn’t want to be a sex god. “He doesn’t want the pressure of being ‘Untitled’ the video,” QuestLove told Believer Magazine.
Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film”
Though the initial release of “Girls on Film” failed to generate much attention, the men of Duran Duran had the genius idea to capitalize on a new medium to grab the audience’s interest. The British rockers did not strip down for the camera themselves, but did use naked girls for the single’s music video, which was released in 1981, the summer MTV itself launched. Amidst the women in a series of fetishized situations—from S & M to lesbianism—in the six-minute video is one model reclining on a chair completely nude, using a blow dryer on herself before going to a close-up of her rubbing ice cubes on her nipples. Is it any wonder Duran Duran is still around 30 years later?