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For the past 30 years, the MTV Video Music Awards have honored those few lucky artists at the very center of pop culture — performers who have the power (and the budgets) to make a lasting impact with their music videos.
But there have still been a few VMA winners who fell completely off the map after nabbing their coveted Moonmen. Like, for example...Herbie Hancock, "Rockit"
It's unfathomable how Herbie Hancock managed to score "Best Concept Video" (it used to be a thing) over Michael Jackson, who was nominated for "Thriller." But he also picked up awards for Best Special Effects in a Video, Best Art Direction in a Video, and Best Editing in a Video at the first-ever awards in 1984. Herbie's had a pretty solid career since the mid-'80s, but not on MTV. Glenn Frey, "Smuggler's Blues"
Don Henley wasn't the only member of the Eagles to enjoy solo success. Once upon a time, Glenn Frey was a video star, winning the 1985 VMA for "Best Concept Video" for his Miami Vice-themed music video for "Smuggler's Blues," which features way too mani Hawaiian shirts to handle.Art of Noise, "Close (to the Edit)"
There's pretty much no chance you've ever seen this music video unless you were alive and had cable in the first half of the '80s. Still, it was a huge success at the 1985 VMAs, picking up "Most Experimental Video" (another defunct category) and Best Editing in a Video.
The Art of Noise also won a Breakthrough Video VMA in 1989 for their cover of "Kiss" featuring Tom Jones.Robbie Nevil, "C'est La Vie"
In 1987, the music video for Robbie Nevil's lone hit "C'est La Vie" won a Video Music Award for Best Cinematography. Chances are you don't remember the song or the video. Nevil has since made a name for himself writing songs for Disney productions like High School Musical
and Hannah Montana
This Best Special Effects in a Video winner from 1988 is a nice reminder of how far we've come. The British band is still together and planning a new album.Michael Penn, "No Myth"
Michael Penn's non-musical brother Sean has probably seen more airtime on MTV than he has in the past several decades, but in 1990 he won the VMA for Best New Artist following the success this video.Jesus Jones, "Right Here Right Now"
English rockers Jesus Jones vanished from the U.S. charts soon after the sudden success of "Right Here Right Now," despite their very marketable image (those hats! that hair! the earrings!). Still, the band got a Video Music Award for Best New Artist in a Video in 1991.Arrested Development, "People Everyday"
In 1992, Arrested Development picked up the award for Best Rap Video for "Tennessee" over a number of one-hit wonders (Kris Kross, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and Sir Mix-a-Lot), which was reasonable. But it's crazy that the hip-hop collective beat out Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" the following year with "People Everyday."Coolio, "Gangsta's Paradise"
Back in 1996, Coolio scored the VMAs for Best Rap Video, Best Dance Video (for "1,2,3,4 (Sumpin' New"), and Best Video from a Film. Does anyone know what he's been up to lately?Jamiroquai, "Virtual Insanity"
Yes, Jamiroquai had one of the coolest videos of the late '90s and fully deserved to win Video of the Year, Breakthrough Video, Best Special Effects in a Video, and Best Cinematography in a Video. But can you name any other Jamiroquai songs? That's what I thought.Natalie Imbruglia, "Torn"
Aussie singer Natalie Imbruglia won the Video Music Award for Best New Artist in a Video in a particularly one-hit-wonder-y year, narrowly edging out the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Chumbawamba, Fastball, and Mase.Sisqó, "Thong Song"
Apparently the "Thong Song" was hip-hop enough to win Best Hip-Hop Video at the 2000 VMAs. Jet, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
Jet's Iggy Pop tribute was their one and only hit, and scored the Australian band a VMA for Best Rock Video (edging out superior fellow Aussie one-hit wonders The Darkness) in 2004.James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"
The sappiest song of 2006 scored two Video Music Awards: Best Male Video and Best Cinematography in a Video. It was a big hit with moms, too.