What are the most-viewed music videos from the 80s and 90s on YouTube?

This one caught me by surprise. Guns N’ Roses hold records for both decades.

If we look at the 1980s, the Gunners are on top with “Sweet Child O’ Mine” with just over 694,000,000 views the last time I checked. No other music video from the 80s comes close.

The band also holds the record for the 90s video with the most views. “November Rain” just cleared the 1 billion mark, making it the first pre-YouTube era video to hit that milestone.

Both are ancillary results of the band’s reunion for the Not in This Lifetime Tour, a neverending roadtrip that has so far grossed nearly $500 million US.

If we break things down, “November Rain”–a 26-year-old clip–averaged 560,000 views per day through 2017.

Another interesting stat: 83% of the views of Guns N’Roses are outside the US, led by Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.  But let’s not get too excited because “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi is at 5.32 billion views and climbing.

The other big videos from those pre-YouTube days in the 90s are The Cranberries, “Zombie” with 738,000,000 views and Nirvana’s “Smell Like Teen Spirit” with 727,000,000.

Read more at Forbes.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “What are the most-viewed music videos from the 80s and 90s on YouTube?

  • February 24, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    “No other music video from the 80s comes close.” Was any research done before making this statement? I did no research, but checked one song, and A-ha’s “Take on me” comes pretty damn close. Also, ever been “Rick-rolled?”


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