Music News

Five National Music Videos Shot in Arizona

Believe it or not, Arizona's a hot spot for shooting music videos -- and we don't just mean literally hot, but conceptually, too. I mean, where else could a pre-slutty Britney Spears pontificate on her virginity from a cliff top overlooking green waters or Paul McCartney pretend to be an unknown club singer in some podunk Western town?

From school buses exploding in the desert to fierce Phoenix storms, here are five music videos by popular artists (spanning 25 years) filmed in Arizona.

Britney Spears: "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" (2002)

filmed in Antelope Canyon, Arizona
This winsome pop ballad captures the confusion of prepubescence, though it was penned by Dido, who's nearly 40 now. But at the time, Spears was still a bright-eyed, growing pop star who had everybody speculating about her virginity, so it worked. Check out Britney Spears' ripped abs and belly button ring artistic interpretation of reluctant lust filmed in Antelope Canyon, near Page.

Read more after the jump...

Wendy & The Plasmatics: "The Damned" (1982) 
filmed at a remote location in the Arizona desert 
The most awesome music video ever shot in Arizona, "The Damned" features late punk-metal priestess Wendy O. Williams driving a school bus through a giant wall of TVs, setting a timed dynamite bomb in the bus, climbing atop the still-moving bus, and jumping off right before the bus crashes through a second giant wall of TVs and explodes into enormous flames. There are no digital effects or tricks -- Williams really did the stunts, and as is necessary with giant explosions, got everything right the first and only time. They don't make music videos like this anymore (or performers like Williams).

Sufjan Stevens: "The Age of Adz" (2010)
filmed in the Arizona desert
On October 5, 2010, Phoenix was rocked by five tornadoes, a hail storm, and a ton of rain. Images of the simultaneously devastating and beautiful aftermath circulated around the Internet for a while, but folk-rock artist Sufjan Stevens immortalizes some of the most gorgeous, dew-dropped desert shots with his mellow voice and soothing melody.

Sufjan Stevens - Futile Devices Music Video from Freddie Paull on Vimeo.

Paul McCartney: "Stranglehold" (1986)
filmed in Amado, Arizona
You may be asking, "Where the hell is Amado, Arizona?" Well, according to legend (and well, Wikipedia), Amado's a town waaay down at the Southern tip of Arizona, in Santa Cruz County. The reported census population in 2000 was 275 people, so we're talking about an almost-ghost town. But it's very much alive in this video, which tells the story of a young boy desperately trying to get in the bar where Paul McCartney (playing somebody far less known than Paul McCartney) is performing with his band, to a packed house of small-town cowboys.

The Tragically Hip: "Gift Shop" (1996)
filmed in Sedona, Arizona
Canadian band The Tragically Hip is only moderately hip, but this black-and-white music video shot in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona elevates them to pretty darn hip.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea