The History of the World in 15 Music Videos


Even before the advent of videos, pop music did a decent job of educating the youth. As Bruce Springsteen sang on “No Surrender,” he and his fellow baby boomers “learned more from a three-minute record” than they ever did in school. The Boss is a sharp guy, but had he come of age in the MTV era, he’d be about a hundred times smarter.

That’s because once videos took hold, well-meaning musicians finally had the ideal forum for disseminating their wisdom and molding young minds. One subject that rock and pop stars have always excelled in is, of course, world history. Thanks to YouTube, someone with virtually no knowledge of the past can watch a series of music videos and get a pretty good understanding of what’s been going down on Planet Earth for the last, eh, 4.5 billion years.

What follows is a narrative of world history based on 15 music videos. It’s a fair and balanced journey through the centuries, and according to math skills we’ve also picked up from pop music, it’s 93 percent accurate. Let the learning begin.