Madonna tops MTV's list of groundbreaking videos

The controversial music video for Madonna's hit song Like a Prayer, which even drew criticism for its use of burning crosses and use of Catholic imagery, has topped a list of "groundbreaking" videos.

The controversial 1989 video for Madonna's hit song Like a Prayer, which drew criticism for its use of burning crosses and use of Catholic imagery, has toppedMTV'slist of groundbreaking videos.

The U.S.-based youth culture and music network releaseda list Monday of the Top 10 "videos that broke the rules," compiled in advance of the channel's 25th anniversary celebrations set for August 1.

Madonna beat out her junior pop star collaborator Britney Spears, who placed second for her naughty school girl debut Baby One More Time.

Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop, placed third for hismonster-movie video epic Thriller, which was directed by John Landis (director of An American Werewolf in London)and — at a total length of 13 minutes — currently holds the record for the longest music video.

Condemned by Vatican

"Featuring burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus, [the Like a Prayer video]even brought condemnation from the Vatican for its use of religious imagery," MTV said, according to Reuters.

The controversial video was directed by Mary Lambert, who also directed the videos for Madonna's Borderline, Likea Virgin, Material Girl and La Isla Bonita.

Two other songs by the headline-grabbing Madonna also made it into the Top 10: the techno-influenced dance track Ray of Light placed fourth, while Vogue, in which Madonna brought the gay subculture dance form to the mainstream, placed fifth.

Considered among MTV's early icons, Madonna has frequently courted controversy with her videos, including for her songs Justify My Love, Erotica and What It Feels Like For a Girl.

Robbie Williams, Spice Girls make list

Others who made the cut include:

  • Robbie Williams's Rock DJ, a special effects-laden video in which the Britpop singer begins peeling off his clothing and then continues by tearing off his flesh, muscles and organs.
  • The Spice Girls hit Wannabe, which simulates one continuously shot video clip following the manic pop quintet as they cause mischief in a hotel.

The full list is as follows:

  1. Madonna, Like a Prayer (1989)
  2. Britney Spears, Baby One More Time (1999)
  3. Michael Jackson, Thriller (1983)
  4. Madonna, Ray of Light (1998)
  5. Madonna, Vogue (1988)
  6. Michael & Janet Jackson, Scream (1995)
  7. Robbie Williams, Rock DJ (2000)
  8. Eric Prydz, Call on Me (2004)
  9. Jamiroquai, Virtual Insanity (1997)
  10. Spice Girls, Wannabe (1996).

More than 10,000 viewers voted in the poll. As part of its anniversary broadcasts on Aug. 1, MTV will air itsTop 100 videos as well as a new 20-minute video byBritish rapper Mike Skinner (also known asThe Streets) that is poised to break Jackson's Thriller record for video length.