10 amazing viral rock videos you've probably forgotten all about

Three muppets
(Image credit: The Jim Henson Company)

Baby Shark Dance. Numa Numa. The Evolution of Dance. Chocolate Rain. Gangnam Style. These are names familiar to those with even the most fleeting of interests in all things Internet. They’re viral videos that have made stars of their stars, elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary and racking up tens of millions of YouTube views along the way. 

Here are some of our favourites from the rock era, as Casey Kasem might have said.


Dancing In The Street, silent edition

Take a pretty ropey 1985 music video of two megastars – David Bowie and Mick Jagger – titting about and generally signalling to the world that their best years are behind them, remove the music, add very basic sound effects and you are left with a YouTube clip is entirely impossible not to laugh at. 

Muppets go Beastie Boys

Given the Beastie Boys’ general reluctance to allow their music to be used for anything, the fact this clip of The Muppet’s Swedish Chef, Animal and Beaker perfectly taking on So What Cha Want still exists is testament to just how brilliantly well done it is.

Hand fart man

Imagine if the one thing in life you were really, really good at was making fart noises with your hands. There would simply be no better way to put your talent to good use than by doing covers of classic rock songs in the hand fart style. The Manualist – Gerry Phillips – is that man.

That Nirvana / Rick Astley mashup

Rickrolling – the art of persuading someone to click on a link, only for them to actually open up the video to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up – has been an internet prank for well over a decade now. No one, though, has achieved it quite as brilliantly as whoever pieced together this perfect Nirvana/Astley mash-up.

Singer catches beer

It’s not so much the fact that David Achter de Molen – the singer of the Dutch post-hardcore band John Coffey – catches a plastic pint glass thrown at him while he goes walking on top of a crowd during a gig. It’s more that he does it so nonchalantly, with one hand, then casually drinks out of it, before tossing it away as if he’s done nothing special at all.

Drunk guys sings Bohemian Rhaposdy in police car

The best way to convince the police that they shouldn’t have arrested you for being drunk is always to sing the whole of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in the back of the cop car. To really make the case watertight, it’s advisable to really give it some welly.

Drummer at the wrong gig

Perhaps the first clue that this drummer is not the usual wedding band sticksman is the fact he’s turned up with a double kick drum. As the band launch into ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man, the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth clues are not far behind.

Child Pantera

It turns out playing drums to Pantera is literally child’s play. Particularly good are the double kick pedals at 27 seconds.

Robot Motorhead

Having the know how to build three fully-functioning robots is one thing, but the German engineers behind Compressorhead – the first full robot band – are fully aware that having the bigger vision to put the robots to good use is far more important: hence a full cover of Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades as played by machines.

Marching Band plays Rush

University marching bands have never exactly been cool. A university marching band covering Rush, on the other hand. This lively tribute to Neal Peart from The Ohio State University Marching Band features versions of Spirit of the Radio, Limelight, Closer to the Heart, Red Barchetta, Fly By Night, YYZ and Tom Sawyer. 

Tom Bryant

Tom Bryant is The Guardian's deputy digital editor. The author of The True Lives Of My Chemical Romance: The Definitive Biography, he has written for Kerrang!, Q, MOJO, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Mirror, the BBC, Huck magazine, the londonpaper and Debrett's - during the course of which he has been attacked by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass player and accused of starting a riot with The Prodigy. Though not when writing for Debrett's.