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  • Berlin in music videos: From Depeche Mode to Bono on the Victory Tower

Berlin as backdrop

Berlin in music videos: From Depeche Mode to Bono on the Victory Tower

Berlin hasn't only inspired numerous musicians over the years - its also been the backdrop for quite a few breathtaking videos.

“Stay (Faraway, So Close!)”, Wim Wenders / U2, 1993.

While Berlin might not be the most picturesque city, it’s been a backdrop for some iconic music videos. Whether it’s the litter-strewn, graffitied streets of Kreuzberg, the colourful tiles of the city’s train stations or an array of its dark and steamy clubs – you’ll probably recognise a few of these locations.

Mark Owen sports a spacesuit

Former boy band teen heartthrob Mark Owen (of Take That fame) might not have topped the charts with his solo work, but he delivered a fun (if not slightly cheesy) music video with his track ‘Stars’. Inspired by the giant astronaut mural on Oranienstraße, the singer trudges across Berlin in a spacesuit. He visits landmark spots like Alexanderplatz and Kotti, as well as the less well-known sculpture Doppelter Admiral in Kreuzberg. The best part about it – you know that not one person on the U8 batted an eyelid.

  • Mark Owen: ‘Stars’ (2013). Berlin locations: Kottbusser Tor, Spreepark, Karl-Marx-Allee and Alexanderplatz.

David Bowie reminisces about his Berlin days

Back in the late 1970s, David Bowie lived in West Berlin’s Schöneberg district for a few short (but intensely creative) years. Almost 4 decades later, Bowie dedicated a song to his time in the city. In the music video for ‘Where are we now?’ (2013), two slightly creepy doll-like figures (with the faces of Bowie and artist Jacqueline Humphries projected onto their heads) sit propped up on a suitcase.

  • David Bowie: ‘Where are we now?’ (2013), Berlin locations: Nürnberger Straße, Bösebrücke, Berlin Wall, Siegessäule, among others.

One day baby we’ll be old (but at least we’ll be in Berlin)

A night of bar-hopping and clubbing inspired the video for Israeli singer Asaf Avidan’s ear-worm 2000s banger, ‘One Day/Reckoning Song’ (2008). A group of friends party their way through Friedrichshain – from pre-drinks at the WG and späti beers, to a steamy club night. This video is as much an ode to Warschauer Straße as it is to late-2000s tumblr aesthetic.

  • Asaf Avidan: ‘One day/reckoning Song’ (2008). Berlin locations: Warschauer Brücke and Friedrichshain

Depeche Mode delivers the 80s nostalgia

British synth-pop band Depeche Mode made West Berlin the backdrop for their ‘Everything Counts’ (1983) music video. The video features a fair amount of marimba and woodwind-playing transitioning over shots of a graffitied-Berlin Wall, as well as all the poofy-haired, 80s fashion you could want.

  • Depeche Mode: ‘Everything Counts’ (1983) Berlin locations: Wannsee, Berlin Wall, Gropius Bau, Telefunken high-rise and Berlin elevated railway.

U2 is not just a U-bahn line

Sporting their quintessentially-U2 soul patches and earrings, the Irish rock band explore Berlin as invisible guardian angels in the ‘Stay (Faraway, So Close)’ (1993) music video. The visuals aren’t just trying to reference Wim Wenders‘ famous 1987 film Der Himmel über Berlin (or Wings of Desire). In fact, Wenders actually directed the music video and his 1993 film Faraway, So Close! inspired the song’s title and some of the video’s most iconic shots.

  • U2: ‘Stay (Faraway, So Close)’ (1993) Berlin locations: Victory Column, Brandenburger Tor, among others.

2010s tumblr cringe

This music video was at the forefront of the flower-crown and appropriation-of-Día de Los Muertos-makeup craze of the early to mid-2010s. In the video for Robin Schulz’s remix of Lilly Wood & The Prick’s ‘Prayer in C’ (2014), a gang of bowler hat-wearing hooligans skating along Karl Marx Allee. Meanwhile, a gang of friends drive through Kreuzberg in a convertible as a rooftop rager ensues.

  • Lilly Wood & The Prick (remix by Robin Schulz): ‘Prayer in C’ (2014) Berlin locations: Oberbraumbrücke, Warschauer Straße, Karl Marx Allee, among others.