18 Music Videos Shot On The Barbican

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 13 months ago
18 Music Videos Shot On The Barbican

Now that Modernism is so in vogue, there's nowhere trendier than the Barbican. Its angular designs, the blend of the concrete with the verdant, and those lofty pedways fill up Londoners' Instagram feeds daily. However there's a different type of imagery, for which the estate was always the perfect backdrop. The music video.

Here we round up some of the music videos filmed on the estate in the past 50 or so years — yes, going back to before the Barbican was fully built.

Unit 4 + 2 — Concrete and Clay (1965)

Unit 4 + 2 are the originators of the Barbican music video, getting there way before it was cool: 1965. In fact, they got there so early, the estate was still being built.

The Specials — Ghost Town (1981)

Admittedly there isn't much of the Barbican in this video, but the estate's towers slide clearly into view early on. And might that be Beech Street that The Specials drive along? It's a fitting place to shoot the video, at least on the weekend, when large swathes of the City are entirely deserted. Ironically, Ghost Town was written about Coventry.

Coldplay — God Put a Smile upon Your Face (2003)

Coldplay send Paddy Considine wandering around the Barbican in glorious black and white (a recurring style on this list) before he starts to fade away. This video predates Coldplay invoking intense feelings of disdain from large swathes of the music-appreciating population.

Saint Etienne — Side Streets (2005)

The Barbican features in a few Saint Etienne videos (London aficionados that they are). We chose this one as it's off the album Tales from Turnpike House, set in a real-life eponymous block of flats on nearby Goswell Road.

Kylie Minogue — Giving You Up (2005)

The pint-sized Australian superstar becomes a giant, as she marches across the streets of London at night. She starts out on Beech Street, which appears a few times in this list. Rather strange considering it's such a wretched tunnel, and arguably the worst bit of the Barbican.

The Source And Candi Stanton — You Got the Love (2006)

Long before Florence Welch lent her pipes to You Got the Love, there was The Source and Candi Stanton (and before that, there was just Candi Stanton). This is the third video released for the song; this one was for the New Voyager Mix — and takes place all over the City. It recognisably features the Barbican.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip — Thou Shalt Always Kill (2007)

Another video that takes place across the City, but hones in on the Barbican for its best section — when Mr Pip starts chucking canonical records everywhere.

James Morrison — Get to You (2009)

Remember James Morrison? Vanilla singer/songwriter with a guitar and single earring? No? Perhaps you've blocked him out too. Well he shot the zooming video for his 2009 song Get to You, on the Barbican.

Moby — Lie Down in Darkness (2011)

Electronica extraordinaire Moby, presents this video that follows the life of an astronaut looking back on his life as he travels an architecturally heightened London. Nowhere in London does stylish and architecturally heightened like Barbican.

John Grant — GMF (2013)

GMF has a much more naturalistic style than other Barbican shot music videos, following a basketball wielding man on his wanders around the estate. The incredible Conservatory plays a large role in this video, a trick which many others miss.

Olly Murs — Hand on Heart (2013)

We now hit the glut of Barbican music videos where one is released every few months — an age that we're still living through today. Here's X Factor not-winner and occasional Soccer Aid star Olly Murs, going for the rather standardised black and white wander around the estate.

Metronomy — Month of Sundays (2014)

As the Barbican is so frequently the star of music videos, it's hard to present it in a new light. Electronic pop group Metronomy manage it, with the use of a fisheye lens and fluid motion.

Jamie XX ft Romy — Loud Places (2015)

The Barbican is a popular spot for skateboarding, thanks to its long flat sections, and raised ledges that are tempting to try tricks on (imagine a Tony Hawk's level set around the Barbican!). This video shows off that popular past-time on the estate.

Skepta — Shutdown (2015)

The megastar of Grime's second coming filmed the video for his smash-hit Shutdown on the Barbican. Grime videos had long been associated with London council estates, representing a lot of the artists' working class upbringings. However, the Barbican doesn't fit that mould. It has always intentionally been a middle class council estate, making this video feel like a big statement about the growth of Grime.

Jarryd James — Do You Remember (2015)

Another Aussie on the list, this eerie electronica video features a few London estates, but mainly shows off the Barbican.

Tanika ft Stormzy — Out Here (2016)

This R 'n' B/Grime crossover once again opts for featuring the Barbican in black and white. And some very slow wandering of pedways.

Dua Lipa — Blow Your Mind (2016)

One of those songs that for a few months you couldn't go without hearing when you switched on the radio. Or seeing, judging by the view count that this video has. Once again features skateboarders.

Niall Horan — Too Much To Ask (2017)

One Direction member Niall Horan ends the video for ballad Too Much To Ask with a sad amble down Beech Street. And we can't blame him. As previously pointed out, Beech Street is a miserable place.

There are definitely videos missing from this list. Know any others? Leave them in the comments down below.

Last Updated 18 September 2018