It is hard to believe, but it was 35 years ago today that MTV debuted and changed music forever. It also changed me forever. When we got cable, MTV was the channel I had to watch. It was the channel that shaped my music tastes and helped make me so obsessive about music.
It allowed us to not only listen to our favorite music, but actually get to see our favorite artists. We no longer had to wait for American Bandstand to come on or get the latest music magazine to see the artists. We could watch them every day, all day in their videos.
The first video played on MTV was The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”. This was the most appropriate opening video they could have possibly chosen. Although it didn’t really help their career as I couldn’t name another song they did. It did make them famous forever for being known as the song that was the first video on MTV. If you want to see a list of all the videos played on the 1st day, click on this link to wikipedia.
The VeeJays were the best. Who doesn’t remember Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman and J.J. Jackson. They helped make MTV what it was and are now a part of history. I watched them so much, I thought I actually knew them. Mark & J.J. were the cool ones. Alan was the geeky, nerdy one (I mean that in a good way), Martha was the cute one and Nina seemed like she was the stoned one (I also mean that in a good way). I loved them all.
What was great about MTV is that it introduced us to so much music that we weren’t getting on the radio. Mainly because there were so few bands with music videos at the time that MTV had no choice but to play them. I remember bands like Haircut 100, A Flock of Seagulls, Kajagoogoo, Human League, Missing Persons and Split Enz.
The videos also took artists that were already established and made them even more famous. It helped boost Robert Palmer’s career with his slick videos for “Addicted to Love” and “Simply Irresistible”. However, the most notable of course was Michael Jackson. His video releases became major Television events – especially “Thriller”.
Videos also made careers for bands like Duran Duran and INXS. These were bands with good looks that were perfect for MTV. It made Madonna a star with all her controversial videos. And the rise of Hair Bands was also perfect for MTV as the image seem to be more important than the music (although the music was awesome). Bon Jovi was made for this channel.
But MTV also ruined the career of one artists for making such a horrible video. That was Billy Squier. The video for “Rock Me Tonite” single-handedly killed his career. You can read a great article about the video on Ultimateclassicrock.com.
Now all these years later, MTV is changing VH1 Classic to MTV Classic and they are reshowing the 1st hour of the start of MTV when they transition to the new channel today, August 1st. I am sure by the time this post hits, that will already have happened.
Thanks to MTV for giving us such great music. I am not saying thank you for 35 years of great TV because you were only good in the 80’s IMO. When you stopped showing videos, I stopped watching. I hope everyone has some fond memories of MTV. I know I sure do.