Monday, August 1, 2011


I can't believe that MTV is actually THIRTY YEARS OLD today. It's so crazy to me because it doesn't seem that long ago.

I admit it has been many, many years since I have actually watched MTV beyond catching an episode or two of the reality train wreck, "Jersey Shore" but there was time when I would watch the channel every chance I could get, although this was back when it was actually a music station.

MTV premiered today in 1981 with five hosts called, "video jockeys" or VJs and they were: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter and J.J. Jackson (who passed away in 2004) and the first video aired was The Buggles', "Video Killed The Radio Star".

In some ways that song was accurate as the music video became a powerful tool in promoting music, with record labels spending up to a million dollars on one clip, and created innovative short films that creatively merged music and images. MTV even helped get some of these songs radio airplay based on the popularity of the music video although, the downside to all of this began when the music industry placed an unhealthy emphasis on a band's image with the music sometimes becoming an afterthought which saw a rise of artists who were camera-ready but lacking in true musical abilities. The worst case was the Milli Vanilli scandal where the performers who were in the music video singing and even won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist had actually never sang a note on the recordings.

MTV clearly changed the face of music and television by launching the careers of many artists such as Madonna, Duran Duran, Culture Club, and Prince as well as made already successful musicians as Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson in to superstars.

There have been rumours that MTV is going to attempt to start showing music videos again but who knows? Maybe the time might be ripe for a reinvention of this medium.

Happy Birthday, MTV and thank-you for the music (video).

Here is the Buggles and their music video:

Here are a few highlights from the glory days of MTV:


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