Happy 30th Anniversary MTV!!!
We all remember how it started with the footage of a Space Shuttle launch countdown and moon landing with the voice over, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” There we sat, eyes locked to the center of our TV screens as The Buggles’s “Video Killed the Radio Star” began to play. Oh it was a dreadful video. One focused on an awkward looking lead singer muttering words along with an irritating melody, but it was new, innovative and ours.
I was nine years old the summer of 1981. I still thrilled in begging my mom for trips to the record store and getting my hands on the newest singles (45s back then) and albums. We made mix tapes by holding our portable tape players up to the radio speakers and cursed when the DJs talked over the beginning of the songs. And we watched American Bandstand and Soul Train to get a glimpse of what the singers looked like.
Then along came music television where we could watch broadcasts of the newest videos every hour on the hour. It was from MTV that I gained my knowledge about A Flock of Seagulls and the other techno British bands of the ’80s, Bon Jovi and a lady named Madonna. Along the way, we’ve had a lot of fun. Remember perky VJ Martha Quinn? Madonna’s writhing “Like a Virgin” performance on the VMAs? The screams to ban her “Like a Prayer” video? “Beavis and Butt-head”? The launch of “Thriller” and “The Making of Thriller”?
While the music still reigns on MTV Jams and other related spin-offs, I can’t recall the last time I found a video on regular MTV. While they birthed and spawned the modern reality TV genre, the blame for the removal of music cannot be left alone at their executives’ feet. Trends and wants changed.
I was tuned in when the first “The Real World” aired from New York. I raise my hand and admit to watching every boring second–boring since this was pre-mug and wild out for the camera reality participants. We had Kevin brooding and misunderstood, Julie awkward from her sheltered life and Heather B. who just wanted to get put on. Yeah, pretty sad I still remember their names. “The Real World” was my first taste of the sweet nectar of reality TV and I was hooked and ready to watch hours more. Slowly the videos stopped and the very thing I wanted I taught the network to take away.
Thirty years later, we still want our MTV from the guilty pleasure (or torture) of seeing the “Jersey Shore” cast spin their 15 minutes of fame to new heights to watching The Gauntlet 100 (well not yet, but doesn’t it feel like we are headed that way?). We still tune in for their movie and video award shows since everyone knows the artist performances on the VMA’s rock harder than on the Grammy’s. And we log onto MTV online for the new millenium version of MTV News, podcasts and yes even videos.
Who was your favorite MTV VJ?
What were some of your favorite music videos?
Do you still watch MTV now?