Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for MTV

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

It was the summer of 1981. On August 1st, I sat in front of the television in my parents' bedroom, eagerly awaiting a brand new cable channel that supposed to revolutionize music AND TV. My father had read about this debut, and wanted to make sure I watched the birth of music television. Although it was summer, I was normally in bed by 11, but not that night. 

The screen lit up with footage of a space shuttle taking off, and then an astronaut walking on the moon. The flag blazed with the MTV logo, and the bedroom filled with an electric guitar riff that would soon become iconic. The first thing I noticed after the intro was Mark Goodman's fro. Then we got to meet all the "VJs" that would play music videos 24/7.

MTV's very first music video was the Buggles' appropriately titled song, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Looking back,
this debut video has proven to be so darn prophetic. After that, I was introduced to Pat Benatar, and I was able to put a sexy face to the sexy voice I had heard on the radio.

I was hooked. Rod Stewart was next, and then The Who. The rest of the videos are a blur, but I do remember seeing a lot of REO Speedwagon and Rod Stewart.

The Video Jockeys were cool, especially Martha Quinn, and it took a little bit of time for them to get comfortable with their revolutionary new roles. This was a new way to experience music, and I'll always remember the day MTV was born.


Sheena-kay Graham said...

MTV rocks. I'll say no more.

mooderino said...

They hardly seem to play any music at all these days.

Moody Writing

Nick Wilford said...

Cool to be there when it started. It's definitely changed a lot though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Too funny! I remember watching that first video by the Buggles during its debut as well. Nina Blackwood way my favorite.

Jay Noel said...

Sheena: It certainly used to!

Moody: I think they do early in the morning.

Nick: These days, it's pretty much trashy reality shows.

Alex: Nina Blackwood is still pretty busy. I think she and Martha Quinn on on satellite radio.

Jamie Dement (LadyJai) said...

I think I may have been a bit deprived because I was not introduced to MTV until 1984. See, I lived in England from 1980-1984 where all we had was "Top of the Pops" And I LOVED it! It was an hour long show on Thursday nights that went over the the top 40, sometimes it would have bits and pieces of music videos, live performances, and always feature a full video for at least the top 2 or 3. :) So, I guess I still had a version of MTV :P

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

Melanie Schulz said...

There was life before MTV? I don't remember that.

Trisha F said...

Wow! What a memory you have described here. Music videos definitely changed how things work in the music industry.

Dana said...

So much has changed. I miss the golden days of MTV.

farawayeyes said...

I don't think I was there at the birth, but I do remember the first MTV video I ever saw. It was a rather racy Mike Nesmith tune, that I cannot remember the name of, BUT boy oh boy do I remember the images. Ha!

Kelley Lynn said...

I love music videos. Don't find them much on MTV anymore but I like watching CMT. They play a lot of videos :)

Jay Noel said...

LadyJai: Yeah, that's definitely a type of MTV

Melanie: LOL. Hard to believe, I know.

Trisha: I have a pretty strong autobiographical memory. It can be a burden sometimes!

Dana: I wish they'd bring back music videos. MTV was a true pioneer: they also brought us reality shows

faraway: YUP! It's called Cruisin'. It was VERY racy.

Kelley: They still play videos, but I see reality shows creeping up even on CMT

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

Jay, if I didn't know any better, I think you are suggesting that MTV was named thus because the letters stood for Music Television. I mean, come on? Really?

All this talk you are doing of first broadcasts and this ancient thing called a "music video."

I know you have to be wrong because when I watch MTV today, there's not a single music video in 24-hours. So how could it be Music Television?

You are sooooo weird man.

Robin said...

MTV did change everything about music. It even changed how successful a movie could be at the box office. If it had a good soundtrack, with a great video, the video, song, and movie could all ride each other to Glory.

Martha Quinn was my favorite. I thought she was quirky and fun.

I can't even watch MTV now. It is a parody of itself.

Christine Rains said...

Ah, back in the day when MTV was actually playing music videos. We had MuchMusic in Canada.

The Desert Rocks said...

I used to be addicted to VH1. LOL ( Don't forget I had a hard job and I had to tune out.)MTV was too much anxiety for me at the time....I had enough of my own.

nutschell said...

i used to love watching MTV whenever I caught it on Tv. But that was when I was nine years old and had all the time in the world! :D


Eve said...

Hey Jay! I totally saw the birth of MTV as well. I lived in Oklahoma City in the summer of '81 and I remember the Buggles and Video Killed the Radio Star.
I can also relate to finally being able to put a face to the songs you loved. In the '70's it was not unusual to have no idea what your favourite recording artists looked like...I know that's hard for young people today to believe, but it's true. In '83 I was back home in Canada and watching MuchMusic, our MTV equivalent. Great post Jay! Great memories.

Jay Noel said...

Michael: Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

Robin: I'm a big Martha Quinn fan too. Huh, I never thought of its influence on movies.

Christine: MuchMusic? That sounds cool.

Eve: I used to love VH1 also, then it became a toned down MTV.

nutty: I hear ya!

Eve: I really do think video killed the radio star. Gotta have the looks these days.

Tony Laplume said...

It's also ironic that MTV killed the video star.

M Pax said...

We were one of the first neighborhoods with cable. We didn't have to pay for it then... but my sister and I watched MTV all the time. We discovered we were very partial to bands with dudes who had blond spiky hair.

It's sad they did away with the VJ.

Cynthia said...

I remember when "I want my MTV" was The Slogan.

Deniz Bevan said...

I want my MTV! The funniest thing was that we didn't really get MTV - we had our own Canadian version, MuchMusic. They were great! Now it's all reality tv... Don't know if they even play videos anymore...

Anonymous said...

We really didn't get MTV in Oz... just a cut down version on one of the standard networks hosted by a wannabe rockstar. My most youth was spent glued to Countdown on Saturday and Sunday nights. I was devastated that we had a family holiday without TV reception that included the weekend...

Carrie-Anne said...

I miss the days when MTV actually played music. The music video is an almost extinct artform these days.

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