“VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR” THE BUGGLES
August 1, 1981: a new cable network called Music Television made its debut on select TV providers. They introduced the concept of VJ’s who would introduce the blossoming concept of mini-promotional video clips for songs. With the grand introduction, “Ladies and Gentlemen, rock and roll” came an image of an astronaut planting an MTV themed flag on the moon using Apollo 11 footage. They kicked things off with the appropriately themed and prophetic song, “Video Killed The Radio Star”.
“YOU BETTER RUN” PAT BENATAR
If you remember back in 1981, they didn’t have DVD’s and the same technology we use today. People at MTV were literally popping in VHS tapes and pressing Play. At times, the TV went black as the tape was starting up. Despite the growth stage, the new network was launching new bands and new images rarely seen before on TV. NBC has a show called Friday Night Videos but this was a 24 hour network of music. So much time to fill which meant a lot of new bands got exposure they never would have received. Duran Duran, the Human League, Adam Ant, and the Vapors were introduced to a new audience.
“SHE WON’T DANCE WITH ME” ROD STEWART
“You’ll never look at music the same” – that was MTV’s tagline on their earliest commercials. How many of original five VJ’s can you remember? There was Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, JJ Jackson, Mark Goodwin, and Alan Hunter. These five really knew the bands, their history, shared personal insight, and truly became the face of a network that forever changed music history. A favorite early memory was seeing artists like Billy Idol just dropping by the studio for a quick appearance with the VJ’s. (Am I the only one who never heard this Rod Stewart song before???)
“YOU BETTER YOU BET” THE WHO
Sadly, those early days of Music Television are just a memory. MTV switched their focus to reality programming (Jersey Shore, teen pregnancy shows, Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson, Punk’d,….) Music videos became relegated to their spinoff channels like MTV2 and MTV Jams. But thankfully, YouTube and Classic VH1 still contain those lovable, often-low budget but incredible videos that left some a memory on so many of us! Fun fact: This song by the Who was the first video to be played TWICE in one day.
MTV’s First 5 Videos:
1. The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
2. Pat Benatar – You Better Run
3. Rod Stewart – She Won’t Dance With Me
4. The Who – You Better, You Bet
5. PhD – Little Suzie’s On Top (if you got this one, you either cheated or need to play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire!!)