One minute after midnight on August 1, 1981 the worlds of music and tv without end modified when a brand-new cable community referred to as MTV was born.
Born into only some thousand households in New Jersey, the one place MTV was obtainable at first, we should always word.
It was such an unknown that it wasn’t even carried on cable in New York Metropolis the place its exhibits had been taped, and the MTV on-air hosts and workers needed to lease a faculty bus to take them from Manhattan to a restaurant in Fort Lee, New Jersey, to catch the community’s debut.
Nevertheless, as MTV turns 40, it’s really a worldwide model. So to have a good time the anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 1, we rewound the videotapes in our head to overview the previous 4 many years of MTV to deliver you 40 factoids in regards to the historical past of the channel.
1. It’s alive!: With the phrases, “Ladies and gentleman, rock and roll,” from a network executive, the crunchy guitar riffing of MTV’s theme track, and a mash-up clip of the launches of Apollo 11 and the Challenger area shuttle, the community went stay.
2. Our new associates: Video jockey, or VJ, Mark Goodman and his many curls was first on display, adopted by the opposite unique VJs: clean-cut Alan Hunter, rocker chick Nina Blackwood, traditional radio jock J.J. Johnson, and girl-next-door Martha Quinn.
3. The primary video: The arty British band the Buggles had been little-known in america on the time, however they bought to launch MTV due to the prophetically titled track “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Film composer Hans Zimmer, who has 11 Academy Award nominations for movies resembling “Inception,” “The Darkish Knight,” and “The Lion King,” for which he gained an Oscar, was a Buggle then. Look carefully within the closing 30 seconds of the video and you’ll spot him.
4. First day: Lots of people know the Buggles’ trivia, however what got here subsequent? Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run” was the second track performed, adopted by “She Gained’t Dance With Me,” by Rod Stewart. Sir Rod had 11 totally different movies performed within the first 24 hours of MTV, so he needed to know the community’s reply to “Da Ya Suppose I’m Attractive” was undoubtedly sure.
5. Are we not winners? Early in 1982, MTV launched one of many first of many viewer contests with Hawaiian Holiday With Devo, for which a girl from Devo’s hometown of Akron, Ohio had her identify pulled out of a barrel to whip the remainder of the contestants, whip ’em good. Most infamous contest? In all probability Misplaced Weekend with Van Halen, wherein a fan went to Detroit to occasion with the band and (barely) lived to tell the tale.
6. Heavy rotation: On Day 1, the Who’s “You Higher You Guess” was the primary video ever to be performed twice on its approach to 5 occasions complete that day. By March 1982, such movies as “Spirits In The Materials World” by the Police, “Centerfold” by J. Geils, “Burnin’ For You” from Blue Öyster Cult and “Harden My Coronary heart” by Quarterflash had been performed at the very least 4 occasions a day.
7. You need your what? Within the spring of 1982, MTV nonetheless lacked a presence in large markets like New York Metropolis and Los Angeles. Enter the “I Want My MTV!” campaign wherein stars resembling John Cougar Mellencamp, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Hall and Oates taped promotional spots urging viewers to name their native cable operators and inform them, “I need my MTV!” Cable corporations had been flooded and shortly added the channel.
8. British Invasion Half Deux: By MTV’s first anniversary, document shops had reported a brand new phenomenon: teams resembling Males At Work, Bow Wow Wow and Adam Ant had been promoting tons of data with out native radio play. Quickly, the mix of enticing English artists with creative music movies made for a second British Invasion with artists resembling Duran Duran, the Human League, Tradition Membership and Spandau Ballet breaking out within the U.S. in methods unimaginable earlier than MTV.
9. Taking it off: Costumed hard-rockers Kiss made their first look sans make-up in on the community in 1983 in an interview with unique VJ JJ Jackson.
10. Blacked out: Within the early years of MTV the channel confirmed few movies by Black artists. Rick James, whose 1981 hit “Tremendous Freak” was one of many movies overlooked, was a vocal critic of the community, and David Bowie challenged VJ Mark Goodman in regards to the lack of variety in a 1983 on-air interview. MTV’s excuse: They had been targeted on rock greater than R&B, funk or soul.
11. Breaking boundaries: Michael Jackson’s movies for “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” each launched in March 1983, kicked the door open for movies from Black artists resembling Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” Eddy Grant’s “Electrical Avenue” and Donna Summer season’s “She Works Laborious For The Cash.” By the point Jackson launched the mini-movie music video “Thriller” in December 1983, its arrival was a cultural occasion for each the artist and the community.
12. Movie music: The 1983 film “Flashdance,” which some critics sniffed was little greater than a collection of music movies, was the primary movie to offer clips from the film and soundtrack for MTV to use. Free promotion on MTV helped it develop into successful, and plenty of motion pictures adopted swimsuit.
13. The place it began: In 1984, MTV offered director Richard Lester with a particular award as Father of the Music Video for the template he set with the Beatles’ “A Laborious Day’s Evening” in 1964 and “Help!” a yr later. Have a look at how Lester filmed “Can’t Purchase Me Love” within the first and “Ticket To Trip” within the second and it’s clear the affect he and the Beatles had on music video.
14. Or was it a Monkee? Michael Nesmith of the Monkees was intrigued by music video within the late ’70s; some contemplate the video for his 1977 song “Rio” to be one of many first true music movies. Nesmith additionally collaborated on PopClips, a music video collection that ran on Nickelodeon in 1980 and early 1981, with John Lack, who later went to MTV and is the voice who declared, “Girls and gentleman, rock and roll!”
15. Like an awards present: MTV launched the Video Music Awards in 1984 with winners resembling Cyndi Lauper — Finest Feminine video for “Ladies Simply Wanna Have Enjoyable” — receiving trophies formed just like the “moon man” of MTV’s emblem. Madonna had but to interrupt out large, however her live performance of “Like A Virgin,” with a 17-foot-tall marriage ceremony cake, a mixture bustier/marriage ceremony robe and Boy Toy belt buckle certainly helped.
16. Love and hate: By the mid-’80s, MTV was a significant participant within the music trade. Mark Knopfler wrote the “I want my MTV” tagline into the Sting-sung refrain of the Dire Straits 1985 hit “Cash For Nothing.” The punks, nevertheless, had been much less amused. That very same yr the Lifeless Kennedys included a track titled “MTV — Get Off The Air” on their “Frankenchrist” album.
17. Stay TV, Stay Assist: The 1985 international profit live performance Live Aid bought just a few hours of protection on ABC, however MTV pulled many extra viewers with 16 hours of performances from the London and Philadelphia levels.
18. Present for me: Peter Gabriel’s 1986 video for “Sledgehammer” is claimed to be the most-played video in MTV history. With good purpose, the wildly artistic stop-motion animation broke the mould for what a video might be and stays a creative excessive for the medium.
19. Altering guard: Within the early days, MTV typically featured visitor VJs from Eddie Murphy and Tina Turner to Phil Collins and Dan Aykroyd. In 1986-87, all 5 of the OG VJs left the community with new hosts resembling Downtown Julie Brown taking up.
20. Themed exhibits: Within the pre-internet period, the choice music-formatted MTV present “120 Minutes” was must-see TV upon its 1986 debut. Different themed exhibits quickly adopted. Heavy metallic followers bought “Headbangers Ball” in 1987. And “MTV Unplugged,” initially hosted by indie singer-songwriter Jules Shear, delivered a stripped-down tackle stay music in 1989 earlier than it hosted memorable performances from the likes of Nirvana, Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z.
21. Run-DoogieMD: “Yo! MTV Raps” debuted on MTV Europe in 1987, and jumped the pond a yr later when it premiered within the U.S. with the rap group Run-DMC as hosts of the pilot. Its mixture of movies, interviews and visitor appearances helped hip-hop get away. How a lot so? There’s an episode of “Doogie Howser MD” the place the whiz-kid physician performed by Neil Patrick Harris wears a “Yo! MTV Raps” T-shirt.
22. Guitars, Cadillacs: MTV didn’t play a lot nation music till crossover artists resembling Shania Twain, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood got here alongside. Dwight Yoakam will get credited for the first-ever nation track on the channel together with his 1986 debut single “Honky-Tonk Man.”
23. VMAs Controversy No. 1: The Video Music Awards, by bringing envelope-pushing performers collectively in a single room, and giving them a nationwide TV viewers, have lengthy invited controversy. Exhibit A: In 1989, the comic Andrew Cube Clay was “banned for all times” after he included his profane nursery rhyme bit throughout introduction of Cher.
24. VMAs Controversy No. 2: The 1991 present was significantly memorable. Bret Michaels and C.C. DeVille of the band Poison bought in a fistfight, as a result of why not? And Paul Ruebens, as Pee-wee Herman, made his first look after his arrest for lewd conduct in an grownup movie show, asking after the standing ovation that greeted him, “Heard any good jokes these days?”
25. Behind the digital camera: In 1992, the community determined so as to add the names of music video administrators to their clips. This certainly helped artistic filmmakers resembling Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and David Fincher make the leap to options. And Michael Bay, too.
26. Social actions: Not the whole lot on the community was enjoyable and video games. Beginning with the Select Or Lose initiative in 1992, and bringing then-presidential candidate Invoice Clinton onto the community, MTV labored to get its younger viewers engaged in civic affairs, and particularly to register to vote and present up on the polls.
27. It’s so actual!: “The Actual World,” which debuted on MTV in 1992, is broadly thought-about to be one of many first-ever actuality TV collection, and solely the primary of many the community would finally air as its shift from a purely music channel advanced.
28. Enjoying video games: Comic Jay Mohr bought his begin in 1992 as host of the MTV lip-sync recreation present “Lip Service,” occurring from there to “Saturday Evening Stay,” after which to quite a few TV and movie roles.
29. VMAs Controversy No. 3: Reply: Shock jock Howard Stern and his naked butt as Fartman. Query: Issues we will’t unsee.
30. Heh-heh heh: MTV additionally discovered success in animation with “Beavis and Butt-Head,” which debuted in 1993, after a brief by creator Mike Choose aired a yr earlier on MTV’s first animation collection, “Liquid Tv.” The 2 dimwitted doofuses had been impolite, crude and hilarious. And nachos nonetheless rule!
31. Humorous discuss: Comic Jon Stewart bought one among his first-ever TV gigs in 1992 as host of “You Wrote It, You Watch It,” an MTV sketch present wherein viewers despatched in tales and a troupe of actors acted them out. A yr later, he launched “The Jon Stewart Present,” the community’s first discuss present, which finally jumped to syndication.
32. The place’s the music? By the mid-’90s, as actuality and scripted collection took bigger and bigger bites out of the MTV schedule, the music movies that had made the community began to vanish. From 2000 to 2008, the typical of music movies on MTV shrank from eight hours to a few hours a day. In 2007, Justin Timberlake took the stage on the VMAs to say, “Play extra rattling movies!”
33. Right here it’s! Beginning in 1998, “Whole Request Stay” grew to become one of many predominant exhibits on MTV that featured precise movies, with viewers in a position to name in and vote for movies within the every day countdown present. It additionally made host Carson Daly a star, sending the previous KROQ-FM (106.7) DJ on his approach to years as host of NBC’s late-late-night discuss present “Final Name With Carson Daly” and presently a correspondent on “At present.”
34. Turning 20: In 2001, the community celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a 12-hour marathon of 100 important movies titled “MTV20: “Buggles to Bizkit,” adopted by the stay broadcast of a live performance that included acts resembling Run-DMC, Billy Idol, Jane’s Addiction, Busta Rhymes, and sure, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit.
35. Gettin’ actually actual: The millennium noticed MTV discover much more success with standard actuality exhibits. Johnny Knoxville and the crew on “Jackass” established the formulation of dumb stunt + ache = comedy. “The Osbournes” let Ozzy Osbourne mumble his approach to beloved TV dad standing. And “Punk’d” pranked celebrities beneath the gleeful oversight of Ashton Kutcher.
36. SoCal kiddies: One other strand of MTV’s reality TV programming saw the soapy drama of such collection as “Laguna Seaside: The Actual Orange County” and its spinoff “The Hills” show that enticing well-to-do younger persons are marketable on tv. Who knew?!
37. Health club tan laundry: “Jersey Shore,” the highest-rated present in MTV historical past, debuted in 2009 and all of the sudden all of us discovered that there are precise folks amongst us who’re named issues like Snooki, The Scenario and Jwoww.
38. On the crimson carpet: Style selections for the VMAs are sometimes the wildest of any award present on the market. There was the yr Lil’ Kim confirmed up with a breast completely deliberately uncovered however for a cloth pasty. And there was a yr a gaggle of drag queens performed a Madonna medley dressed in her iconic costumes. As for Lady Gaga, now we have two phrases: meat costume.
39. VMAs Controversy No. 4: Yo, Tay, Imma allow you to end, however Kanye West had probably the greatest VMAs controversies of all time when in 2009 he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to basically declare that Beyoncé ought to have gained Swift’s award. Beyoncé, as a result of she is queen, later invited Taylor again on stage to complete her interrupted remarks.
40. The spinoffs: Through the years, MTV has expanded to incorporate totally different specialty channels within the U.S. and all over the world. If you’ll find MTV Traditional, which previously was generally known as VH-1 Traditional, or MTV Stay, you’ll get your greatest likelihood to recapture the magic that was MTV in its early days when music was king.
Bay Space Information Group workers writers Chuck Barney, Jim Harrington and Randy McMullen and Southern California Information Group workers author Vanessa Franko contributed to this story.