Whew.

 

 

30 years ago MTV was born.

And it seems like only yesterday that I was in graduate school glued to the TV late at night watching MTV videos while trying to figure out the solution to the next random B-school case study.

 

And for its first 10 to 15 years I was an avid MTV watcher (I started slipping away as they played less and less music videos).

 

 

Whew (again.)

 

Hasn’t MTV come a long way from the days of hour-long video marathons to hardly playing a music video anymore?

 

 

But.

Criticize MTV all you want. You will still find it difficult to deny its powerful influence on pop culture and music.

 

Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman & J.J. Jackson were the original VJs. Each with a distinct character and style. They gave us the stories and introduced us to the bands as well as the videos.

 

 

 

And Yo! MTV Raps. The original show showcased a balance of hip hop and an introduction to rap. It was truly interesting because original hosts Fab 5 Freddy, Doctor Dré and Ed Lover didn’t yet have quite enough content to populate the show’s segments so videos from other “black” genres like reggae, funk, R&B and soul were peppered-in to help hip hop’s development in culture and expand its scope. That meant you could see Digital Underground’s silly (but awesomely danceable) “Humpty Dance” beside Public Enemy’s political anthem “Fight The Power” and the sexually-charged 2 Live Crew to DJ Jazzy Jeff Fresh Prince slick teen rap/hip hop as well as the funky style of A Tribe Called Quest.

 

 

Rock blocks.

 

 

Bon Jovi’s hair.

 

 

Madonna rolling around the stage during the original MTV awards show singing “Like a Virgin.”

Oh.

And all the music video memories the show created for an entire music loving generation.

 

 

Some memories ….

 

 

Duran Duran “The Reflex” watching the wave crash over the stage while men who looked prettier than most women played the awesome song.

 

 

Me out on a date at Celebrities (a bar/dance club) in Greenville SC where everyone stopped to watch Michael Jackson Thriller on the big screen over the dance floor.

 

 

The haunting voice of a little child followed by the voice of Andy Partridge as XTC sang the quirky “Dear God.”

 

 

The randomness of Men at Work and their  “Down Under” video with a vegemite sandwich and the fact one of the musicians has a stuffed koala bear tied to his leg the entire video.

 

 

The fact you could only see Rough Trade perform their awesomely rough and dark “All Touch” video late at night.

 

 

Rough Trade “All Touch”:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpraodUSyjA

Axel Rose doing the snake dance during a very well produced and edited “Sweet Child of Mine” video.

 

 

Peter Gabriel with his wacky claymation videos.

 

 

The artistic and unstoppably catchy “Take on Me” by Ah ha.

 

 

The culturally defining “Addicted to Love” with an impeccably attired Robert Palmer and his female entourage.

 

 

Alice in Chains unplugged. Spine chilling. ‘nuf said.

 

 

10,000 Maniacs Unplugged may have been one of the most underrated Unplugged shows of all time.

 

How if you got bored with INXS singing “Need you Tonight” you would have missed the INXS version of Bob Dylan’s flip card trick at the tail end of the song with “Mediate.”

 

 

Cindi Lauper having the wacky obnoxious “Girls just want to have Fun” with the poignantly tight thoughtful “Time after Time” (which remains a timeless song on its own) being played in the next block of music videos.

 

 

And, of course, Bon Jovi’s black & white ode to being on the road … “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

 

 

So.

 

 

Those are my MTV memories.

 

 

But.

Here is the Guardian’s bets 30 moments:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/aug/01/mtv-30-best-moments

I only haggle with the Guardian in that before MTV started not doing music videos they had 30 definable video music moments.  And THAT is how I believe MTV was truly defined.

“I want my MTV” as a catch phrase and before everyone could hum the ESPN sportscenter musical phrase EVERYONE could identify with the MTV music jingle over the weird logos on screen they kept throwing up there.

Now, of course, MTV doesn’t play any music videos.

But that’s okay.  Time moves on and the channel has figured out different ways to impact this generation & culture.

And yet, on their 30th birthday, I will be nostalgic for the music videos.  The cheesy campy ones that you couldn’t tear your eyes from because it was music video and it was all new and watchable and you couldn’t wait to see what came next.

And it was great.

Thanks MTV.

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Written by Bruce