Saturday, July 30, 2011


What a difference 30 years makes.

This Monday, August 1, MTV celebrates its 30th birthday. It might as well be the 30th birthday of KMET. Remember KMET? Of course you don't. It's an old Los Angeles classic-rock radio station. And it's dead. Dead just like radio. Dead just like MTV. The revolution is long over, and MTV is just another in a long line of corporate stooges trotting out corporate stooge bands trying to pass themselves off as something anti-establishment. It’s filled with a bunch of reality nothingness celebrating a life of consumerism. The "M" used to stand for "music." Now it stands for "meaningless." EmpTV. Empty. It's all one self-conscious, soulless bore.

Ah, but on August 1, 1981, it was magic. Nothing but '80s video goodness and the whole world in front of us. Big hair, padded shoulders, and lots of guitar hooks. Here are the first 10 videos played that day in order. Let the good times roll.

I remember visiting my aunt and uncle in San Jose that summer, and marveling at that new channel they had on cable. It was heaven. The link lists the first 10 videos. I knew the first two (had a trivia question about them a few months back!) but don't even recognize the 3rd, 5th, or 8th songs. I wouldn't have guessed most of them for MTV's first season; The Pretenders' Brass In Pocket, for example, came out in 1979, and had pretty much been played into the ground by the time MTV rolled around.

You'd never know it today, but back then, MTV was something very special.


MikeAT said...

It was great...not it's mostly reality TV crap. One of the post on that link suggested they change their name to RTV because that is all they are now.

If only they could have stayed true to their opening line, Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll

Ellen K said...

In 1982, when my husband and I got married, we got cable. We loved MTV. The videos were great little pieces of cinema. Thriller was a terrific mini-musical. Now all they show is vapid reality shows and beach scenes shot ten years ago. Do they even show music videos anymore? I wouldn't know although they have an awards show. I have friends who will not let their young kids watch MTV. I also have friends who have banned BET for similar reasons. It is hard enough raising a kid without having such trashy stereotypes. Whatever happened to good music? Tell me one recent song that you can actually hum the melody. And it used to be that we listened to everything. I listened to Michael Jackson and Jackson Browne and Three Dog Night. Now kids are divided into rappers or cowboys or preps. It's really all kind of sad.

Carol said...

Ah, I still love She Blinded me With Science, Overkill, Der Kommissar and other songs from that first year. I really did not care about the visual aspect for most the videos. If the video was stupid (e.g. monster spoof) it would interfere with my appreciation for the music itself.

Changing missions seems to be a way of life for speciality cable channels.

Darren said...

Great songs. I remember seeing Fleetwood Mac's Tusk video, too. Loved Stevie with her baton!

gbradley said...

There is actually a pretty decent station in LA now that I listen to when I am not listening to Country,
It is not as good as KMET, but not bad.
Too bad about MTV.