Thursday, August 2, 2007

MTV Memories

Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of MTV's debut. Wow - 26 years. There is now a generation of college graduates who never knew of a time when MTV wasn't on the cable dial. I feel old.

I remember the days when MTV showed nothing but 24 hours of videos. We managed to get the channel on our cable offering some time late in it's first year or so. I do recall having it during my senior year of high school (1982-1983). The only avenue for music videos prior to that was NBC's offering on Friday Night Videos, a show that came on after midnight for a couple hours.

I loved that early, all-video time. You got to see a lot of new wave bands, especially ones out of England and such where videos were often made to help the record labels expose artists to a new market. Folks like Bananarama, Flock of Seagulls, and the Boomtown Rats. And of course, the band whose video kicked it all off: the Buggles with "Video Killed The Radio Star". MTV was the first place I got to see groups like the Motels, Devo, the Ramones and the Knack. It was also THE place to catch "world premieres" of videos - who can forget the anticipation for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (a very unique concept at the time)?

And MTV introduced us to lots of interesting personalities as well. There's the original five vee-jays: Martha, Nina, J.J., Alan and Mark. Then over the years we got to meet folks like Pauly Shore, Kennedy, and the Julies Brown (the funny one and the waba-waba one). When MTV started to dip into original programming in the late 80's, shows like Remote Control introduced to a young comedienne by the name of Adam Sandler. And, of course, MTV was THE place to catch all of Live-Aid back in July of 1985.

Honestly, if I had to say the last time I stopped on MTV it would have to be at least a year or so ago. With all of its programming now, it just doesn't appeal to me at all. Then again, I'm hardly their advertisers' target demographic. No, if I want videos, I go over to one of MTV's sister station's spin-offs: VH-1 Classics. This is where I can see hour blocks of videos just like the old days - with minimal interuptions. This takes me back twenty years. And VH-1 Classics was where they did the 25th anniversary festivities last year: by playing for an entire day the exact same items that MTV played during its first 24 hours of programming. That's how it's done. I want my (classic) MTV!

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