MTV Celebrates 29 Years Since Lift-Off … Older Fans Wonder When Music Videos Were Sent to Space

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MTV Celebrates 29 Years Since Lift-Off ... Older Fans Wonder When Music Videos Were Sent to Space

On August 1st 1981 MTV launched, creating a major new outlet for music as a visual art form as well as a new place for artists to get their material promoted. In commemoration of this milestone one YouTube user has pieced together then entire first 24 hours of the station.

While we did have cable at that time, but I was too busy between school, job, friends, music, whatever else to care about the launch of the station. Of course, over the next several years leaving MTV on in the fraternity house was as common as leaving on the radio, and everyone knew the songs and videos.

MTV back then was edgy and relevant and actually did stuff that was part of not just the music industry but art in general, producing the frenetic Max Headroom:

Of course, all wasn’t well with MTV back in those early days, with widespread charges of racism including from Rick James who was unable to get his classic and immensely popular ‘Superfreak’ video played on the station. Also, in my rant about Herbie Hancock’s latest project I featured his classic Rockit video:

In an interview for the jazz magazine DownBeat back in the mid 1980s that I still have, Hancock admitted that he had to have extremely limited visibility of himself in the video in order to get it played on MTV.

Of course MTV as a cutting edge music station is about as ancient a concept as leg warmers and the Stray Cat Strut

So what are YOUR MTV memories?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

3 Comments on "MTV Celebrates 29 Years Since Lift-Off … Older Fans Wonder When Music Videos Were Sent to Space"

  1. Ah yes… The good old days when MTV actually showed… Music videos. Duran Duran, Billy Idol, thomas Dolby and the list goes on and on. There was such great music in those days and MTV gave us all access to it.

  2. Definitely agree … anyone who has read any of my music articles knows my tastes run to the avant garde and experimental music side of things, as has been the case for a few decades – yet I know all of those 80’s pop/rock/new wave/whatever songs from the 80’s. There was something organic about the music (which is ironic as so much of it was moving to digital synths!), as even pop music had to deal with tuning issues, mistakes, synchronization errors, and on and on. Music isn’t about perfection – it is about the humanism of the method of communication. Today’s pop music is written by committee in boardrooms, fed to manufactured personas who only need a modicum of talent and a good studio producer to make it all sound great. Heck, with my home studio I can even make my own horrific voice sound acceptable!

  3. “There was Springsteen, Madonna,
    It was ‘way before Nirvana
    There was U2, and Blondie,
    and music still on MTV . . .”
    Bowling for Soup, “1985”

    My first reaction was to basically stand there with my mouth open, amazing at *watching* music, *seeing* the bands that I liked. “So *that’s* what Van Halen looks like! Wow; Angus Young is a total loon!” Etc. I must have watched it 2-3 hours a day that summer–it was the summer before my freshman year of college, and when I wasn’t working or doing swim workouts, I was too wiped out to do anything other than veg in front of the TV.

    Honestly, I kinda miss music videos. Not snakeskin pants and big hair, but the videos, yeah.

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