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?