Thursday, August 27, 2020

I Want(ed) My MTV (Sooner)!

High on my list of "abuses" suffered as a child -- just below not having our own tennis court in the backyard -- is that my family's cable company didn't bother to get MTV until June 1982, robbing me of 10 months of REO Speedwagon videos on a relentless loop my MTV. Truthfully, it wouldn't have been so agonizing if my best friend back in Michigan didn't already have it -- in addition to Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and "Rapture" he claimed they showed Carly Simon's "Vengeance"! -- only fueling my anger about our having moved West. 

We've all heard that "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "You Better Run" were the first two clips to air on the nascent channel. Now thanks to this remastered footage of the network's first two hours of programming on Aug. 1, 1981, we can see a fuller picture. The Buggles and Pat Benatar sound great four decades later. But who remembers that the third video was a shitty Rod Stewart song I've never heard of -- or that Mr. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy was also the first artist to be played in heavy rotation. (How embarrassing!) I was a little taken aback by how much Kentucky-fried rock they were playing during those early days -- and not just .38 Special, which at least had hit singles, however bad. It was nice to see that Chrissie Hynde (and the Pretenders) was the second female artist on the air -- and that new wave stalwarts like Split Enz and Elvis Costello were in on the ground floor. Interesting to note that while MTV was not initially friendly to R&B or country music -- which is pretty much all that's left in 2020 -- the station did play a video by Juice Newton, a testament to just how hugely she had crossed over. (The same would happen when Michael Jackson's "Thriller" took over the charts a short time later.) Perhaps most surprising, however, is the number of songs that were played those first two hours that I couldn't pick out of a lineup today (“Little Susie’s on the Top” by Ph.D?. "Mr. Briefcase” by Lee Ritenour"? Any Cliff Richard song!)

So fasten your seat belt and get ready to blast off. MTV is here! 

Watch full screen HERE.

Note that Mark Goodman was the first veejay to host a segment. But because of a technical snafu, the introductory tapes by Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson and Nina Blackwood ran before Mark's opening scene came on.

The videos played during MTV's first two hours:

1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles
2. "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar
3. "She Won't Dance With Me" by Rod Stewart
4. "You Better You Bet" by the Who
5. “Little Susie’s on the Top” by Ph.D.
6. "We Don't Talk Anymore" by Cliff Richard
7. "Brass in Pocket" by the Pretenders
8. "Time Heals" by Todd Rundgren
9. "Take It on the Run" by REO Speedwagon
10. “Rockin’ the Paradise” by Styx

11. “When Things Go Wrong” by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters
12. "History Never Repeats" by Split Enz
13. “Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special
14. “Just Between You And Me” by April Wine
15. "Sailing" by Rod Stewart
16. "Iron Maiden" by Iron Maiden
17. "Keep on Loving You" by REO Speedwagon
18. “Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson
19. "Message of Love" by the Pretenders
20. “Mr. Briefcase” by Lee Ritenour
21. "Double Life" by the Cars
22. "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
23. "Looking for Clues" by Robert Palmer
24. "Too Late" by the Shoes
25. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty
26. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart
27. “Surface Tension” by Rupert Hine

28. “One Step Ahead” by Split Enz
29. “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty
30. "I"m Gonna Follow You" by Pat Benatar
31. "Savannah Nights" by Tom Johnston
32. "Lucille" by Rockestra
33. "The Best of Times" by Styx

34. "Vengeance" by Carly Simon
35. "Wrathchild" by Iron Maiden
36. "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" by Blotto
37. "Passion" by Rod Stewart
38. "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello
39. "Don't Let Him Go" by REO Speedwagon
40. "Remote Control/Illegal" by the Silencers
41. "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton
42. "Little Sister" by Rockpile with Robert Plant

With veejay Mark Goodman in 2018.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

We didn't get MTV until around 1985 in rural SE Texas. The Southern Baptists fought it.