MTV Turns 30

On this day in 1981 an ambitious cable television network debuted with footage of the Apollo 11 launch and a promise from then unknown video jockey Mark Goodman that “you’ll never look at music the same way again.” Then Rod Stewart and contemporaries (but mostly Rod Stewart) lip-synched on the screens of the few northern New Jerseyans whose cable operator picked up the channel. The rest is history. So let’s get nostalgic — because nostalgia’s the best — by listening to Blondes Have More Fun on Spotify watching the first hour of MTV’s broadcast in six parts below. If you don’t have an hour, just watch the beginning of the second clip because it includes a commercial for Superman II.

Later in MTV history the Internet would kill the Buggles…

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Comments (17)
  1. Needs more Real World vs. Road Rules competitions.

  2. Classic MTV and Modern MTV are bizzaro versions of each other.

  3. Exploring space and music? I am your target audience, MTV. How did you lose me so fast?

  4. Man i wish MTV was still cool

  5. Despite bellyaching of modern day MTV, and deserved it is, I still admire what they were trying to do back then. I mean, the temperature of music on the radio was different than what was on the channel, which was bad and good. They were playing more European music because they had been making videos first, and they were also playing anyone who could give them a video, referring to punk and new wave acts. Though, it does hurt that Blacks were largely invisible in its inception, and it took a stink from major music figures to eradicate that.

    My point is, many of us as so called “music lovers” have a lot of fun making fun of MTV (that has become as cliché as well), but I would posit that there was probably a favorite moment the channel you share from your youth as well. And that’s something worth celebrating.

  6. But for some good memories from my childhood/puberty time, there is nothing to celebrate. This is not anymore the same channel that used to have some purpose=promote MUSIC.

  7. Trash TV Killed the Vi-de-o Starrrr:(

  8. It’s extra sad that MTV2 was ONCE the answer to MTV switching to all shows vs videos, but then they just couldn’t help themselves and had to make it a total clone of M1. It’s pathetic, you wanna pacify the people? Turn MTV2 back into the straight up music channel it was when it first started, and do with M1 whatever the hell you wish. (though even then, if they overload the mix of vids with too many crap new ones and fluffy pop n r&b, it still wouldn’t really help).

  9. holy crap hahaha, i had NO CLUE that ‘the Tesla classic’ Little Suzi was a cover hahaha, you don’t check on these things when you’re a kid:)

  10. MTV’s golden years were between 1990 and 1999. We were lucky to have witnessed rock n roll’s last dying breath with ‘grunge’. Which actually was right before the internet came along and wiped it all away. MTV should stop calling itself “Music Television”. It’s an insult to all true music fans around the planet.

  11. they played some pretty terrible music in the first hour

  12. I remember always watching TRL with my sister growing up after school. Thanks MTV for the good music shows you did have. Also, thank you for bringing Beavis and Butthead back.

  13. Watching this makes me wish I had been born earlier, instead all the memories of MTV that I have is watching Back Street Boys and whatever other boyband junk was popular with the kids in the mid-late 90s. Now I don’t even watch or consider MTV musically relevant. Palladium is a much better music channel but barely anybody has it.

  14. The big question is what the second hour looked like. Knowing MTV, it was just a rebroadcast of the first hour. The third? More of the same, probably.

  15. Awwww…….MTV….you used to rock. Now look at you. You’ve gotten fat dumb and lazy and nobody wants to hang out with you.

  16. To hell with History: EMI is already taking down videos (third one already off line). I will download some random EMI act now, just for spite.

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