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Tiki Central Forums Bilge 25th year anniversary of MTV
25th year anniversary of MTV
donhonyc
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Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2006-07-31 11:39 pm   Permalink

So today marks the day, August 1, 1981, 25 years ago that MTV first launched itself into the collective consciousness of the planet. While we will hear and read accounts over the next couple of days of folks going on and on about the profound effect the channel has had on popular culture, I'd like to share my own thoughts and experiences with the whole phenomenon.

25 years ago at this time I was 14 years old. Like alot of you here on TC, I was smack-dab in the middle of the prime demographic MTV was made for, and while it was a new and exciting thing to be a part of, it was also the beginning and, in some cases...unfortunately, the sad end of a particular aspect of youth culture that had existed in suburban America in the late 70s and early 80s. You couldn't see it right at that moment, but that part of being a kid was about to be destroyed by big hair, synthesizers, and Madonna. Yeah, it was great at the very beginning. An all music video network was something that was sorely needed.The only outlets for seeing any live rock music on TV was 'The Midnight Special' and 'Don Kirchner's Rock Concert'. Both of those shows were hit or miss and they only came on once a week, so MTV was a breath of fresh air when it came along. Seeing videos by bands that you probably never heard of like The Specials, The Jam, The Police, Adam and the Ants, The Buggles, etc. gave MTV a very underground feel. You felt like you were being educated by a whole new world of bands and music that American rock radio would never dare play. From that perspective, I would say that MTV had a big impact on the whole New Wave scene in America. Even Duran Duran seemed 'underground'. It's hard to imagine now, but at the time the 'Girls on Film' video, looked and sounded like a band from another planet. Totally sophisticated and cool. Finding out about stuff like that on MTV was part of the fun. I remember seeing the Run-DMC video for 'Rockbox' back then. That completely blew my mind! Rap and rock together?? Cool! (Well, at least cool until the Aerosmith/RunDMC 'Walk This Way' colaboration. Sorry..that sucked.) The other interesting thing about MTV 25 years later is that you can see how some of the bands from the 60s like The Who and The Stones embraced the music video format and enabled themselves to continue to be relevant to young audiences even though at that point people like Pete Townshend and Jagger were nearing 40 years old (gasp!).

Even though my family at the time didn't have cable TV, I became a big fan of MTV, watching it at my friend's houses almost constantly. What I began to notice in about a year or two after MTV went on the air was the complete hijacking, by alot of wimp-ass, for lack of a better term, bands and artists that had no creativity or balls in their music or images. The golden age of the channel was over. The quality of music went downhill. There was no more of that 'public acess TV feel' that MTV had in the beginning. Soon it became the channel to catch the latest videos by Madonna, Michael Jackson, Mister Mister, Taylor Dane, and Paula Abdul. Kids started to imitate the fashions by these sucky perfomers and this lame-ass music was everywhere. The fun part of that, was that MTV perhaps unknowingly fueled a backlash that was the catalyst for what may have arguably started "grunge" and other alternative rock genres that became popular in the 90s. But it was obvious by the mid-80s that we were truly, thanks to MTV, in 'The Age of Plastic' (coincidentally the name of the Buggles album that 'Video Killed the Radio Star' came from). It wasn't all bad, however. MTV did maintain some of it's early credibility by airing shows like IRS' "The Cutting Edge", and (the early) "Headbanger's Ball". I thought the broadcast of 'Live Aid' in '85 was a very cool thing, and of course, who could forget "120 Minutes".

Over the last 10-15 years though MTV has definitley become a complete and total cespool of popular culture. The edge has been gone for years, and we can thank them for keeping the the flame of mediocrity alive and well while kissing the asses of people like Britney Spears, Puff Daddy, Ashlee and Jessica and the Backstreet Boys. The list goes on and on. Shows like the VMAs, 'The Real World, 'Cribs', and 'Pimp My Ride' are breeding grounds for the perpetuation of a self-involved youth culture that models themselves after assholes like Paris Hilton and Justin Timberlake. In short...to quote Mojo Nixon...'Music Television should be covered in jizum!!!" I secretly want to go and painball the exterior of their Times Square studio in horseshit, but the Viacom police would probably come and get me. So happy anniversary...I guess. I'm just glad I got to grow up in the 80s....the EARLY 80s!!!





[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc 2006-07-31 23:43 ]


 
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Unga Bunga
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Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5812
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2006-08-01 12:37 am   Permalink

God Damn Donhonyc,
That's a cool post, but next time, have a down loadable I~Pod version, for when I'm in traffic. (No patience Unga)


 
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Unga Bunga
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Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5812
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2006-08-01 12:39 am   Permalink

Back to MTV,
The first five years, broke ground like KRAKATOA!


 
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TikiTikiTavi
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 121
From: Exotica
Posted: 2006-08-01 05:11 am   Permalink

I thought MTV was very cool in the first few years, you know, when they played MUSIC. I tried watching it a few weeks ago when the hype started to build about the 25th and I find it unwatchable. Yeah, I'm not their target audience but who the heck wants to watch all those commercials? They also turned me off when they started getting political, creating reality shows, game shows and other things that had nothing to do with the original concept of the channel...Music Television.

 
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Tiki-Kate
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Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2006-08-01 08:17 am   Permalink

VH1 has been showing the first 24 hours of MTV since yesterday evening.

I'm Tivoing the whole thing.

I was an MTV junkie back in the day. (My cable company started carrying it in 1983.)I averaged about five hours a day. I really enjoyed most of what they played back in the early days, but I was actually just waiting around every day to see if they'd play Split Enz. I cut back for about a year after Split Enz broke up, but started up again in late 1986 when Crowded House's first album was released and they ended up in heavy rotation.


 
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King Bushwich the 33rd
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Joined: Jan 10, 2005
Posts: 1168
From: Ling Cod Beach, CA 90803
Posted: 2006-08-01 2:51 pm   Permalink

Jello Biafra's reaction to MTV?

http://www.deadkennedys.com/images/albums/f/lyrics.htm#8

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bigtikidude
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 8868
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2006-08-01 3:27 pm   Permalink

although I was into rock and Metal, I couldn't help but sit there for hours on end watching the videos in the early days, even if it was music I hated I still watched. then like most said it went down hill from there. The only thing I watched on MTV after that was headbangers ball, 120 minutes, and Bevis and Butthead.
Damn them for starting reality TV (real world)
I loved you MTV, now I hate you.

Jeff(bigtikidude)


 
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Monkeyman
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Joined: Mar 04, 2003
Posts: 2367
From: Vista, CA
Posted: 2006-08-01 5:21 pm   Permalink

wonderful post.. great story.

I remember very vividly running down the street to my freinds house as he exclaimed... dude theres this new channel on TV. You have to see it.

I think I was 12
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TikiTikiTavi
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 121
From: Exotica
Posted: 2006-08-01 5:57 pm   Permalink

OK, I have to admit that after I gave up all hope of MTV redeeming themselves, they came out with Beavis and Butthead. For several years those two delightful misfits provided me with laughter. I must say that B&B made MTV ok for a few years in my eyes. Then the dumbasses took it off.....huh huh huh huh..... I said dumbasses....

 
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ikitnrev
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Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1313
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-08-01 7:50 pm   Permalink

Part of me is amazed - has it really been 25 years since MTV premiered in 1981?
That is the equivalent of being in the year 1981, and looking back 25 years -- and finding yourself in 1956, when Elvis Presley first appeared on the music charts.

I was in college when MTV premiered, and it is easy to forget how exotic that music channel was when it premiered. I can remember going to nightclubs, where they would have various big screen televisions, all tuned in to MTV, and the place would be PACKED with people -- it may have been that this bar was able to somehow receive the MTV signal, while the local cable network, and certainly the college dorms, could not.

The above bar would be full of people chatting and hanging out, but whenever a particularly favorite video would come on, the din of conversation in the whole place would be lowered, as people turned their attention away from their table conversation to the video. For some reason, I can recall the Wall of Voodoo video 'Mexican Radio' popping up on the TV screens, and people chiming in to sing along with the classic line 'I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbequed iguana.'

This was when the legal drinking age was still 18, and at that time, it seemed as almost a perfect world -- finally able to legally share pitchers of beers with one's friends, while watching both MTV and the others gathered in the nightclub.

I wonder if elements of my parent's generation have the same sense of camaraderie, nostalgia, and community for the period when Elvis emerged?


Vern



 
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donhonyc
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Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2006-08-01 8:18 pm   Permalink

Totally Vern..'exotic' is another great way to describe MTV in it's early years. That's a pretty cool comparison with the Elvis thing too. Goddam...now I really feel old. At least I'm not as old as the original Vee-Jays. Mark Goodman's gotta be what? Over 50 at this point?

As mentioned in an earlier post, VH1 Classic has been broadcasting the first day of MTV all day. Basically they're showing the first videos shown, but I'm wondering if the rotation that they are showing them in is the actual one broadcast on 8/1/81. I keep seeing alot of the same videos over and over again. Wouldn't be surprised if that's how it was back then since video making was sort of limited. A couple that I saw today totally took me back. Pretty mind blowing, indeed. I mean when was the last time I heard or saw 'Wrathchild' from the original pre-Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden?? Damn!!!! Another one that unearthed cells from the depths of my brain not used in years was 'Sign of the Gypsy Queen' from April Wine!!!! Oh my god!!!!! I haven't heard that song in literally 25 years!!!!!

Sirius Satellite Radio has also done a pretty good job commemorating the date with music and commentary from all of the remaining Vee-Jays sans, of course, good old JJ Jackson (R.I.P). I alway liked JJ. In fact, I liked all of them..Mark, Allan, Martha, and Nina. Pretty cool unannoying, unpretentious bunch that all seemed genuinely interested in music.

Sounds totally cornball, but it was alot of fun back then. MTV was a pretty amazing and unexpected shift in the musical universe, and even though it turned out suckin the big weiner later on in it's existence, I submit: do the youth of America get to live through anything as cool as that now??


 
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WooHooWahine
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Mar 04, 2005
Posts: 3103
From: Mission (Impossible) Viejo, Ca
Posted: 2006-08-01 8:22 pm   Permalink

WooooHoooo! Video Killed The Radio Star

 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
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Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2006-08-02 12:19 am   Permalink

Yeah, I guess that makes me pretty old as well. Sigh.

My memories of MTV tend to revolve around the precursors of that famous video show and how it all seemed to build and happen in an instant in those few years near the end of high school. Sure, back in the 1970s, you could walk into any stereo and television store and see ABBA videos showing on every screen - advertising for both ABBA's new record and the sound and picture quality of the TVs in the store. Even though they were boring, just showing closeups of the girls singing, they still held me captivated as they played over and over.

But it was 1979 that sticks in my mind. I had my own small television in my bedroom, which I had redeemed for coupons earned by talking people into subscribing to the Daily Breeze newspaper. Late at night, when I couldn't sleep I would turn on the TV and there, on some obscure midnight show, would be David Bowie's "I Am A DJ" video with the shocking (to me) scene of Bowie kissing some guy on the lips that he passed on the street. I was amazed and hooked on the music video format from then on. David Bowie made it easy with otherworldly videos like the 1980
Ashes to Ashes, which was so creative and hallucinatory to me at the time, that it inevitably spoiled me for the repetive pap that MTV became only a year or two after its premiere.

By 1980 I was a Senior in High School and full-bore into New Wave and listening to budding L.A. music station KROQ. DJ Richard Blade started his own syndicated video show called MV3 at least six months before MTV and it was on regular non-cable TV, so I could watch it every afternoon after school. Blade played a lot of videos of KROQ favorites like Translator's "You're Everywhere That I'm Not", and Barnes & Barnes "Sponge For Your Love" which I never saw later on MTV.

I remember riding my bike to my friend's apartment to see the opening moments of MTV's first show, then riding over after work almost every day for a year to watch an hour or so for the first year. There was just nothing like it on TV. It was new and fresh and addicting. This friend from work was named Danny Chavez and he was handsome and worldly and independant at age 18. He went to clubs at night, which I was not allowed to do, so we would watch MTV and he would teach me to dance the New Wave Twist and the various Mod and Ska dances he learned at the clubs.

Later in 1981 I got a job as a computer programmer in Long Beach and I would call in to KROQ during the day when most of the listeners where still in school and would win concert tickets almost every week. That's how I got to see Echo & The Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, China Crisis, Pere Ubu, and numerous other bands. Over half the DJ's on KROQ were female in the 1980s - A trend mirrored on MTV that I thought would continue on L.A. radio, but sadly died off. There was a comic book store in Hermosa Beach and the owner worked in the record industry in Hollywood. He would get all the Promo lps in that you weren't allowed to sell, but he sold anyway in his comic book store. I would buy them and call the DJs on KROQ and they would have me drive in to the old station in Pasadena late at night and I would sit with DJs Jedd The Fish and The Swedish Eagle and we would play tracks live off these promos as "exclusives" that no other station had at the time. It was really heady stuff for an 19-year-old kid: sitting with my favorite DJs and talking live on air and having them sign all my albums. But my interest in MTV waned as it became more and more Pop and more and more repetitive.

It wasn't till the late 80s, early 90s that I became interested in music videos again, when a late night Los Angeles music video show called "Are Oh Vee" brought back all those memories of watching Bowie in my bedroom on my little 8-inch TV. Are Oh Vee played these raw and obscure Punk, Independent, Industrial, Rockabilly and whatever videos you would never see on MTV, but had ten times the soul and authenticity. I would tape that show religiously and invite my friends over to watch it later. I wish there was still something like that on normal TV nowadays.

Sabu



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donhonyc
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Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2006-08-02 05:37 am   Permalink

Quote:


But it was 1979 that sticks in my mind. I had my own small television in my bedroom, which I had redeemed for coupons earned by talking people into subscribing to the Daily Breeze newspaper. Late at night, when I couldn't sleep I would turn on the TV and there, on some obscure midnight show, would be David Bowie's "I Am A DJ" video with the shocking (to me) scene of Bowie kissing some guy on the lips that he passed on the street. I was amazed and hooked on the music video format from then on. David Bowie made it easy with otherworldly videos like the 1980 Ashes to Ashes, which was so creative and hallucinatory to me at the time, that it inevitably spoiled me for the repetive pap that MTV became only a year or two after its premiere.




That's got to be one of the best descriptions of David Bowie videos from that time that I have ever read.

I have very similar experiences in those pre-MTV years as well when videos in the form we would know them later in the 80s, were popping up here and there. Around 1978 or 79 I remember going to a local hi-fi store where they had big screen TVs playing Rod Stewart videos continuously, but even more interestingly I remember going to a Musicland record store in the mall where they had a monitor set up in some fancy free-standing unit called the 'Videotron 3000' or something like that. I remember standing there, all of 12 or 13 years old and being glued to the thing as it played videos with a host talking in between the songs much like the VJs on MTV would do later on. The videos they played were 'Babe' from Styx, and more mindblowingly 'I'm Bored' by Iggy Pop and an incredibly quirky video from Mike Nesmith formerly of the Monkees from his album 'Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma' called (I think) 'Cruisin'. Standing there watching the Iggy and Nesmith videos were like 'here's your mind..here's your mind completely blown to smithereens.'

And like you Sabu, I had the same experience watching David Bowie videos around the same time. One night on the Midnight Special (which ran every Friday night after Johnny Carson on NBC), they ran the 'DJ' and 'Boys Keep Swinging' videos from Bowie's 'The Lodger' album which had just come out. Not only was I shocked at the content of those videos, I think I was actually scared. But scared in a good way, I didn't want to turn them off. Particularly in 'Boys Keep Swinging' when Bowie is dressed in drag as three different women, and walks a fashion show type runway, takes off his wig and smears the lipstick he's wearing. FUCKED UP!! The concepts in both of these represented alot of what was going on in those days in music videos. Total free-form content with crude imagery that broke all narrative boundaries and challenged whatever ideas you may have had about regular day-to-day living. As a teenager someone like Bowie doing these things in videos was a wierd and very exciting thing.

But yeah...looking for videos before MTV was like a lost treasure hunt at times. I remember around that same 78-79 era staying up late into the night to watch a video show put on by one of the local radio stations in south Florida called K-102. The show was called 'K-102 Video Rock' and I remember one night hanging out trying to stay awake, just so I could see them play the 'Dream Police' video from Cheap Trick.

All this talk of days like that sounds so pre-historic with things like Youtube and stuff, these videos are all a database search away. That's great and all,but I did love those days when getting your mind blown was a relatively infrequent and precious thing.


 
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freddiefreelance
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Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 2991
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2006-08-04 09:20 am   Permalink

I wonder if MTV will commemorate March 10, 2008, the 25th anniversary of the first time they aired a video by a black artist. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson.

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Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., Th.D., D.F.S


 
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