With footage of Apollo 11 and a permed-hair, a young dude named Mark Goodman (soon to become known as a “VJ” – the network doesn’t have those anymore...), MTV launched on August 1, 1981.
30 years later, a fan created youtube/MTVTheFirst24– a channel dedicated to re-broadcasting Saturday, August 1st ,1981 eternally (or at least until YouTube blocks these videos for copyright infringement).
Watch MTV’s first day of broadcast here (some complete with time-warp commercials, others ripped from VH 1 Classic’s 25th anniversary broadcast).
Many people know the first video aired was The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”…. but what else was played??
…Pat Benatar, The Who, Cliff Richard, The Pretenders, REO Speedwagon, Iron Maiden, The Pretenders, The Cars, Phil Collins, Iron Maiden, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, The Specials, Talking Heads, Nick Lowe, Blondie, David Bowie and a whole lotta Rod Stewart…
…not to mention a solid dose of flash-in-the-pans…
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 (Stewart videos also aired in positions #15 “Sailing”, #26 “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, #37 “Passion”, #51 “Ain’t Love a Bitch”, #66 “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)”, and #77 “Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight” – making him the artist with the most videos played that day)
4 “You Better You Bet” by The Who (also the 55th video, marking it as the first video aired twice on MTV)
5 “Little Suzi’s on the Up” 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
13 “Hold on Loosely” by 38 Special
16 “Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden
17 “Keep on Loving You (Live)” by REO Speedwagon
19 “Message of Love” by The Pretenders (also #59)
21 “Double Life” by The Cars
22 “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins (also #75)
25 “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
30 “I’m Gonna Follow You” by Pat Benatar
34 “Vengeance” by Carly Simon
35 “Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden (also #79)
38 “Oliver’s Army” by Elvis Costello
46 “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac
49 “Rapture” by Blondie
50 “Don’t Let Go the Coat” by The Who
52 “Talk of the Town” by The Pretenders
58 “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” by Kate Bush
60 “All Night Long” by Rainbow
61 “Boys Keep Swinging” by David Bowie
62 “Rat Race” by The Specials
64 “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads
67 “Cruel to Be Kind” by Nick Lowe
71 “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush
74 “A Message to You, Rudy” by The Specials
76 “Heart of Glass” by Blondie
78 “Kid” by The Pretenders
82 “Sister Disco” by The Who
83 “Fashion” by David Bowie
NPR Morning Edition, August 1, 2001: “The network brought us: Madonna rolling on the stage floor in a sheer white (wedding?) dress and purring Like a Virgin during the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards; 1985’s Live Aid, a benefit concert watched by a global TV audience estimated at 1.5 billion; Nirvana “Unplugged”; Beavis and Butt-Head; The Real World; the violence-plagued Woodstock ’99; and Celebrity Deathmatch…. Jim DeRogatis, a music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, says MTV has destroyed the once intimate relationship between the music and its listeners. “In fact, MTV has never been about rock ‘n’ roll,” he says. “Pop is what MTV’s always been about,” about appealing to the mainstream, about popular tastes — and massive sales, DeRogatis says…. But record industry executive Danny Goldberg insists the music comes first.”
NPR, August 1, 2011: “The network is now reupping pre-2000 programming, bringing back 120 Minutes over the weekend and airing new episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head in the fall… The Madonna-like reinvention isn’t a new move. For every generation, there is another version of MTV. Perhaps the retro approach is another nostalgia-fueled fad in their evolution (Fellow Viacom network Nickelodeon is also employing the same strategy with ’90s programming)… Or maybe MTV is demonstrating that inevitable sign of aging: defining yourself by the best of your past.”
iconvsicon.com: “MTV2’s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield… [returns] to MTV2 as an on-air monthly series beginning Saturday, July 30th at 1 AM ET/ 10 PM PT. Matt Pinfield, 120 Minutes’ most beloved and respected host, returns to provide music fans with an unfiltered look at today’s hottest alternative and indie artists, as well as emerging artists spanning multiple genres including hip-hop and rock through exclusive interviews and music videos.
“I am ecstatic to part of the rebirth of this iconic and influential music series,” said Matt Pinfield. “While the new show on MTV2 will feature the same dose of progressive music fans of the original 120 Minutes embraced and loved, we’ll now be expanding outside the alternative music universe to feature a myriad of emerging artists and sounds from a variety of genres.”
The debut episode of MTV2’s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield will feature exclusive interviews with Dave Grohl, PJ Harvey, Kings of Leon, Dangermouse with Danielle Luppi, Das Racist, Sleigh Bells, Lupe Fiasco, Zach Braff, Black Angels, Fitz and the Tantrums and Theophilus London. Fans will also see the uncensored version of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” music video, Mumford and Sons VH1 Unplugged performance of “Roll Your Stone,” the music video for Cults’ “Abducted” and more.
New episodes of MTV2’s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield will air the last Saturday of every month at 1 AM ET/ 10pm PT and will be available online at 120.MTV2.com. In addition, music fans will be treated to a bi-weekly two-minute fix of Pinfield via 120 Seconds, the web companion series, exclusively on MTV’s newly launched pure music website, MTV Hive, as well as great moments and performances from many classic 120 Minutes episodes. Since launching in March at SXSW, 120 Seconds has featured interviews with artists including The Decemberists, Waaves, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Kills, Richard Ashcroft and Ratatat.”
Entertianment Weekly “Fans who’ve never forgiven MTV for abandoning music in favor of reality shows about the attention-seeking, fame-whoring, and alcohol-guzzling, were particular dismayed when “Minutes” was canceled in 2003 after a 17-year run.
To commemorate the launch of the new show, we asked Matt Pinfield to take a ’90s nostalgia trip and give us his favorite moments from the old “120 Minutes”…
Oasis (Oct. 15, 1995)
“During that first show I did with Oasis, they ended up fighting over which football team is better in their hometown of Manchester: Manchester City or Manchester United. While the cameras were rolling, they were ready to brawl on the set — ‘City’s the best! No, United’s the best!’ …
Frank Black of the Pixies (March 17, 1996)
“I always take the music seriously, but it’s important to have fun too. So Frank and I put our two bald heads together, which looked like an ass basically.”
Radiohead (Sept. 21, 1997)
“Thom Yorke invited me to do an interview with him backstage at RadioCityMusic Hall, and it ended up in their movie “Meeting People Is Easy,” and the premise of that movie is how miserable it is to be doing interviews all the time. But our interview was the only bright moment in the film. He’s smiling, laughing, having a good time. It’s the one moment of relief in the whole documentary.
And also when they came in to play from their album The Bends, they did a whole bunch of songs from that album at 9:00am and Thom’s voice was incredible. A lot of artists came in over the years, and would be jetlagged, or out all night on theLower East Side drinking before the shoot — and we usually shoot early in the morning — so I was impressed with how polished they were at such an early hour.”
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Dec. 20, 1998)
“One of the craziest moments was when Jon showed up to do a pre-Christmas show, and he was so rocked. He was in his Santa suit, but he was drinking a bottle of whisky and almost disrobed in front of the camera. He nearly stripped down! He was out of control!”
flavorwire: “The online video revolution didn’t take place until after the show aired its final episode: Vimeo was founded in November of 2004, and the first YouTube video was uploaded in April 2005. It took another few years (and music’s incremental disappearance from MTV and VH1′s lineups, replaced by Jersey Shore and “Celebreality”) for the internet to replace TV as the intended medium for clips by everyone from obscure, unsigned bands to Lady Gaga. These days, most highly anticipated music videos premiere on artists’ website or sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum. Even for previously unknown artists, the internet can be a much more effective place to gain exposure than a late-night show on MTV2….As much fun as it is to watch, the only thing that separates 120 Minutes from something a talented kid with good taste in music could edit together is the artist interviews. Unfortunately, MTV2 has chopped these segments into unsatisfyingly short tidbits, with Pinfield directing viewers to the show’s website to see more… I got the feeling that 120 Minutes‘ new, faster pace — its split-second interviews and silly “guess the musician” games — reflected an attempt to engage with today’s multitasking teens and 20-somethings. That’s a shame, because some of my fondest memories of the show involve sprawling, often frankly bizarre, conversations between the bands and the host…. To survive in its current, monthly format, 120 Minutes is going to need to give us more true exclusives: not just revealing interviews but also video premieres and unique, well-shot in-studio performances (why film at a music venue when you’re not going to use the stage?). Instead of wasting time rehashing “classic” videos from alt-rock’s heyday (this week brought Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” Radiohead’s “Just,” and Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”) that we can watch on YouTube whenever we want, why not send a reporter out to film a quick segment introducing viewers to a new musical movement or local scene we might not know about?”