I Want my MTV!

I can remember vividly– I was 10 years old and sitting in my parents den at our home in Jacksonville, North Carolina. We had recently moved there on a transfer for my father’s job. He was a Marine.

We grew up as a modest middle class family with the requisite 2.5 kids–my brother Chris was not quite two yet so I guess he can count as a half of a kid still–the dog and a station wagon in the driveway.

We didn’t have a picket fence but we did live in Sherwood Forest. The name of our street was Little John and all the surrounding streets were named after the classic tale.

One thing’s for certain though… we were one of the few families in the neighborhood that had cable television. I can remember sitting in front of the big console TV way too close because the cable box sat on top with these little push buttons to change the channel.

No remote in those days.

On August 1, 1981 I was flipping through the channels and I came across one that would change not only my life but the world forever.

It was Music Television. Thats right MTV!

Did you know that the classic moon landing commercial aired over 75,000 times? 17,000 times in the inaugural year.

MTV defined my generation. I have so many memories:

Headbangers Ball on Saturday Nights.

Watching Metallica’s One video a thousand times in high school with my guitar in hand trying so hard to learn the riffs just like Kirk;

Hair-bands like Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Warrant, Slaughter and Winger spent millions of dollars making videos that were like mini four minute movies.

Beavis and Butthead.

Staying up all night watching videos at sleep overs when I was in early middle school and having contests on who was the best band–Devo? Madonna? Wham! ? Milli Vanilli?

The game show, Remote Control in 1989 where Adam Sandler got his start way before SNL.

The music awards show and the crazy stunt that Howard Stern pulled as the Fartman in 1992

The MTV news spots with Kurt Loder.

Hearing it first when Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark was found dead and my girlfriend screaming and crying.

[Check this out: The Long, Colorful History of MTV’s Logo]

I can recall hearing of Kurt Cobain’s death on the radio driving in Tampa, Florida and doing whatever I could to get home to watch the reports on MTV.

The birth of Yo! MTV Raps!

And the fall of the great music channel and rise of the reality shows such as the Real World, Cribs, and Pimp My Ride.

Its hard to believe it has been 30 years since MTV released at midnight on August 1, 1981 with The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star. They don’t even play much music anymore. That is a shame… Sure you can still check out some old school videos on VH-1 but today’s kids don’t even know much about the original music destination on television.

They are a YouTube generation.

What are your memories of MTV? Share your stories.

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One comment

  1. Totally remember the debut, NOT! In 1981 cable lines had not been put in our neighborhood. Being just 9 years old I barely new what rock was then. By 1982 that all changed! MTV was the first channel I tuned into when our cable was finally available.

    I remember my Dad saying it looks like those boys didn’t make the cut for Solid Gold Dancers! That’s when I knew my childhood had changed drastically!

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