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MTV's Most Memorable Videos

by Linda Ryan

MTV's Most Memorable Videos


About this playlist

When you think of MTV in its heyday, images of Duran Duran dressed in colorful suits on a yacht probably flit through your mind. Or maybe you have flashbacks of the flamboyant Boy George coming down a river on a paddleboat. Or perhaps Madonna as Marilyn? Peter Gabriel as fruit? How 'bout Michael Jackson as a zombie? Over the years, MTV broke many bands and started many trends -- both in music and in fashion. Most importantly, it provided the artistic platform for which creative, groundbreaking videos were made. Music trends come and go, but the impressions some of MTV's earliest videos left on a generation are indelible. This playlist is comprised of artists whose videos are closely associated with the golden days of MTV. Listen along as you read through 10 trivia facts about the early days of music television.

  1. MTV debuted on August 1, 1981. The first video played was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star."

  2. The original VJs were Mark Goodman, JJ Jackson, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood and Martha Quinn.

  3. According to VJ Mark Goodman, the original crew often traveled to New Jersey to watch MTV, as it wasn't available in Manhattan when it launched.

  4. Original VJ Alan Hunter was paid $27,000 his starting year.

  5. In the beginning, MTV VJs would travel the country to persuade cable companies to carry MTV. Later, it was the music stars who propelled the "I Want My MTV" campaign.

  6. The first Video Music Awards were presented in 1984.

  7. In 1984, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" lost out to The Cars' "You Might Think" for the Video of the Year award.

  8. MTV's first reality show, The Real World, launched in 1992.

  9. Beevis and Butthead debuted on MTV on March 8, 1993.

  10. Headbangers Ball, 120 Minutes and Yo! MTV Raps were some of the network's first genre-specific specialty shows.

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