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Happy B-day MTV

August 1, 2006

I was 11 when the station first aired. Not that I saw it that year, or the next, or even the one after that. No, mine was the band-wagon voice (ah, teen pressure) that was chanting “I want my MTV” to no one particular, inspired by marketing execs (probably themselves only 25 at the time) to drive demand for the new station.

And then it came. The new satillite dishes were installed at the local cable company (within bike riding distance from my house), and with it came expanded cable. To a teen in the far reaches of civilization, it was a lifeline…and MTV was the naughty indulgence.

I found Martha Quinn cute, Tawny Kitaen a roucous dream and the heavy metal riff contagious. With an older sister into Molly Hatchet, Iron Maiden and the like, I was a rock dilletante, happy and content with the programmed format dished up for me. And life was good.

And they played music: Sting, Dire Straights and Madonna. And there were the Pet Shop Boys, John Couger Melloncamp, and Robert Palmer.

I don’t know if the power of videos are as strong now, with reality TV (pioneered, for good or ill, on MTV’s “Real World.”) and the web (I can get all the videos I want on YouTube). But, at least for me, MTV served a vital, cultural function. It showed me rebellion, punk, rock and ballads; hair bands and vixens; scandal and cat-fights.

Few other channels have held such a place.

Happy b-day.

Anyone have a favorite video from the past?

  1. Miranda permalink
    August 1, 2006 11:35 pm

    I grew up in Motown proper and the city didn’t get cable until I had moved out, IIRC. I was so jealous of my cousins who were able to watch videos whenever my aunt wasn’t looking. My brothers and I had to wait until they came on the once a week video show on channel 50 which was only a half-hour long.

    I remember being completely freaked out by “Thriller” and transfixed by “Dancing on the Ceiling” by Lionel Ritchie.

    Madonna was the queen of ’80s MTV and this little trip down memory lane makes me all nostalgic for metal and hair bands. Remember the video for “Photograph”?

    Good times. I am old.

  2. Teri permalink
    August 2, 2006 3:35 pm

    The area I lived in didn’t even get cable until well after MTV was launched, as I recall, and my parents never ponied up the cash for cable, anyway, being mostly anti-t.v. sorts. The t.v. was referred to as either the “boob tube” or the “idiot box” in our house.
    Broadcast t.v. did have a Sunday morning video show, and I watched that – and for a while a local ow-power station broadcast Canada’s Much Music channel – which had Much better videos & music than either the local video show or MTV. (The videos I liked tended to be ones where I liked the music before I ever saw the video, or where I had a crush on some member of the band.)

  3. Piss Poor Prof permalink
    August 3, 2006 3:41 pm

    The day seems to have gone by with little fanfare. MTV proper didn’t really acknowledge it, as its demographic wasn’t born 25 years ago…that would make them old…

    VH1, though, ran the first day’s telecast.

    For me, there was no other music besides the top-40 and metal stations: well, that is overstated…out in West Texas there were lots of country stations.

    A side note…my town successfully petitioned to ban Ozzy from performing. He was argued to be a minion of Satan. Ahhh, the memories.

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