Friday, August 1, 2014

MTV turns 33! Reality has set in, and we miss those music videos

Kurt Schlosser/Today

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You didn't know you wanted your MTV until you were told you did, and now, 33 years after the music television station first went on the air, chances are you just want your old MTV.

That's right, 33 years ago (!), on Aug. 1, 1981, the flickering MTV flag was planted on the moon, and VJ Mark Goodman welcomed us to the world's first 24-hour stereo video music channel. In addition to Goodman, we fell in love with Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Nina Blackwood.

The Buggles kicked things off by singing about how "Video Killed the Radio Star" and for years we watched our favorite rock and pop and hip-hop stars put their music to moving pictures. You remember "Thriller" and "Sledgehammer" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and so many more in large part because of the way those songs looked on MTV.

The Buggles need a new song called "Reality Killed the Video Star" because, as we all know, no one is turning on MTV anymore in the hopes of catching a new music video. The advent of cheap reality programming and migration of artists to YouTube changed the channel. Your feelings about "The Real World" or "Road Rules" or "Jersey Shore" or "16 and Pregnant" will determine if you think the change was for the best.

Quinn, Goodman, Hunter and Blackwood visited TODAY last year and reminisced about the start of it all and the artists who had a lasting impact on them.

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In the end, it's a good day to wish MTV a happy birthday and remember some of the classic music videos that shaped popular culture as we know it.

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