MTV30

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MTV Memories: MTV Bets $50,000 That Their Audience Will Watch Music Videos

I never really had much patience for the tired gripe that “MTV doesn’t play videos anymore.” After all, the complaint was already a chestnut before I started watching MTV, and yet in my early years of exposure to the channel, I scarcely had trouble finding videos. My family lived in a condo complex in Stratford, CT that, until 1996, had the most basic cable service possible, which somehow meant no MTV. So a decade and a half after the channel’s debut, I was experiencing the channel the way that those nearly a generation before me had: curiously and furiously seeking out the channel at my friends’ houses. I remember racing home after school the day that our condo’s cable package was going to be expanded to include MTV, and watching hours of videos after school, starting with “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine.

Sure, there was plenty of MTV original programming, as there always had been. Some of it was reality television and some was not. Some of it was great and some of it was not. But I quickly adapted to the schedule of the network, and could find what felt like twelve hours’ worth of videos on some weekend days. This was the beginning of a second golden age for music videos; Hype Williams gave jiggy rap its signature proto-Michael Bay sheen. Big-budget action sagas like Mariah Carey‘s “Honey” coexisted with Michel Gondry art-dreams like “Everlong.” And this was without even delving into 120 Minutes. All of this was pop, and it all coexisted. Jess Harvell analyzes this, in so many words, in a piece on Beavis and Butthead for Sound of the City (which, incidentally, is the only venue not in-house that’s actually given MTV’s entire history a fair shake for this anniversary).
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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: 30 Of The Most Memorable Moments In MTV History

As we near the end of our celebration of MTV’s 30 birthday, we figured it would be apropos to look back at thirty of the moments that defined the channel. Now, we easily could’ve listed 30,000 reasons why we love our MTV, but we’ll just have to wait until MTV’s 30,000th birthday to publish that list. For now, enjoy this cornucopia of memorable reality shows, groundbreaking music videos, hilarious interviews, jaw-dropping moments of violence, and celebrity beef.


30) Kurt Loder Prevents A Full-On Brawl Between Madonna and Courtney Love
The scene: The 1995 Video Music Awards. During a post-show interview with the unflappable Kurt Loder, Madonna gets pelted with a compact thrown by the Queen of Grunge, Courtney Love. (Heroin-fueled) hilarity and awkwardness ensues.

29) “Paint The Mutha Pink”
This memorable promo for a 1984 MTV contest was pegged to the release of John Cougar Mellencamp’s album, Uh Huh, which featured the eighties heartland anthem “Pink Houses.” The grand prize winner received a house in Bloomington, Indiana (Mellencamp’s hometown), which came with a special paint job: Pink.

28) Totally Pauly
Hey buhhh-deeee, don’t go weezin’ all the juice! After landing a gig as a VJ in 1989, Pauly Shore went from being an unknown stand-up to a major motion picture star inside of two years.

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by (@Lacezilla)

MTV Memories: How YO! MTV Raps First Made Hip Hop Mainstream

With MTV officially celebrating its 30th birthday today, music nostalgia is in the air. But for each music fan, the initial introduction to MTV’s music programming was unique and personal, and likely rouses up flashbulb memories to this very day. Speaking only for myself, that initiation process started with YO! MTV Raps.

After being on the air for almost seven years, MTV first aired YO! in April of 1988. While other television outlets like BET were showcasing African-American culture at the time, MTV, quite frankly, wasn’t really in the business of having black artists’ videos on the channel. And hip hop, specifically, was certainly not yet used as a vehicle of pop culture; if it wasn’t an indisputable, mainstream force like Michael Jackson, you probably wouldn’t see African-American artists on-air besides an occasional crossover video from Run DMC and Jazzy Jeff. Unless you witnessed hip hop music and culture bubbling within New York City’s five boroughs or other domestic regional pockets first hand (or watched Video Music Box), the genre probably hadn’t really made its way into your world yet.

From it’s inception, YO! MTV Raps curated an balance of hip hop via in-the-moment self-exploration. Since hosts Fab 5 Freddy, Doctor Dr? and Ed Lover didn’t have quite enough content to populate the show’s segments at first, videos from other genres like reggae, funk, R&B and soul were peppered-in to help hip hop’s still-developing definition expand its scope. From that fundamental, harmonious and educational coexistence came more of the same, and soon light-hearted videos like Digital Underground’s “Doowutchalike” and “Humpty Dance” were seamlessly airing beside Public Enemy’s political anthem “Fight The Power” and sonically dynamic “Passin’ Me By” from The Pharcyde, and the South’s sexually-charged posse 2 Live Crew were showcased just as much as funky artists from Queens like A Tribe Called Quest. Additionally, lyrically savvy Juice Crew member Big Daddy Kane would spin alongside the West Coast’s gangster juggernaut N.W.A., and strong female voices like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shant?: all women who didn’t need to sell sex to survive.

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: Nirvana Spaces Out On Headbanger’s Ball

When Nirvana first appeared on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in the fall of 1991, they weren’t yet the cultural phenomenon they would become just a few months later. At the time, the word “grunge” had not yet percolated in the mainstream, and Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were just two-thirds a well-regarded (if little known) band from Seattle, not international superstars nor rock icons. So, it’s little surprise that Headbanger’s Ball host Riki Rachtman –whose allegiances to the LA hair metal scene made him “the enemy” for these Seattle upstarts– treated them as curios rather than the megastars they would eventually become. And who can blame him, really, with Kurt Cobain all but refusing to engage in conversation and dressed in a ridiculous yellow ball gown?

You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel?s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: Jimmy The Cab Driver Gets Ironic (Don’t Cha Think?)

When television viewers changed their dials to MTV in the eighties and nineties, the omnipresence of music videos and wildly eclectic original shows weren’t the only way that the network differentiated itself from the competition. During the era on the network that predated its current reality-show-centric slate, the network had a proclivity for interstitial experimentation. Not quite “programming” (at least, in the “traditional” sense of the word) and not quite commercials, MTV often aired short burst entertainment in the form of animated films (think Bill Plympton), proto-animated GIFs (all of those bizarre MTV logo treatments) and outlets for outrageous original characters, like Denis Leary and Jimmy The Cab Driver.

Long before Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch debuted their Boston Teens characters on SNL, actor Donal Logue brought his comically exaggerated Southie accent and unique perspectives on the music video medium to MTV’s airwaves. There were over 40 of these spots produced, most of which can be found in this Jimmy The Cab Driver playlist. However, the one we picked out show’s Jimmy parodying Alanis Morisette‘s iconic video for “Ironic” (which, we should note, won the VMA in 1996 for Best Female Video), mainly because the image of Jimmy in pigtails is now permanently stuck in our brain, and we feel it’s only fair if we stick it in yours, too.

You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel’s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.

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MTV Memories: Jim Shearer Shares His Three Favorite Moments In MTV History

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

Were it not for MTV I can guarantee you that I wouldn?t be holding a microphone in my hand every Saturday morning on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Prior to the Internet, and before I was able to find my way to hole-in-the-wall record stores, MTV was my primary music source?well, I should say it became my primary source of music, when my religiously firm parents eased up on their secular restrictions and let me watch regularly.

Anyway, here are my three favorite MTV moments:

1.) Watching ?So What?cha Want?? For the Very First Time
It?s a well-known fact that I might be slightly obsessed with the Beastie Boys. The fascination began when I came home from school one afternoon in 1992, turned on MTV, and saw their video for ?So What?cha Want?? That?s the day I became a full-fledged fanatic. Twelve years later?in a pinch-me-if-I?m-dreaming moment?I got to host a live special on MTV where I introduced the Beastie Boys? performance of this very song.

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: Fab 5 Freddy Discovers Email, Promises To “Put Some Funk In Cyberspace”

Where were you when you first discovered email? We sincerely hope that the first time you learned of the existence of this newfangled thing called “electronic mail” while watching YO! MTV Raps back in 1994. While scouring the archives for our celebration of MTV’s 30th Anniversary, we stumbled upon this clip of YO! host Fab 5 Freddy waxing poetic on the virtues of modems, the information superhighway, and “computer flavor.” Not only does he explain what email is and how to use it, but he throws props to some of the hip hop world’s early adopters of this then-futuristic technology (including A Tribe Called Quest, The Native Tongue Crew, and KRS-One). And if all else fails, we have your next catchphrase for you to impress your friends with: “I’m outta here, like computers from the ’60s.”

You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel’s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.

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by (@Lacezilla)

This Weekend, VH1 Classic Celebrates 30 Years of MTV

Umm, is that a gray hair?! Starting this Saturday at 6 a.m., VH1 Classic will be airing ?MTV30 On VH1 Classic,? a three day tribute to MTV’s 30th anniversary of being launched into the homes of millions of people worldwide.

?VH1 Classic viewers grew up with MTV, turning the ‘I Want My MTV’ slogan into a battle cry for a generation,? said Tom Calderone, President of VH1 and VH1 Classic. ?That generation has grown up to become viewers of VH1 Classic, which is the perfect place to relive many of MTV?s iconic moments that helped shaped music and pop culture around the world.? Similarly to the clip above, this weekend-long ovation seeks to awaken viewers’ fond memories of a the iconic channel’s best programming.

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