Happy 35th Birthday to MTV and Welcome Back

by VVN Music

August 1 is a big day for MTV and its associated networks around the world.

35 years ago today, the original MTV network came onto just a few cable systems. It wasn't the first time that music videos had been used to try and create programming. A Philadelphia DJ, Bob Whitney, had used promo clips for his syndicated show The Now Explosion, from the early 70's. The QUBE system in Columbus, OH had an interactive music channel in the late 70's and Michael Nesmith created the series PopClips on Nickelodeon in 1979 which was the model for MTV.

At 12:01 AM on August 1, 1981, MTV debuted with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll" and the now iconic rocket launch/moon flag MTV ID.


The original five MTV DJ's, who would be the face of the station, were on hand from day 1, including Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn and the late-J.J. Jackson.

Then there were the first video's played:
  • Video Killed the Radio Star - Buggles
  • You Better Run - Pat Benatar
  • She Won't Dance With Me Rod Stewart
  • You Better You Bet - Who
  • Little Suzi's on the Up - PhD
  • We Don't Talk Anymore - Cliff Richard
  • Brass in Pocket Pretenders
  • Time Heals - Todd Rundgren
  • Take it On the Run - REO Speedwagon
  • Rockin' the Paradise - Styx
  • When Things Go Wrong - Robin Lane and the Chartbusters
  • History Never Repeats - Split Enz
  • Hold on Loosely - .38 Special
  • Just Between You and Me - April Wine
  • Sailing - Rod Stewart
  • Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
  • Keep on Loving You - REO Speedwagon
  • Bluer Than Blue - Michael Johnson
  • Message of Love - The Pretenders
  • Mr. Briefcase - Lee Ritenour
That wasn't the only MTV that kicked off on August 1. The date became a linchpin for the group of channels.
  • MTV Europe launched on August 1, 1987 with the first video being another classic about the music video culture, Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. 
  • MTV2 debuted on August 1, 1996, returning to an all music format that had recently been cut back on the original MTV. The new channel launched with Beck's Where It's At
  • MTV S, the original Spanish version of MTV, launched on August 1, 1998. 
  • CMT Music, an offshoot of CMT (owned by MTV) also debuted on August 1, 1998. 
Today, August 1, 2016, is the debut of their latest venture, MTV Classic. The network replaces VH1 Classic which originally debuted in 1998 as VH1 Smooth Jazz and changed to the Classic name on May 8, 2000. 

The network promises that the new network will recreate the excitement of the original MTV, not just through daily broadcasting of vintage music videos, but also through some of the more popular programming from the later iterations of MTV including Unplugged, Storytellers, Cribs, Beavis and Butthead, Daria and many more. 

...and they kicked it all off with a rebroadcast of that first hour of programming 35 years ago on MTV.


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