Sunday, September 14, 2014


I don't remember seeing it from the first day of its initial broadcast, but the TV was now all but permanently anchored onto this new channel called MTV, which showed music videos all day and all night, hosted by a revolving gang of cool people who introduced videos, or told the latest about who was putting out a new album or touring.

It was an interesting mix within the first year of the channel starting out. We saw videos by old favorite bands who were still plugging along (The Who, J. Geils Band, the Rolling Stones), new bands and singers coming out (Asia, John Cougar Mellencamp, Survivor, the Eurythmics, Bryan Adams), and a plethora of "new wave" bands, often one-hit wonders (Human League, Madness, Bananarama, A Flock Of Seagulls, Romeo Void, ABC, and the Buggles, who launched the whole thing off with "Video Killed The Radio Star").

Some of the stuff was good, as well as stuff that was rather questionable; one that was hated around the house was "I Know What Boys Like" by the Waitresses, but would soon be followed up by another new band called Huey Lewis & The News, which was much more tolerable. And then, almost as comic relief, there were videos by funny guys like Madness, and Men At Work, whose videos were not only hilarious, but the songs were equally as good and memorable.

As the years went on, the channel got a little more complex, with live concerts being broadcast via satellite, like the Asia In Asia concert in late 1983. Another feature we enjoyed was a half-hour show called Closet Classics, which showcased a lot of videos from the German music show Beat Club, and I got to see clips by bands like Cream, and Blue Cheer. And a few years after that, they broadcast the now-legendary Monkees marathon over an entire weekend, and I was hooked from there (more on them later).

Like anything else that starts out great, it went to rack and ruin over a quick period of years. They introduced "Yo! MTV Raps", game shows, movies, reality shows, and then by the time the channel was twenty years old, anything that made the channel what it once was didn't even seem to exist anymore: the music video. Not that there was anything left that I wanted to see or hear (I'd given up years ago), but what it was built on wasn't there anymore. VH-1 was another great music channel until they, too, caught the same plague. Another childhood memory left to dry out. Ah well, there's always YouTube if I want to see the old videos again.

In retrospect, and not unlike the K-Tel albums I'd been subjected to in my earlier days, there was more trash to rummage through in order to get to the good stuff, but I gave up after a point. Even then, a lot of the new stuff coming out had a superficiality that I couldn't get into, with new styles coming and going at alarming rates. Less and less to hook me in, or even hold my interest.

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