For all of us that grew up as the “Real” MTV Generation, (you know the one when MTV actually played Music videos all the time instead of one every 2 hours in between 50 commercials for whatever reality show they are doing now days), we can honestly remember the days of the MTV V.J., or Video Jockey. For those that don’t know the term (and I do feel sorry for you!) Video Jockeys became well known beginning August 1st, 1981.
Yes that date is special. On that sunny day in August, teenagers everywhere instantly became acquainted with this wonderful new channel called MTV. The first words spoken on the channel were “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," and the first music video played on the channel was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.
It was all music, all the time, 24/7 and we as teens were happy. It was like having a concert in the living room. Up until then, most of the groups were seen either on American Bandstand, Solid Gold (which originally aired a year before MTV), and if you were brave or bored enough - Hee Haw if you had no rock influence in your life or you were like me and forced by your parents to watch it. Yes… MTV was totally awesome! Keyword there “was“.. But anyway..
The five original MTV V.J’s were Nina Blackwood (1981-1986), Mark Goodman (1981-1987), Alan Hunter (1981 to 1987), J.J. Jackson (1981 to 1987), and Martha Quinn (1981 to ?). All eventually would regroup in 2005 (except Jackson who died of a heart attack in 2004) to work together again on Sirius XM Channel - 80’s on 8. J.J. Jackson would host the unmasking of Rock Super Group KISS in 1983. We saw a lot of firsts on MTV. I can still remember sitting in front of the TV waiting for a world premiere video from several favorite artists.
Video Jockeys or V.J.’s became staples of our lives much like the rock stars. We had our favorites and ones we hated. On Saturday nights eventually we had the Headbangers Ball which was hosted by Adam Curry. It was actually briefly hosted first by Kevin Seal but curry would soon replace him. Adam received mixed feelings. “True Metal Heads” hated him. Girls adored him for his hair (I think) and then there were those that only listened to the music and ignored the annoying pretty boy that was interrupting the music videos.
Yes the 80s were good and MTV was a big part of it. Those days may be gone replaced by Reality Television, but they will never be forgotten. I wonder if The Buggles ever thought about making a song called “MTV killed the Video Star“? I want MY MTV..not what we have now.
Oh and by the way….Happy Birthday VJ Martha Quinn! She turns 51 this week. We miss you and what MTV used to be.
Too Young to have been there for MTV’s Launch? What ever the reason you might have missed it or if you just want to relive it.. Below is the first 10 minutes of MTV. Enjoy.
Ladies and Gentlemen.. MTV as it was meant to be.
Copyright © 2010 Bryan Bales