The first day of MTV

On 1 August 1981 MTV went top air.

At 12:01am on August 1, 1981, the words “Ladies an gentlemen, rock and roll” were spoken over a montage of the first Space Shuttle launch. And with that, the cable network MTV was born. Originally accessible by a few thousand people on a northern New Jersey cable system, MTV is now in hundreds of millions of households across the globe.

Over the last 30 years, MTV has evolved from a small cable network broadcasting music videos into a true lifestyle brand that encompasses television, the Internet, the motion picture industry and even comic books.

Fittingly, the first video that aired on MTV in 1981 was Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles. The words were true. Almost overnight, the music video became one of the most important promotional and marketing vehicles for the music industry. Artists that best utilized the new format — Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Weird Al Yankovic — became not just stars, but icons. In short, video really did kill the radio star.

But has Youtube killed the video star? Read more.

Here is one of the videos from the first day of MTV. One of my favourites.

 


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