On August 1, 1981, at 12:01 AM, the network that would end up shaping music and video culture launched with images of the Apollo 11 followed by The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” music video. That’s right, today is MTV’s 30th birthday!
While we may look at the lack of videos now played on MTV and the tiresome yet somehow popular shows on MTV today like Jersey Shore and 16 & Pregnant, that does nothing to discredit all of the promise MTV did and could someday hold again for its impact on the music industry.
With shows like Yo! MTV Raps, Headbangers Ball, MTV Unplugged, The Real World, Total Request Live, Beavis and Butt-Head, The Osbournes, Punk’d, Celebrity Deathmatch and countless others, it’s no wonder that “I Want My MTV” has been a slogan for 30 years now. The colors of the MTV logo may have changed over the years, but we all know we will always recognize those letters that ushered in new generations of music.
MTV was the beginning of a music revolution and the first TV network to develop itself as a “brand.” And it all began 30 years ago today on a single cable system in northern New Jersey with the original VJs: Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, and Martha Quinn.
So however old you may be now, today is the day to break out your VCR and put in your old VHS recordings of your favorite MTV show and catch up with the memories. At the very least, be sure to watch your favorite music video so that we can reassure ourselves the music video is no dying art. Happy Birthday, MTV! We do still want you.