Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday MTV: Watch The Channel's First Hour

"Ladies and gentlemen: rock and roll."

At 12:01am on August 1, 1981, that simple proclamation launched a brand-new channel called Music Television (MTV). It was no coincidence that John Lack spoke these words over footage of the launch countdown of the Space Shuttle Columbia and that they were immediately followed by an astronaut planting MTV's flag on the moon; from its outset, the broadcast debut of MTV was a true modern cultural event, one that would become one of the primary shaping forces of both music and overall pop culture through the remainder of the 20th Century and (let's be honest) beyond.

30 years later, we all have our own favorite memories and moments of the channel's history. Likely the most enduring emotion for the large majority of us is a mix of love and hate at how MTV helped to steer our musical tastes and introduce us to some of our favorite bands before moving in a decidedly non-musical direction to focus on reality shows. MTV even officially dropped the "Music Television" portion of its name as of last year, confirming what we already knew long after we mostly stopped caring.

While pretty much everyone knows by heart the name of the first music video MTV ever played (The Buggles' pretty prophetic "Video Killed The Radio Star," above) I personally can't really play the "Where Were You..." game with MTV's launch day because I was negative 13 months old at the time. Fortunately Stereogum has tipped us off to a channel on YouTube where a user has uploaded the first hour of MTV's broadcast over six different videos for your viewing pleasure. Check them out after the jump.


  1. I used to draw the MTV logo when I was a little girl.

  2. Haha cute. There's a photo somewhere in my parents' house of my brother and me as kids rocking out with plastic instruments while U2 was on MTV playing "Pride (In The Name of Love)."