It was August 1st, 1981 and at 12:01 AM MTV music television started broadcasting. In the opening moments of the first broadcast, we saw the Apollo launch, followed by the symbolic MTV flag. Then the first music video played. A very fitting selection for the occasion, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.
MTV’s Opening Monologue
The First 10 Music Videos Played On MTV
In its first hour of broadcast, MTV set the tone for the decades of music videos that would follow. Here are the first 10 music videos that were played on MTV.
- Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles
- You Better Run – Pat Benatar
- She Won’t Dance – Rod Stewart
- You Better You Bet – The Who
- Little Susie’s on the Up – Ph.D.
- We Don’t Talk Anymore – Cliff Richard
- Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders
- Time Heals – Todd Rundgren
- Take It on the Run – REO Speedwagon
- Rockin’ the Paradise – Styx
MTV’s First Commercial Advertisers
The First “Video Jockeys”
Instead of disc jockeys, like what we had on the radio, MTV had video jockeys. MTV’s first VJ’s were Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn and Mark Goodman.
“This is IT. Welcome to MTV – music television.” Says Mark Goodman. “The world’s first 24 hour stereo video music channel. Just moments ago all of the VJ’s and crew here at MTV collectively hit our executive producer – Sue Steinberg – over the head with a bottle of champagne and behold – a new concept is born. The best of TV combined with the best of radio. Your favorite tunes are never too far away anytime you tune in. “
MTV Without Music Videos
Of course, people remember the show “Beavis and Butthead“. But when I polled people, a lot of them mentioned they haven’t watched the channel for years. Those that do had one favorite program but didn’t watch the channel religiously.
MTV Wasn’t The First Music TV Station
MTV wasn’t the first music TV station. Several years before MTV’s debut in 1981, another station called “Sight on Sound” launched in 1977. on the QUBE in 1977, the station was building for the historic day in 1981.