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The Five: Favorite MTV memories

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 1st 2006 2:47PM

MTV logoAs we've mentioned already, MTV is celebrating its 25th Anniversary today, and everyone of a certain age remembers what it was like when the music network debuted. I was just about to start my junior year in high school, and I remember the day it premiered very well. Here are my favorite MTV memories (mostly from the first 15-18 years, since I haven't really watched it in the past 5-7 years).

1. Live Aid. I was working a double shift at a pizza place in July of '85, but we had a large screen television in the dining room and we had this on all day. It was a pretty amazing day actually. Giant charity concerts are a regular thing now, but back then, getting dozens and dozens of top pop stars to play on one day on two continents, that was something special.

2. Seasons two and three of The Real World. Yes, there was a time when reality TV was fresh and exciting, when The Real World wasn't the punch line of a joke. These two seasons were the best. Season two was Los Angeles, with Dominic the alcohol-loving writer, Aaron the blond surfer boy conservative, Jon the 18 year old country singer, Tami, Irene, and the Beths? And season three? Who could forget Pedro and Puck and Judd?

3. The Jon Stewart Show. Stewart's talk show way before The Daily Show. When MTV joined the corporate parent of Paramount and Viacom, the show was syndicated. It didn't last long, but it was an enjoyable late night show. I hope Stewart get's Conan's spot in 2009.

4. 120 Minutes. This was the show that had all the artists you couldn't see the other 22 hours of the day. I mean, where else could you see Robyn Hitchcock on MTV?

5. Animation. There was also a time that MTV not only showed music, but their non-music programming was rather fun too. They had some great cartoons and edgy animation: Daria, Celebrity Deathmatch, Liquid Television, and others. Some really innovative, fun stuff.

Wow, thinking about these shows again brings back a lot of memories. I'm too old for MTV now, so I can't really say "I Want My MTV" anymore, but I sure do miss it. (Side note: I usually like Hank Steuver's writing, but this column is a little odd.)

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Beavis and Butthead! Geez! How could you have missed that???

Anyway, my favorite MTV moments are the music videos that are now gone. 24 hours of (reruns of BAD) reality shows kinda gets old real soon. MTV used to have great music programming back in the day...Headbanger's Ball and Yo! MTV Raps come to mind. Great shows for heavy metal and hip hop fans. They completely kicked ass over any competing shows.

August 02 2006 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael, i can't believe you what you posted, because i was going to say the SAME THING! IRS's The Cutting Edge was one of my favorite shows on MTV, i don't think anyone else remembered that. i also use to tape that show...that and 120 minutes. and perhaps The Young Ones on sunday nights. other than that, i preferred when MTV didn't have "shows", and just had videos. it was nice to see random videos, no knowing what was coming up next. you would be exposed to all sorts of music.

August 02 2006 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was always a kick to see just what NEW music MTV would feature back in the day. My fave weekly show was The Cutting Edge featuring Peter Zaremba from The Fleshtones as the host. Being sponsored by IRS Records, this weekly show would truly bring ground breaking artists to its audience each week. I've still got many of those shows on videotape (in freaking BETA no less) and there is no way MTV could possibly capture the zeitgeist of that era again.

It is truly a tragedy that it takes no less than FOUR music TV channels to cobble together even a day's worth of decent music video programming. MTV, MTV2, VH1 and VH1 Classic each were supposed to fill their own unique niche. To the old timers, each of those channels represented a unique brand at one time or another. Now, they are all interchangeable and equally poor at providing any sort of value to today's music audience. Endless repeats of cheaply packaged and produced product that is now only filler between commercial breaks is all they are good for. It is a damning commentary that the commercials are more slickly produced than the shows they are placed in. What else would one expect from the people who brought us all the prefab tween boy/girl bands of the '90s? If I wanted to see Showgirls/Rocky Horror/etc, I would watch HBO, not MTV. At least on HBO, I would see the whole movie in its unsanitized, commercial free badness. Gasp your last breath, Music Television. Your spirit left you ages ago.

August 02 2006 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My wife and I watched big chunks of the first day. Did I block out a lot of these videos or did MTV not show them much after their first year (we got cable in 82)? Cliff Richard and Leo Sayer on MTV???? :)

August 02 2006 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would add MTV's coverage of the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. They also had a pretty good "biography" show (I forget the name) back in the day. You know, when MTV was about music?!?!?!

August 01 2006 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Crocker

I am in total agreement with point #2! I had tired of the crude nature of The Real World by the time the Hawaii season with Tek and Ruthie rolled around, but I thought the early seasons were very good television, with the 2nd and 3rd seasons also being my favorites. They dealt with a broad number of real-life issues with people that would be hard to forget.

August 01 2006 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Taylor Jr.

Running reruns of "The Young Ones" on Sunday nights affected my sense of humor at an all too impressionable age.

August 01 2006 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1. MTV's animation included "Daria, Celebrity Deathmatch, Liquid Television, and others"?!? "Others" like... Beavis and Butthead, you mean!

2. As for memories, how about the premiere of "Thriller" in 83? That was an EVENT. People planned parties around it.

Misty's got it on the nose, though. My friends and I call the early '80s "The Time When MTV Didn't Suck."

August 01 2006 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1. The State

2. Sifl and Olie

Two of my favorite television shows ever. Amazing how far MTV has fallen. I feel dirty if I even stop on it while I'm flipping through channels now.

August 01 2006 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite memory of MTV is way back from the early Eighties...when it played MUSIC videos. You could turn it on, and no matter what time of day or night, you'd see videos.

*sigh* Those were the days.

August 01 2006 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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