Sunday, May 22, 2016

Music Years Of My LIfe: 1983

We had a public access channel, it was called Channel 100, because it was located right before Channel 2.  In between odd local programming, the station would show music videos.  This was 1980/81.  But they showed the same ones over and over.  And yet I watched because there would be a newer video thrown in from time to time.  The videos on a loop:  Madness' "One Step Beyond", Devo's "Satisfaction", Gary Wright's "Really Wanna Know You", Talking Heads' "Once In A Lifetime", and others that escape me.

Until MTV premiered in 1981, music videos were always around.  They just didn't have their own 24 hour channel.  The Beatles made videos, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the most famous and I can remember watching them on American Bandstand.    But MTV was something different.  Where I live we didn't get it until 1982, a year after it started.  Having read about it in Rolling Stone, Billboard and other music mags, I couldn't wait for it.

The best thing MTV did for me was play Indie, U.K. and later Metal and Rap videos.  In other words, stuff that I couldn't get on my local FM channels.  We're so spoiled now, but that's just how it was back then.

By the time 1983 rolled around, MTV was indeed a good old fashioned phenomena.  World Premiere Videos became can't miss TV.  Artists rushed to the channel to get some airtime and talk up there video.  First thing I'd do when I came home from work was put it on.  Being a music follower, I noticed lots of New Wave videos and few R&B ones.  "Billie Jean" helped change that.

Let's face it, those early videos  could be elaborate, but they were also hilariously overblown.  Once you get past  1983, then everyone thought they were making video masterpieces.  Some music critics hated MTV then and still don't have a nice thing to say about today.  To them, some artists were no longer making music but were heading to the studio thinking about there next video.

I wasn't one of those haters.  And think the 80's MTV was pretty diverse in their programming.  Today, the only time I pay attention to it is when they have one of their awards shows.  MTV changed music, and its early launch can still be seen today every time Beyonce teases another video project. And if you're feeling nostalgic, most of the VJ's are on Sirius' 80's channel.  We may no longer watch MTV,  but we can never escape it.
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