MTV turns 36!

On August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m., MTV launched with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, Rock and Roll,” spoken by John Lack and played over footage of the launch of Apollo 11. Those words were immediately followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching classical tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over photos of the Apollo 11 moon landing, with the flag featuring MTV’s logo changing various colors, textures, and designs.

Here’s a quick list of the very first music videos played on MTV that day:

1) Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”
2) Pat Benatar – “You Better Run”
3) Rod Stewart – “She Won’t Dance With Me”
4) The Who – “You Better You Bet”
5) PH.D – “Little Susie’s On the Top”
6) Cliff Richards – “We Don’t Talk Anymore”
7) Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”
8) Todd Rundgren – “Time Heals”
9) REO Speedwagon – “Take It On The Run”
10) Styx – “Rockin’ the Paradise”
11) Robin Lane and the Chartbusters – “When Things Go Wrong”
12) Split Enz – “History Never Repeats”
13) .38 Special – “Hold On Loosely”
14) April Wine – “Just Between You And Me”
15) Rod Stewart – “Sailing”
16) Iron Maiden – “Iron Maiden”
17) REO Speedwagon – “Keep On Loving You”
18) Michael Johnson – “Bluer Than Blue”
19) The Pretenders – “Message Of Love”
20) Lee Ritenour – “Mr. Briefcase”
21) The Cars – “Double Life”
22) Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight”
23) Robert Palmer – “Looking For Clues”
24) Shoes – “Too Late”
25) Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
26) Rod Stewart – “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”
27) Rupert Hine – “Surface Tension”
28) Split Enz – “One Step Ahead”
29) Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”
30) Pat Benatar – “I’m Gonna Follow You”

According to Wikipedia… MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable and satellite television channel owned by Viacom Media Networks (a division of Viacom) and headquartered in New York City. Launched on August 1, 1981, the channel originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as “video jockeys” (VJs). In its early years, MTV’s main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily towards teenagers, particularly high school and college students. MTV has toned down its music video programming significantly in recent years, and its programming now consists mainly of original reality, comedy and drama programming and some off-network syndicated programs and films, with limited music video programming in off-peak time periods. It has received criticism towards this change of focus, both by certain segments of its audience and musicians. MTV’s influence on its audience, including issues involving censorship and social activism, has also been a subject of debate for several years.

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