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MTV’s First Broadcast (August 1, 1981)

MTV Logo - MTV Landing on Moon
MTV logo from 1981
MTV logo from 1981

This post pays tribute to MTV and its 30th anniversary of being launched into the homes of millions of people worldwide.

Even though MTV is now a silly reality TV, for one day let’s pretend that it’s a ‘Music Television’ and let’s bring back our fond memories of the iconic channel that once had a profound impact on the music industry and popular culture.

So to celebrate MTV’s first broadcast, here’s MTV’s first day music videos  from 1981 –complete with the legendary moon landing promo and commercial breaks– and the first 50 music videos MTV ever played. (List of the first music videos broadcast is on page 2)

“Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”

List of the first music videos broadcast on MTV’s first day, August 1, 1981

  1. “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles
  2. “You Better Run” by Pat Benatar
  3. “She Won’t Dance with Me” by Rod Stewart
With further Rod Stewart videos airing at positions #15, #26, #37, #51, #66, and #77, Stewart became the artist with the most videos played that day.
  1. “You Better You Bet” by The Who
“You Better You Bet” was both the 4th and 55th video to be aired on MTV, making it the first video to be shown more than once.
  1. “Little Suzi’s on the Up” by Ph.D.
  2. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Cliff Richard
  3. “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders
  4. “Time Heals” by Todd Rundgren
  5. “Take It on the Run” by REO Speedwagon
  6. “Rockin’ the Paradise” by Styx
  7. “When Things Go Wrong” by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters
  8. “History Never Repeats” by Split Enz
  9. “Hold on Loosely” by 38 Special
  10. “Just Between You and Me” by April Wine
  11. “Sailing” by Rod Stewart
Stewart’s “She Won’t Dance with Me” was the 3rd video played; with this video, Stewart became the first artist to have two different videos played on MTV.
  1. “Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden
  2. “Keep on Loving You (Live)” by REO Speedwagon
  3. “Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson
  4. “Message of Love” by The Pretenders
  5. “Mr. Briefcase” by Lee Ritenour
  6. “Double Life” by The Cars
  7. “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
  8. “Looking for Clues” by Robert Palmer (the video never plays due to technical difficulties.)
  9. “Too Late” by Shoes
  10. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  11. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart (15 seconds into the video, the video screen briefly goes blank while the audio still plays.)
  12. “Surface Tension” by Rupert Hine
  13. “One Step Ahead” by Split Enz
  14. “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty
  15. “I’m Gonna Follow You” by Pat Benatar
  16. “Savannah Nights” by Tom Johnston
  17. “Lucille” by Rockestra
  18. “The Best of Times” by Styx
  19. “Vengeance” by Carly Simon
  20. “Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden
  21. “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard” by Blotto
  22. “Passion” by Rod Stewart
  23. “Oliver’s Army” by Elvis Costello
  24. “Don’t Let Him Go (Live)” by REO Speedwagon
  25. “Remote Control/Illegal” by The Silencers
  26. “Angel of the Morning” by Juice Newton
  27. “Little Sister” by Rockpile with Robert Plant
  28. “Hold On to the Night” by Bootcamp
  29. “Dreamin'” by Cliff Richard
  30. “Is It You” by Lee Ritenour
  31. “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac
  32. “He Can’t Love You” by Michael Stanley Band
  33. “Tough Guys” by REO Speedwagon
  34. “Rapture” by Blondie
  35. “Don’t Let Go the Coat” by The Who
  36. “Ain’t Love a Bitch” by Rod Stewart
  37. “Talk of the Town” by The Pretenders
  38. “Can’t Happen Here” by Rainbow
  39. “Thank You for Being a Friend” by Andrew Gold
  40. “You Better You Bet” by The Who
  41. “Bring It All Home” by Gerry Rafferty
  42. “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” by April Wine
  43. “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” by Kate Bush
  44. “Message of Love” by The Pretenders
  45. “All Night Long” by Rainbow
  46. “Boys Keep Swinging” by David Bowie
  47. “Rat Race” by The Specials
  48. “Just Between You and Me” by April Wine
  49. “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads
  50. “Victim” by Bootcamp
  51. “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” by Rod Stewart
  52. “Cruel to Be Kind” by Nick Lowe
  53. “A Little in Love” by Cliff Richard
  54. “Take It on the Run” by REO Speedwagon
  55. “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys” by .38 Special
  56. “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush
  57. “Celebrate the Bullet” by The Selecter
  58. “More Than I Can Say” by Leo Sayer
  59. “A Message to You, Rudy” by The Specials
  60. “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
  61. “Heart of Glass” by Blondie
  62. “Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight” by Rod Stewart
  63. “Kid” by The Pretenders
  64. “Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden
  65. “Come What May” by Lani Hall and Herb Alpert
  66. “I Got You” by Split Enz
  67. “Sister Disco” by The Who
  68. “Fashion” by David Bowie
  69. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  70. “Love Stinks” by The J. Geils Band
  71. “Johnny & Mary” by Robert Palmer
  72. “Tomorrow Night” by Shoes

(source: wikipedia)

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