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9:59 a.m. - September 01, 2006
The First 24 Hours Of MTV
MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary on August 1, 2006, and they wanted to give everyone some nostalgia and show the entire first day of videos that were shown on MTV, all 24 hours worth.

Of course, since MTV doesn’t SHOW videos anymore (and if you notice, neither does MTV2, really), they put this extravaganza on VH-1 Classic. Since we were in Arizona during the time that it was on, I put my trusty TiVo to work, and then sat down to compile the results.

Previously, I recounted the first hour video by video. Now, I’m not going to bore you with a recounting of every video, nor a listing of each video played in order.

But will I give you some stats, facts and figures? Oh, hell to the yeah!

By my count, there were 318 videos shown in the first 24 hours of MTV, about 13 per hour. Now, the timing may be a bit funky, so there may have been another one sneak by when my TiVo cut off near the end of “He Can’t Love You” by the Michael Stanley Band in the last segment.

Of course, there weren’t 318 separate videos shown. They had repeats, of course. MTV was basically a radio station, and they tried to play the top hits of the day more often. But the pickings were slim in 1981 – not many bands made videos in the States. In the UK, video and short films were more of a tradition, so a lot of the first videos shown were some obscure British acts.

In the States, though, many of the videos were performance pieces made to be shown on shows like The Midnight Special or Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.

In my count, I show 116 separate videos shown during that day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, does it?

Well, who was played on MTV in the first day? Let me tells ya.

Remember, this was August of 1981. Many of you were we little lads and lassies and some weren’t born. I was in the MTV prime zone, though we didn’t get MTV in Crawfordsville until the next year. By then, the library had expanded greatly, and MTV was showing innovative videos by the Psychedelic Furs, Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran, and others.

Also, this is based on what they just re-broadcast, so who knows if it’s 100% accurate. I saw on Wikipedia where they had a listing of the first several videos, and “Angel of the Morning” by Juice Newton was listed. That never appeared during this rebroadcast.

These bands and artists had the most plays on MTV that first day:

• Rod Stewart – 26
• REO Speedwagon – 25
• The Pretenders – 19
• The Who – 14
• Split Enz – 12
• April Wine – 11
• Iron Maiden – 9
• .38 Special – 8
• Lee Ritenour – 8
• Rainbow – 8
• Styx – 8
• Shoes – 8

Rod Stewart had 11 separate videos shown during the first hour of MTV. He made a lot of videos for his recent albums, which were really pretty darn blah anyway. REO had 10 videos shown, but many of them were taken from the Live Infidelity video release.

The Pretenders had five videos shown during the time, while the Who just had three videos. That total for April Wine is just for TWO videos. Man, it’s hard to remember when April Wine had the music industry by the throat…oh, wait…

MTV is thanking the lucky stars that the Concert for the People of Kampuchea had some good video clips, as they used that for several videos.

As you see, there are a lot of repeats. These videos were shown the most during the first 24 hours.

• “Message of Love” – The Pretenders – 8
• “You Better You Bet” – The Who - 7
• “Just Between You And Me” – April Wine – 7
• “Wrathchild” – Iron Maiden – 7
• “In The Air Tonight” – Phil Collins – 7
• “Don’t Let Him Go” – REO Speedwagon – 6
• “Little Sister” – Rockpile with Robert Plant – 6
• “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” – Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty – 6

If I have my notes right, they played “Message Of Love” within 10 videos time once. Of course, I could have sworn they played “Talk Of The Town” more than four times, so I may have written one down wrong.

Of course, there were some interesting revelations that I noted during this video extravaganza, and here they are:


They only played “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac twice, which I thought was odd, because it’s a funny, quirky song that was a hit. If you remember, the video shows the band (minus John McVie, though they did bring a cardboard cutout of him) working with the USC Marching Band in recording some parts for the song. Of course, they did this in Dodger Stadium.

Christine McVie looked great in a Cub Scouts uniform, and she was never pictured without a glass of white wine in her hand. Stevie Nicks was an expert baton twirler, I suppose.

But you may be wondering, why the USC Marching Band? Why Dodger Stadium? Well, they were Fleetwood Mac, and at that time they could do ANYTHING they wanted. Why not?


Worst choice of clothing? Well, there were a lot of bad outfits, but nothing can top the purple shirt and ORANGE pants worn by Lee Ritenour in the “Mr. Briefcase” video.


Most interesting album name? Fischer Z’s “Going Deaf For A Living”. Too bad the song was rather tepid synth pop.


Worst videos? Oh, there are a lot of them, but Bootcamp made two heinous videos of heinous songs, capped with their keyboard player – who had a Ramones haircut augmented with a porn stache – pulling out a little felt keyboard that he had stuffed in his pocket.


Rod Stewart looks like he’s reading cue cards during “You’re In My Heart”.


No matter what he does, or how hard he tries, Kevin Cronin of REO can’t look tough or mean or powerful. He always looks like a dork.


They played two Rainbow videos, for “Can’t Happen Here” and “All Night Long”. Of course, being Rainbow and controlled by Ritchie Blackmore, there were massive personnel changes between the two albums. Cozy Powell was the drummer for “All Night Long” and you knew he wasn’t long for the band as he had his NAME on his drum kit. I’m sure Blackmore liked that.

The saddest (?) story for Rainbow was the story of Graham Bonnet, who replaced Ronnie James Dio as the singer for “All Night Long” and that album. From what I read, he recorded the album with them, which was a major retooling of the sound that Rainbow had with Dio – they added Roger Glover from Deep Purple on bass and had a new keyboardist, too. They went on stage once with Bonnet as the singer, at the Monsters of Rock Festival, and it was a disaster and he was fired.

BTW – “All Night Long” is a bit, um, sexist, and the video shows a girl shakin’ her moneymaker to the video off stage like she’s going to give Graham Bonnet a workout after the show. Except that she doesn’t look particularly hot at all, especially for a video babe. She looks bored, to be honest.


They only played “Kiss On My List” by Hall and Oates once, and it was a live cut. By gosh, Daryl Hall’s hair was flat!


The last video that ‘debuted’ on the first day was “Lonely Boy” by Andrew Gold, which was in hour 22. Speaking of him, on one song, his guitarist was playing a Gittler guitar, which is basically a fretboard and strings, with no neck or body.


“Love Stinks” by J. Geils still cracks me up to this day.


Sometimes, VH-1 Classic has problem with the video tags. At times, they have the wrong video referenced on the tags, and during these shows the tag for “You Better You Bet” got stuck on screen, somehow. Of course, it was during a song that I recognized, and I recognized the video as well, but had no idea what it was. Fortunately, it was repeated much later on. It was “Calling All Girls” by Hilly Michaels. And now you know….the rest of the story!


Carly Simon looked hot in “Vengeance”! Yowza! She wore a zippered blouse that showed some cleavage and she wore no bra. Plus, she ‘played’ the guitar solo. Oh, baby.

Louise Goffin had one video shown, but it was a pretty good song and she was a pretty foxy creature too. What the heck happened? It’s not like she didn’t have connections, being the spawn of Carole King and Gerry Goffin.


Lani Hall had a video shown a couple of times for a real snoozer of a sappy icky love balled called “Come What May”. It was a pretty elaborate video, showing her getting press pictures taken and all. It was a duet with someone, and the guy looked and sounded familiar. Liz and I had a mini-spat about it, but it turns out I was right. The guy was Herb Alpert and the song was on A & M records.

How did Ms. Hall get Herb to be in the video, sing a duet, and release the record? Simple, she was MRS. Herb Alpert. That’ll do it.


Katie now knows what a keytar is. And both Katie and Kristin played air instruments and banged their head to “Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden. Eve would be proud!


One big time quibble. They played a video for “Turn It On Again” by Genesis, but they tagged it as coming from Three Sides Live. I thought that was fishy, and I just confirmed that that was a 1982 release. Now “Turn It On Again” is from Duke and it’s quite possible that the live video was made and tagged the right way back in 1981, but that’s just sloppy work there, I think.


Ok, that’s enough nostalgia for one day, or weekend! It is the Labor Day weekend, so don’t Labor, heh. Enjoy and get it on! Rock and roll, hootchie koo! And all that rot!


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