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MTV: The Historic Day One


MTV: The Historic Day One


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On August 1, 1981, MTV launched its unique brand of visual music programming, with the promise that we would, "never look at music the same way again." Over the next three-plus decades, MTV has remained true to its word. And while the network's pop-star-making power has diminished over the years, it continues to impact pop culture in a huge way with -- for better or worse -- its seemingly endless supply of reality television shows.

The first video played on MTV was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," a fitting tribute for the new venture. In between the videos that first night, we were introduced to the original line-up of VJs: Mark Goodman, JJ Jackson, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood and Martha Quinn.

At its inception, MTV's music format was AOR, or Album Oriented Rock -- exactly like you'd hear on your local FM rock station. Back then -- despite what many people think they remember -- New Wave artists were only peppered into the programming. It took a while for the programming to find its feet, for the cable network to actually be available nationwide (remember the "I Want My MTV" campaign?), and for the music business to see the need to spend money making videos. But once these three aspects came together, it was the perfect storm for a music revolution.

Here, we take you back 33 years with a playlist that is an actual reproduction of the songs played on MTV's very first day -- warts and all. There are a few artists (Bootcamp, Phd and Paul McCartney's Concert for the People of Kampuchea supergroup Rockestra) missing streaming rights, but the rest is all here. Money for nothin' and chicks for free? We'll take it!

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