It Was 30 Years Ago Today...MTV Kills The Radio Star


It's incredibly hard to believe that thirty years ago TODAY, MTV was born. With the airing of a video by a little-known UK band called Buggles, this new channel on the cable box would single-handedly change forever the face of music as we know it.



Initially, of course, this was a good thing as the rock dinosaurs were quickly swept aside in favor of fresh new acts. I think its reasonably safe to say that acts such as Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, and Madonna owe their careers to the video medium and MTV, for their appeal was just as much visual as musical.

That was fine, of course, when it was a 50/50 split between "the look" and "the music", but, as with most things, corporate greed on behalf of the record labels led to fiascos such as Milli Vanilli, where the music took a quite obvious back seat to the visual presentation.

Sadly, we have yet to really learn from this lesson. Today's music stars are even more visual, and less musical, than Milli Vanilli had been and, well, Milli Vanilli had their Grammy award stripped away for being a fraud. What does it say about us, or the music industry, that such an endeavor these days is widely accepted behavior - more the norm than the exception?

Seriously, take away Kanye West's auto-tune and vocoder and you have a mealy-mouthed nimrod unable to carry a tune. So it should only stand to reason that he is the face of his generation.

And MTV...wow, could anyone have imagined the depths this network would plunge all in the name of ratings? What began as a single reality show called "The Real World" has turned into an entire network of dumbed-down and socio-pathetic (our own word, pretty cool huh?) reality programming hell-bent on outdoing itself every time the network successfully lowers the bar as to what can be shown on a "reputable" TV channel. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the very idea of a show called "16 & Pregnant" would have been met with widespread outrage thirty years ago. Now, unfortunately, it warrants barely a mention. We've all seen worse. Still, one can't help feel that anyone responsible for such programming must be a real psychological work of art.

So today, we are just a little bit wistful at what once was a vibrant and refreshingly positive change in music and pop culture. We are also sad that the very same network responsible for that could also be responsible for complete trash that seeks to profit from showcasing humanity at its worst.

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