MTV, VH1, and Quirky T
This month the Guitar Train is making several stops for Music Video Month. Quirky T missed the beginning of MTV because she didn’t have cable television until 1990, nine years after the debut of the music video channel. So every time I was at a friend or relative’s house who had MTV, I had to watch it. Of course the must see video was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Having watched it recently for a post I wrote about Halloween, https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/the-guitar-train-celebrates-halloween/ it still holds up as an amazing video.
Besides the few videos I saw at other people’s houses, my only other music video viewing was NBC’s “Friday Night Videos” which aired late Friday night into Saturday morning. By the time I got cable TV in 1990, I had moved on from the more harder edged MTV to the more pop orientated VH1. The minute the cable was installed (after a half day of being on hold on the telephone with the cable company), I pretty much watched VH1 non-stop. My favorite shows were the weekly countdown show, “Top 21 Video Countdown” and “My Generation” hosted by Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits.
Much has been written and lamented about how MTV no longer airs music videos. The same is true for VH1. The only show I now watch on MTV is the excellent reality show, “Catfish: The TV Show”. http://www.mtv.com/shows/catfish/ It is based on the movie “Catfish” about people misrepresenting themselves online. I like how the show is done in such a way that it is empathetic to everyone involved. The show does contain background music with the song title and artist listed on screen to maybe justify in some way why it is airing on a music TV channel.
Since I missed the early days of MTV, I recently read the book “VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave”. The book is an interesting inside account of the beginning of MTV to its status as a cultural phenomenon. Reading the book made me wish that in addition to MTV’s many channels, there was an MTV Throwback channel which re-aired the first videos complete with the VJs’ comments as if it was all happening for the first time. If it wasn’t for You Tube, these videos would be lost completely. What a better way to showcase these videos and allow the artists to get royalties than to legally air them on a MTV Throwback channel? I would definitely watch this channel.
Guitar Train passengers, would you watch a MTV Throwback channel? Or is it just easier for you to watch You Tube?