Music History

Good timesuck: The first two hours of MTV on its first day in 1981

Just after midnight on August 1, 1981, MTV, the world’s first 24-hour music video channel signed on with a library of 250 music videos, 30 of which were from Rod Stewart. There just weren’t that many videos to show back then.

Can you name the first video shown? Easy: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. How about the second? That’s a little tougher. It was “You’d Better Run” from Pat Benetar. Third? “She Won’t Dance with Me” by Rod Stewart. How about the first Canadian video? Video number 14 came from April Wine with “Hust Between You and Me,” which was taken from a live performance in London. And the first metal video? It was at number 16: “Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden.

Here’s a remastered version of the first two hours of that historic day.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37874 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Good timesuck: The first two hours of MTV on its first day in 1981

  • Thanks Alan, That was great to listen to while working today!


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