musicthe sound of your morning

the sound of your morning: happy 30th, mtv

by Grace Bonney

It’s weird to think that I was born the same year MTV started, but today marks the network’s 30th birthday. So many of my earliest music memories were courtesy of the fledgling channel and I can still remember staying up late to pop a tape in the VCR so I could record Nirvana, Pearl Jam and just about any other band that I wouldn’t have been exposed to in Virginia Beach without that station. It goes without saying that the “M” in MTV has pretty much been replaced with anything but music these days, but today I’m feeling both nostalgic and hopeful. Nostalgic because VH1 Classic played hours and hours of “greatest hits” from MTV’s first year of programming (Martha Quinn!) and it was amazing. Hopeful because 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield is back and it’s nice to see decent, interesting and even exciting contemporary music back on MTV. So for today’s Sound of Your Morning I wanted to provide a mix of old and new. Above the jump are 3 of my favorites from the first year of MTV and after the jump are 3 current favorites, inspired by Matt’s recent 120 Minutes picks. Also, I searched obsessively for the old MTV video font and found it so I could use it for the header above. I missed you, Kabel Black. xo, grace

Blondie “Rapture” – Debby Harry is still one of the coolest women around and if this video doesn’t make you want a short choppy blond bob, nothing will.

Devo “Whip It” – The original video isn’t available for embedding online so this is pretty recent performance. That said, it’s still impossible for me to listen to this and not stand up and want to do the robot. #80sgeek

Pat Benatar “You Better Run” – Pat Benatar worked as a bank teller in my parents’ home town and my mom always mentions that when one of her songs comes on. It’s like clockwork. If “Hit me with your best shot” starts up you can bet I’m gonna hear, “Did you know that Pat Benatar was a bank teller…”. As much as I love that story, I’d rather hear this song.

After the jump 3 of my current favorites (Jeff the Brotherhood, Sleigh Bells, Joy Formidable) from the revived 120 minutes continue…

The Joy Formidable “Whirring” – I listened to this song a lot in Portland. On the few days the sun came out it was perfect for blasting outside of the car windows.

Sleigh Bells “Infinity Guitars” – This song has a few NSFW lyrics so please plug in your ear phones if you’re listening at the office. I can’t watch this and not help wondering if this was filmed around the corner from my house. It looks so much like the industrial parts of Greenpoint and Williamsburg I half expect to see her swing around my block with a baseball bat. I just love the simple guitar hook- I’d happily follow her around and play that if she asked me. If you want to hear one of their mellower songs, this one is a good morning listen.

Jeff the Brotherhood “U Got the Look” – This video reminds me of something my friends would have made in middle school, but the nostalgic part of me loves that. Whether the video makes you laugh or roll your eyes, I want to steal this dude’s raccoon tail and dance around to this track for a few minutes. Ok, maybe not with the raccoon tail.

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  • So so good! Pat Benatar is such a bad-ass. I have many fond memories growing up in an MTV age! I loved the anticipation of new videos debuting and just the overall appreciation that went into just loving music.

  • I was 19 when MTV started. I was living in a small town in Nova Scotia and we didn’t get it. We had to satisfied with video shows on Friday and Saturday nights for an hour at midnight. Ha!

  • I was an MTV addict when I was in my preteens and teens. I watched MTV UK all the time. The old MTV was great, they educated me musicwise. They also had great artsy animations in between the videos. Maybe I’ve grown “too old”, but they’re just not that great anymore (and play way too little music).

  • I was 11 years old and my best friend and I were sitting in front of the tv waiting for this “music television” to come to life. We had been seeing ads for weeks and on came the moon man and the Buggles and Golden Earring and I was hooked!

  • I remember staying up super late with my uncles watching Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” and the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams.”

    Remote Control was the best game ever!

  • I was 14 when it came on the air. I remember standing in my LR as it came on the air watching the Buggles sing “Video Killed the Radio Star”; awesome. It’s a shame the “M” has no relationship to the channel any longer. Its a sad, sad excuse for what passes as entertainment today.

  • I’ll take The 80’s for $400 Alex. Nothing like some Pat Benatar trivia.

    I was 23 when MTV started. Was in a bar and remember watching Robert Palmer’s (RIP) ‘Looking for Clues’ video and thought how wonderful this new channel was. Now I’m an old fart.

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