Monday at midnight will mark 30 years since MTV bounded onto the media and pop culture scene with its moonman montage, followed by The Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star" as the first song in the video queue.
This weekend, one of the sister services it spawned will pay homage to the beginnings of the iconic brand with MTV30 On VH1 Classic. Bowing on Saturday July 30 at 6 a.m., the three-day marathon will relive many MTV moments, spanning its video universe --some may remember Cyndi Lauper or Adam Ant as being all that -- as well as live musical performances, hit series, specials, promos and news events that intrigued a generation of watchers and their children.
For those really looking to get nostalgic, the original first hour of MTV's debut will air Sunday night, July 31, at midnight on VH1 Classic. Those who dare to return will see a host of music videos, including the catchy, if ultimately still unprophetic, Buggles' entry, which was trailed by Pat Benatar's "You Better Run," Rod Stewart's "She Won't Dance With Me,: The Who's "You Better You Bet" and Ph.D.'s "Little Suzi on the Up."
"VH1 Classic viewers grew up with MTV, turning the "I Want My MTV" slogan into a battle cry for a generation," said Tom Calderone, president of VH1 and VH1 Classic, which celebrated its 11th anniversary this past May. "That generation has grown up to become viewers of VH1 Classic, which is the perfect place to relive many of MTV's iconic moments that helped shaped music and pop culture around the world."
The marathon will also feature classic segments from the original MTV VJs: J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn and Alan Hunter.
There will be clips from classic network series, including Remote Control,YO! MTV Raps, Beavis and Butt-Head, Headbangers Ball, The Real World, Liquid TV and Club MTV, plus unforgettable moments from such specials as The MTV Movie Awards and Live Aid. VH1 Classic will also dust off the best of "MTV News," the VMAs, including Kanye's tiff over Taylor and Britney and Madonna's kiss, and unforgettable Spring Break performances.
Executive-produced by Alex Coletti for VH1 Classic and by Lee Rolontz for VH1, the marathon will also showcase many of the original promos and contests from MTV's early days, including Miss Cleo, Nintendo Power Glove, John Mellencamp's Pink House Giveaway, and the original "I Want My MTV" ad campaign.
Viewers can visit Vh1classic.vh1.com for archive playlists, nostalgic posts about "first video" experiences, interviews and more.
As for MTV -- which long ago morphed from its video roots, continually reinventing itself in pursuit of the next pop culture cynosure -- it's certainly not looking back at turning 30. This weekend, MTV is running a marathon of its own, showcasing episodes of its most-watched series ever, Jersey Shore, which will premiere its fourth season, chronicling the crew's trip to Italy, on Aug. 4 at 10 p.m.
Check out a timeline of what MTV lists as its birthday highlights below:
August 1981 MTV launched at 12:01 AM with The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" and sparked the moment when 'pictures came and broke your heart.' The first hour featured videos by the Buggles, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, The Who, Cliff Richard, The Pretenders, Todd Rundgren, Styx, Split Enz, and .38 Special.
31-Dec-1981 MTV aired the first MTV "New Year's Eve Rock 'N' Roll Ball," live from the Grand Ballroom at the Hotel Diplomat in New York City, which featured performances by Karla deVito, Bow Wow Wow, and David Johansen.
March, 1982 "I Want My MTV" advertising campaign debuted with Pete Townsend, Stevie Nicks, Mick Jagger, Adam Ant, Pat Benatar, The Police and David Bowie.
December, 1983 MTV debuted Michael Jackson's 14-minute "Thriller" film and music video, the first to combine the world of filmmaking and music.
14-Sep-1984 MTV presented the first "MTV Video Music Awards" from Radio City Music Hall in New York City with performances by Huey Lewis and the News, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Tina Turner, and ZZ Top. The show also featured the iconic image of Madonna in a wedding gown singing "Like a Virgin." The 2011 VMAs will air August 28th live from LA.
January, 1985 MTV was one of the first television networks to air safe sex PSAs. These safe-sex initiatives continue to thrive today under the "Its Your Sex Life" campaign.
5-Jun-1985 MTV aired British sitcom "The Young Ones" which involved four contrasting college roommates. This programming started MTV on a comedy route that would eventually support comedic talents such as Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Jon Stewart.
13-Jul-1985 MTV broadcast "Live AID" in the United States, helping to fundraise and raise awareness of famine in Ethiopia.
10-Mar-1986 MTV debuted late night alternative music show, "120 Minutes," which was widely successful for its 10- year run. The show has been reinvented and just relaunched on MTV2 with the original host, Matt Pinfield.
21-Mar-1986 MTV kicked off its first ever "Spring Break" with live coverage from Daytona Beach, Florida
31-Aug-1987 MTV premiered "Club MTV," a video age dance show hosted by "Downtown" Julie Brown. "Club MTV" is the first program on the network to have a Monday through Friday daily time slot.
7-Dec-1987 MTV launched its first game show, "Remote Control," which challenged contestants' TV knowledge. "Brady Bunch Physics" quickly became a favorite "channel" on the game.
2-Aug-1988 MTV premiered "YO! MTV Raps," a weekly rap music show which featured Fab 5 with Doctor Dre and Ed Lover as hosts.
3-Mar-1989 MTV world premiered Madonna's controversial "Like A Prayer" video.
26-Nov-1989 MTV premiered "MTV Unplugged" with Squeeze, Syd Straw and Elliot Easton. Later the series featured Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, LL Cool J, Tony Bennet and Alanis Morissette among others.
Unplugged has been reinvented today as a multiplatform series of specials which most recently featured Lil Wayne.
2-Feb-1992 MTV launched "Choose or Lose" during the 1992 presidential election. The political awareness campaign successfully engaged young people in politics by de-mystifying the political process, encouraging registration, stressing the importance of voting and highlighting the issues of the day.
21-May-1992 MTV brought reality television into the mainstream with the premiere of "The Real World," a reality based soap opera. The series followed three months in the lives of seven young adults who meet for the first time and live in a New York City loft together. "The Real World" just celebrated its 25th season and is produced by Bunim-Murray Productions in association with MTV.
10-Jun-1992 MTV premiered the first ever MTV Movie Awards which was hosted by then SNL funnyman Dennis Miller. Highlights of the evening included Keanu Reeves' reaction to winning the Most Desirable Male award and William Shatner performing the chorus to the nominated Best Songs.
16-Jun-1992 MTV held the first in a series of "Choose Or Lose" forums with then Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Bill Clinton. Clinton took candid questions from a group of two hundred 18-24 year-olds who asked him about his positions on the issues that mattered most to them.
8-Mar-1993 MTV debuted "Beavis and Butt-Head," an original animated series starring two suburban misfits. Created by Mike Judge, the show was the first spin-off from MTV's award-winning animated variety series, "Liquid Television," and will be making its return to MTV in late 2011.
25-Oct-1993 MTV premiered "The Jon Stewart Show" which was the first talk show on MTV. One particularly famous episode featured Marilyn Manson who ended his musical performance with a piggyback ride offstage by Jon Stewart himself.
19-Dec-1993 MTV premiered "The State." Catchphrases from the show entered into mainstream vernacular, such as "I'm outta heeeerrre."
10-Apr-1994 MTV News broadcast extensive coverage of the untimely death of Kurt Cobain and reaction from fans. Later at the 1994 VMAs, MTV presented a tribute to Kurt Cobain, honoring his music and his life.
30-Jun-1994 The Real World: San Francisco premiered. The series was noted for featuring Pedro Zamora, one of the first openly gay HIV/AIDS activists on television.
19-Jul-1994 MTV premiered "Road Rules," its first docu-adventure series about five strangers who travel across the globe, tackling a series of adventures and challenges posed along the way.
12-Aug-1994 MTV devoted the weekend of August 12 - August 14 to the Woodstock '94 Festival live from Saugerties, NY. MTV News' coverage included live excerpts from the concert, backstage interviews with the bands, reports from the audience perspective, updates from various campsites, historical pieces and all the breaking news.
14-Oct-1997 MTV launched "Live From the 10 Spot," the network's first weekly live performance series. The show featured a wide variety of artists such as The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthew's Band and Prodigy.
31-Mar-1998 MTV premiered "True Life," a weekly documentary series which focuses on the lives and concerns of young adults. The first episode, entitled "True Life: Fatal Dose," investigated the rise of heroin use among young people and focused on the small community of Plano, Texas. The Emmy award winning series, "True Life" is entering its 14th year on MTV.
14-Sep-1998 MTV premiered the first episode of TRL with Carson Daly as the host. TRL was one of the first truly interactive television shows, utilizing the synergy of the internet and television to countdown the top music videos of the day.
10-Sep-1999 The 1999 MTV Video Music Awards was MTV's highest rated show ever (12.9 cvg. Rating P12-34) and was the #1 cable entertainment program in history.
1-Oct-2000 MTV premiered "Jackass," a weekly comedy show that featured silly pranks and ridiculous stunts performed by total "jackasses." The show was produced by Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and acclaimed director Spike Jonze. The franchise recently celebrated its 10th year and spawned three successful theatrical releases: Jackass , Jackass 2 and most recently, Jackass 3D.
5-Oct-2000 MTV Cribs premiered. Each episode of the show featured tours of the homes, mansions and penthouses of celebrities, musicians, actors, and athletes. A new spin-off of the series titled "Extreme Cribs" just premiered.
10-Jan-2001 MTV launched the pro-social campaign "Fight For Your Rights: Take A Stand Against Discrimination." In honor of victims of hate crimes, the network went dark by shutting down its airwaves for the first time ever in the channel's 20 year history, and ran a scroll listing the names of hundreds of victims of various hate crimes across the country. The scroll ran continuously and without commercial interruptions for more than 17 hours straight. As part of the launch, MTV premiered "Anatomy of a Hate Crime." The film explored and documented the story behind the vicious attack and murder of college student Matthew Shepard.
February 15, 2002 MTV invited then Secretary of State, Colin Powell to answer questions from young people around the world during a global forum. Powell joined a Washington studio audience and connected with remote sites at MTV studios in London; Moscow; New Delhi; Milan, Italy; Cairo, Egypt; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was asked questions on issues such as the global war on terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the drug war in Colombia, and the global AIDS crisis.
5-Mar-2002 MTV debuted the first family of Rock-N-Roll: "The Osbournes." The show followed the real-life drama of the Osbournes, as they dealt with everyday life in southern California. Father/rock star Ozzy, wife/mother/manager Sharon, and two of their three teenage kids Jack and Kelly, wrestled on camera with typical family issues such as school, allowance, moving, pets, tattoos, adolescence, and life on the road.
22-Apr-2002 MTV premiered "MADE" a self-improvement reality television series that featured young adults who wanted to be "made" into their dream personas as dancers, rockers, ladies men. The Emmy Award winning series is in its 11th season.
17-Mar-2003 MTV premiered "Punk'd," the hidden camera/practical joke series that was hosted and produced by Ashton Kutcher. The shows' catch phrase "You got Punk'd" quickly became mainstream vernacular.
4-Mar-2004 MTV premiered "Pimp My Ride," a reality show where contestants and their junk cars are brought in and "pimped" by host Xzibit and a crew of automotive specialists.
28-Sep-2004 MTV premiered television's first "reality drama" series "Laguna Beach - The Real Orange County." One of the most popular series on television, "Laguna Beach" explored the lives of eight teenagers who lead glamorous lives in a picturesque seaside town of pristine beaches and multi-million dollar homes.
3-Nov-2004 MTVU, MTV's college network, premiered the first ever Woodie Awards, an award show which recognizes recording artists and bands voted on by college students. Previous winners include Death Cab for Cutie, Gnarls Barkley, NeverShoutNever, Paramore, Matt and Kim and Kings of Leon.
28-Aug-2005 "The 2005 MTV Video Music Awards" went on the road to Miami and were hosted by Diddy at the American Airlines Arena .
15-Sep-2005 MTV premiered the next generation of its popular live performance series, "Unplugged" with Alicia Keys, across its multiple platforms on-air, online, on broadband and more.
31-May-2006 MTV premiered "The Hills, "a spin-off of "Laguna Beach." "The Hills" picked up where "Laguna Beach" left off, with Lauren Conrad moving to Los Angeles to attend fashion school and attempting a career in the fashion industry.
25-Jun-2007 MTV partnered with VH1 and CMT to produce ReAct Now, a musical special that raised $2.3 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
1-Mar-2008 As part of MTVs' ongoing "Choose or Lose" effort to mobilize more than 20 million 18-30 year-olds to vote, MTV broadcast an hour-long special event that brought together presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama, as well as eight young veterans for an intimate discussion on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war.
11-Jun-2009 MTV premiered "16 & Pregnant," The show, currently in its 3rd season raises young adults' awareness to the hardships of having a child while being an adolescent and has been credited as a helping source for lower teen pregnancy rates in the United States. MTV has partnered with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on this endeavor.
6-Jul-2009 MTV honored Michael Jackson's life and legacy with extensive coverage of his career and music. All MTV music channels around the world broadcast his memorial service live. Additionally, all day on Saturday, August 1st on MTV's 28th birthday, the "M" in MTV stood for "Michael Jackson TV" as the network kicked off a global celebration of his music, reaching more than a half billion households in over 160 countries around the world.
December, 2009 MTV launched the "A THIN LINE" campaign, a multi-year effort empowering America's youth to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse. To date, over a million young people have taken action as a result of the campaign, and in 2011, President Obama recognized MTV's efforts to fight online bullying during the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.
3-Dec-2009 Jersey Shore premiered -- the show went on to become the #1 show across all television and MTV's highest rated series ever.
8-Dec-2009 MTV premiered "Teen Mom" a spin-off series of MTV original hit "16 and Pregnant." The show documents the struggles and drama teenage mothers and fathers endure as they try to raise their children.
22-Jan-2010 MTV Networks produced and premiered "Hope for Haiti," an earthquake relief global telethon on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, The CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT. The two-hour telethon broadcast from New York City, Los Angeles, and London. The event featured musical performances and celebrity appearances by Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Neil Young, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Sting, Bono and Jay-Z.
13-Oct-2010 President Obama hosted a youth town hall special called, "A Conversation with President Obama," where he answered a wide range of questions from an audience of 200 young people.
6-Jun-2011 MTV launched the scripted drama "Teen Wolf"-as a part of its foray into scripted programming.
1-Jul-2011 MTV successfully launched "Awkward." The latest scripted series about high school life and love.
August 1, 2011 MTV Celebrates its 30th birthday and continued evolution.