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First Video Played on MTV

Buggles VIdeo Killed the Radio Star

What Was the First Video Played on MTV?

On August 1st, 1981, at 12:01 a.m., Music Television, more commonly known as MTV, was launched as part of the growing cable television revolution. The first video shown? Appropriately, or perhaps ironically, it was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the British New-wave duo The Buggles featuring Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn.

The medium called “video,” in 1981, was literally VHS tape. (“Video Home System,” better known as VHS, was developed by the Japanese electronics company JVC.) In fact, early MTV viewers were sometimes temporarily “unplugged” while the next tape was fired up.

For the first few years, music videos on MTV not only didn’t kill the radio stars, many high-watt stalwarts, including Madonna (“Like a Virgin”) and Cyndi Lauper (“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) were propelled by the exciting new channel.

Memorable award-winning productions like the late Robert Palmer’s sexy “Addicted to Love” and Peter Gabriel’s artsy “Sledgehammer” kept pre-Internet “listeners” tuned in…for a while.

Now, the next generation of music lovers has found a vast new crop of “talent” to idolize and emulate, online, thanks to the likes of YouTube, Facebook and other social media websites. Clearly, the “stars” are still out there, everywhere you look.

As for radio, well, we think it still exists…but the only Rush it now provides is Limbaugh, which sounds like cheese…doesn’t it?

“The times they are a changin’…” —Bob Dylan

Video Killed the Radio Star
(Words and Music by Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn)

I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two
Lying awake intent at tuning in on you.
If I was young it didn’t stop you coming through.

Oh-a oh

They took the credit for your second symphony.
Rewritten by machine and new technology,
and now I understand the problems you can see.

Oh-a oh

I met your children
Oh-a oh

What did you tell them?
Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.

Pictures came and broke your heart.
Oh-a-a-a oh

And now we meet in an abandoned studio.
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago.
And you remember the jingles used to go.

Oh-a oh

You were the first one.
Oh-a oh

You were the last one.

Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.
In my mind and in my car, we can’t rewind we’ve gone too far

Oh-a-aho oh,
Oh-a-aho oh

Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.

In my mind and in my car, we can’t rewind we’ve gone too far.
Pictures came and broke your heart, look I’ll play my VCR.

You are a radio star.
You are a radio star.
Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.

repeat
Video killed the radio star. (You are a radio star.)

The Buggles — “Video Killed the Radio Star”

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