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MTV FALL 1981-2
September 23, 2007 10:46 AM   Subscribe

It's Friday afternoon. 1981 - 1982ish. I just got home from high school and I want some MTV. Back then, MTV played these things called "music videos". But they didn't have a large catalog of them yet, so they tended to play everything they had. You really got to see some lesser known classics. For Example: Jan Hammer/Neal Schon Lies. The Hitmen Bates Motel. Utopia Feet Don't Fail Me Now. Landscape My Name is Norman Bates. Chilliwack My Girl. Ultravox Vienna. Snakefinger Man in the Dark Sedan.

I know, I know. Another You Tube post. Slichah.
posted by wittgenstein (128 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Back when MTV debuted, my area of the city hadn't yet been wired for cable. My boss was a great guy, and would tape hours of MTV for me (I provided the blank VHS tapes, which ran almost $15 each in those days). I still have those tapes and pull them out every once in a while. "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" is on one of them. Also some real odd ducks, like "Never Let Her Slip Away" by Andrew Gold, "Freedom of Choice" by Devo, "Vengeance" by Carly Simon and "I'm Gonna Follow You" by Pat Benatar. All in the same hour.

Anyone remember "Popclips," the Michael Nesmith- produced show on Nickelodeon show that predated MTV? I have tapes of those, too, and they used to show everything from Joan Armatrading to Queen to Talking Heads. Again, like early MTV, anyone who had a video was guaranteed some airplay.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:53 AM on September 23, 2007


Chilliwack can bite me, but I do miss Snakefinger. I've always preferred his version of The Model to Kraftwerk's.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:02 AM on September 23, 2007


I watched a lot in that era, too. Dinosaur rockers followed by top 40, followed by weird post-punk. It helped generate a whole generation of omnivorous music geeks. Sadly, up until Thriller, R&B and rap was left out of the equation due to programming bigotry. But I was glad for the introduction to some wild stuff. I actually remember seeing Joe 'King' Carrasco & the Clowns, Jason & The Scorchers and Girlschool (among countless others) on MTV. It warped me forever I suppose.
posted by jonmc at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2007


In early 1970's London I knew a guy named Jon Roseman, who, years later, somebody said "invented music videos". That seemed unlikely since there were already clips of musicians around before the 70's. I then wondered about it. Anybody know who came up with or the general origins of the genre of music videos as done on MTV?
posted by nickyskye at 11:09 AM on September 23, 2007


and oddly, they'd be followed by videos from .38 Special and Triumph. This taught me an early lesson: a good song is a agood song, the rest is cliquey bullshit.
posted by jonmc at 11:10 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ultravox Vienna

Lesser known? Really? That song was huge in the UK. It also has a great "didn't quite make it to number 1" story too. This is what kept it at number 2.

This is either a crime or hilarious, depending on how much you hate Midge Ure.
posted by vbfg at 11:14 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nickyskye, it's difficult if not impossible to pinpoint who "invented" music videos. Some industry folk point to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the first video made with the intent of promoting the single (that is, it wasn't just a filmed performance clip), but they seem to forget that the Beatles made promotional films for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" back in 1967.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:14 AM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


vbfg:

"Vienna" is one of my favorite songs of all time -- that high b (or maybe it's a b-flat) is etched in my skull. But the song did not get radio airplay in America, at least not in the south.

jonmc:

38 special always struck me as a band that had an awful lot of musicians for the amount of sound that came out.

Devils Rancher:

Chilliwack's "My Girl" is a guilty pleasure that for some reason got a lot of radio airplay. Be happy -- I almost posted this except I never really saw it on MTV.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2007


Oh wow. I was just trying to describe "My Name Is Norman Bates" to my daughter and here it is-thanks!
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:23 AM on September 23, 2007


"Vienna" is one of the great videos of the era -- a cult hit (at best) in the states, maybe, but huge in the UK and other parts of Europe. I first heard it as a 12-year-old living in Vienna, where you could regularly hear it spilling out of car radios driving by, or see walls of TVs playing the video in the electronics section of Stefl's department store on the Kartnerstrasse. One of my favorite songs to this day. (And even as someone who nursed a serious Midge Ure crush for many years, I think it's funny that it was "Shaddap You Face" that kept it from going to #1 in the UK.)
posted by scody at 11:30 AM on September 23, 2007


I actually remember seeing Joe 'King' Carrasco & the Clowns

Clowns? CLOWNS?!?

Joe King Carrasco and the CROWNS! Yeah Cucaracho baby!
posted by Naberius at 11:33 AM on September 23, 2007



Nickyskye, it's difficult if not impossible to pinpoint who "invented" music videos. Some industry folk point to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the first video made with the intent of promoting the single (that is, it wasn't just a filmed performance clip), but they seem to forget that the Beatles made promotional films for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" back in 1967.

I think Dylan's clip for "subterranean homesick blues." It's influential to this day.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:34 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yep, count me in as another person who had a softspot for Vienna. I liked Ultravox. I liked Jason & The Scorchers back then too, which might've drawn me in later towards bands like Cake & Reverend Horton Heat.

Scariest thing to happen to me today so far, though? (The day is still short.) Realizing that without an ounce of thought I still have the entire chorus of that song memorized exactly. And I didn't remember that video AT ALL. Wonder whatever happened to that guy?
posted by miss lynnster at 11:34 AM on September 23, 2007


Ohmigod, that .38 Special video brought on a few flashbacks. In the early days MTV would come up with some earlier gems, I remember seeing this Hendrix video when MTV first started.
posted by marxchivist at 11:41 AM on September 23, 2007


Wow, I thought I'd heard every kraftwerk cover out there (I've got around 400 tracks with the word kraftwerk in them somewhere) but the snakefinger one is pretty cool.
posted by phrontist at 11:44 AM on September 23, 2007


Is there a trading ring for pre-1984 MTV tapes? I sure would like to join.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:47 AM on September 23, 2007


I remember when they were Jason and the Nashville Scorchers. Great live band. Warner Hodges would twirl like a dervish with a cigarette in each nostril; and with the hat Jason Ringenberg seemed ten feet tall.

But....no love for Barnes and Barnes?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:48 AM on September 23, 2007


I'm so glad I learned to appreciate Todd Rundgren before ever watching any of his music videos.
posted by unmake at 11:51 AM on September 23, 2007


I'd never heard of The Hitmen but Bates Motel is my favorite of the list (besides Vienna which is another category).
posted by stbalbach at 11:55 AM on September 23, 2007


Ah, junior high. One song I remember seeing ALL THE FREAKING TIME on MTV (but never hearing on the radio) was Martin Briley's "Salt in My Tears." Somewhat standard early-'80s macho power pop (not very new wave), but it always got stuck in my head. In the same vein: Oxo's "Whirly Girl", though maybe that's more like '83. (They were the first band I ever saw live ... opening for Hall & Oates!)
posted by lisa g at 11:58 AM on September 23, 2007


BitterOldPunk... jeez, there's yet another novelty record whose lyrics are unneccessarily taking up space in my crowded little brain...

Anybody remember Friday Night Videos? There was also an afterschool show that Richard Blade from KROQ used to do...

In high school people used to say I looked like Martha Quinn. We had similar hairstyles so I decided to be cool and chop all of mine off to make them stop comparing me to her. Sure enough, the Quinn had spies tracking my actions & cut her hair that week too. I have yet to forgive her for that.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:58 AM on September 23, 2007


I remember my friends and I used to sit there completely MESMERIZED by this video. First time we'd seen ANYTHING like that.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:00 PM on September 23, 2007


Of course, those of us without cable made do with Friday Night Videos. I remember staying up late waiting for the latest from Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and David Bowie. I remember one night I was very stoned and was completely freaked out (in a good way) by Bowie's Ashes to Ashes video.

And before MTV, there was The Midnight Special. That show actually featured live performances from groups like Cheap Trick (Surrender), Kiss (Deuce), ELO (Do 'Ya), Journey (Wheel in the Sky), and Fleetwood Mac (Rhiannon). Which was pretty much the music I was into in the mid to late '70s.

Then I saw this, which pretty much changed everything for me for awhile.
posted by marxchivist at 12:02 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much for your thoughts Oriole Adams and drjimmy11, much appreciated. As far as I can see Jon Roseman's first music video was a year later than Bohemian Rhapsody, in 1976 with the Stones, Hey Negrita.

Now prompted to look dang MTV up on Wikipedia..., MTV launched the next year, in 1977.

This I don't believe, a Monkee, Mike Nesmith, from that cheesy group, had an input in the MTV vision. Wonders never cease. From Wikipedia, "MTV's programming format was created by the visionary media executive, Bob Pittman, who later became president and chief executive officer of MTV Networks. Pittman had test driven the music format by producing and hosting a 15 minute show, Album Tracks, on WNBC, New York, in the late 1970s. Pittman's boss, WASEC COO John Lack, had shepherded a TV series called PopClips, created by former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith".

And now Mike Nesmith, former Monkee is a freakin' philanthropist. (apparently his mother invented and patented opaque typewriter correction fluid, commonly known by the brand name "Liquid Paper" or "Wite-Out" and he inherited a fortune when she died) My mind has been blown. You never know what you'll end up learning while participating in a MeFi thread.
posted by nickyskye at 12:06 PM on September 23, 2007


I remember my friends and I used to sit there completely MESMERIZED by this video. First time we'd seen ANYTHING like that.

Other such videos -- A-ha, 'Take on Me' and Duran Duran, 'Hungry Like The Wolf' and 'Rio.'
posted by ericb at 12:09 PM on September 23, 2007


In high school people used to say I looked like Martha Quinn.

I was a senior in high school in 1982. And I had such a crush on Martha Quinn. My type of girl.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:10 PM on September 23, 2007


OK, two more.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:14 PM on September 23, 2007


Nesmith did a great variety show called "Television Parts" in the '80s too. I still remember a couple of songs from that show, and a young Jay Leno having to shut off his Buick's engine because it was burning gas faster than the attendants could pump it in, and the movie "Old Yeller" re-enacted in five seconds (old guy comes out, yells).
posted by kindall at 12:18 PM on September 23, 2007


This is really making me remember stuff. :)

First band I saw live, opening up for this band. I'm really happy that when I look back I still love both bands and think they're just as cool as I did then. I mean, considering the many, many possible bands I could've been into, I'm pretty proud of teenage me for having good taste.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:22 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


it's two am, the fear is gone
posted by eyeballkid at 12:23 PM on September 23, 2007


BTW, I'm pretty sure I watched MTV the day it launched at the beginning of August, 1981. I was visiting my grandmother in the big city, as I always did for a portion of the summer. She had cable. And lots of booze.

We had cable at home, too, and always had because that's the way it was in small towns where, otherwise, you could only get one television station, and not very well. So I continued to watch MTV when I returned home. It was always part of the cable package we had, but we also had some premium channels. (Anyone want to talk about being a teenage boy in the pre-Internet era and catching hard-R T&A movies on Showtime? Whoopee!)

MTV played some of the music I listened to, which was pretty cool because it certainly wasn't played on the Top-40 radio station which was the only thing available in my area. And I certainly discovered some new and obscure bands on MTV. But I was also one of those kids who, at the time, despised the "New Wave" and I found that a lot of it on MTV caused my interest to wane.

Finally, my friend and I discovered "Elephant Parts" available as a Video Disc rental available form 7-Eleven in Dallas in 1983. It's quite funny.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:24 PM on September 23, 2007


RTFA again, nickyskye - MTV began in '81. I was there, man! I describe the Buggles to my friends, but nobody believes me!

That Nesmith was considered the creative force behind the conception of MTV is something I thought was common knowledge. Listen to his commentary for "Elephant Parts," the first grammy-winning video (though technically it was a "video record") - note he takes credit for "Music Television" and not music videos. Music clips have been around in one form or another since before film had sound.
posted by dgbellak at 12:24 PM on September 23, 2007


Marxchivist, extending some Midnight Special love your way. Thanks for the memories. Before MTV, The Midnight Special was the only TV venue to see the current hits being performed (most of them live, in fact). Despite the name of the show, it started at 2AM in my area, but I always did my best to stay awake for it. I remember seeing the Fleetwood Mac, Kiss and ELO performances you posted when they were originally aired. Also Heart, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, and Blondie.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:24 PM on September 23, 2007


I see your Pete Shelley, and I raise you one Gary Numan.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:25 PM on September 23, 2007


Boy, I sure remember Midnight Special, too. Hosted by Wolfman Jack.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:26 PM on September 23, 2007


Okay, try to get THIS out of your head now. I've tried for decades to no avail.

P.S. -- Poor Aimee Mann.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:28 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, Video Disc. Now THAT takes me back. My grandparents had a player, and it wasn't cheap. But Superman, Star Wars and Planet of the Apes all looked better than VHS on it. Video on vinyl - whoda thought?
posted by dgbellak at 12:31 PM on September 23, 2007


When MTV first switched on, there was such a dearth of material that Roly Poly Fish Heads was in heavy rotation. (Song starts about 2 minutes in.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:37 PM on September 23, 2007


I can't be sure I'm not confusing it with laserdisc. I'm getting old.

'Til Tuesday and Voices Carry is one of a handful of songs that I extremely strongly associate with MTV. I had no idea until recently that that was Aimee Mann.

“When MTV first switched on, there was such a dearth of material..."

I remember a rotation and you could see all their videos in not too long. That's another reason I'm pretty sure I watched it at the beginning of that August, when they premiered.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:41 PM on September 23, 2007


ach, Reading the Wikipedia entry on MTV, I see the actual day of launching MTV was "On August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m.

MTV: Music Television launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," spoken by original COO John Lack. Those words were really accompanied by the original MTV theme song, a crunching guitar riff written by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over a montage of the Apollo 11 moon landing. MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a conceit, associating MTV with the most famous moment in world television history.[citation needed]

Appropriately, the first music video shown on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. The second video shown was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run". Sporadically, the screen would go black when someone at MTV inserted a tape into a VCR".

The Buggles? Who the hell are The Buggles? Dang, not a very auspicious beginning for such an extraordinary event. (See, I left the West to live in India for 10 years between 1975 and almost 1986, so I know little about the West during that time, seems so much history to catch up on!). Now looking up New Wave.
posted by nickyskye at 12:41 PM on September 23, 2007


Einsturzende Neubauten, Kraut, Lene Lovich, The Specials, ALAN VEGA, are among the countless videos I saw in the first two years of MTV.

Styx "mr. roboto" spelled the death of that station to me, Journey, Toto (!), Kansas (gads!) soon followed,

"Lawyers in Love" anyone?
posted by Max Power at 12:51 PM on September 23, 2007


Plus who can forget the filler astronaut guy.
posted by Max Power at 12:52 PM on September 23, 2007


Chilliwack on the blue! "My Girl" and its catchy "gone...gone...gone...she been gone so long..." is a nearly-forgotten early '80s gem. Lines up nicely next to "Ah! Leah!" by Donnie Iris and "Right Down the Line" by Gerry Rafferty.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:54 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's funny that it was "Shaddap You Face" that kept it from going to #1 in the UK.

Hey, itsa notso bad, itsa nice-ah place...
posted by porn in the woods at 12:57 PM on September 23, 2007


Ah, the Buggles. The band that launched a thousand trivia night questions.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:58 PM on September 23, 2007


I like fighting people by dancing at them with my shoulders.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:10 PM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


This seemed like a pretty crazy video in its day.

This I don't believe, a Monkee, Mike Nesmith, from that cheesy group, had an input in the MTV vision.

Uh, Mike Nesmith was an amazing video pioneer (clip), and a great songwriter.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:11 PM on September 23, 2007


P.S. -- Poor Aimee Mann.

Back in the day you might catch her walking down Newbury Street (in Boston), as you'd get a glimpse of Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova or members of Aerosmith near the old Coffee Connection (now Starbucks) or Tower Records (then HMV).
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on September 23, 2007


We had to make do in the Netherlands with cheesy pop shows on television until around '88. Here's an uncharacteristically cool recording by the Toppop show of Tom Browne - Funkin' for Jamaica.
posted by jouke at 1:14 PM on September 23, 2007


My first exposure to MTV wouldn't come until it had been established for, in retrospect, a pretty short time -- but goddamn if this circa '84 video (which I vividly recall as the first thing I saw on MTV), which seems to have been drawn its inspiration from Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mad Max, and Calvin Klein ads, shows how quickly videos evolved into weirdly ambitious nonsense with feature film budgets. I'm not sure this can be considered progress, necessarily, but it is a hell of a jump to make in just two or three years. (All told, though, I'm glad to have been a teenager in 1989, by which time the music video had clearly reached its artistic zenith.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:15 PM on September 23, 2007


When MTV first switched on, there was such a dearth of material...

...despised the "New Wave" and I found that a lot of it on MTV caused my interest to wane...


<compelled to share my MTV-genesis factoid here, warning> MTV is widely attributed to be the actual cause of the "Second British Invasion," making New Wave bands like Duran Duran, the Police, OMD and Squeeze known to the US market.

The reason is so simply elegant: as mentioned here, MTV had very little programming when it launched. But bands in the UK had been making music videos for years prior, in order to increase their chances at getting aired on popular weekly BBC music show Top of the Pops.

So, MTV opens for business, has no material. The Brits have material, but nowhere to air it. The Brits send their tapes, MTV is glad to have anything to run besides the Buggles (again) and boom! American teenagers sit fascinated in front of Culture Club, Wham!, Billy Idol, and the Eurythmics and all the other UK New Wave outfits that went on to dominate 80's music.
posted by pineapple at 1:16 PM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Here's a sentence from WikiPedia on New Wave:

“Thus, The Police, the B-52s, Soft Cell, and Human League are equally considered New Wave, even though certain keyboard-led bands of the early 1980s, such as Devo, Duran Duran and Depeche Mode are considered the most iconic bands of the genre.”

In 1980-83, I didn't consider The Police new wave. Many other bands mentioned in that article I never considered "New Wave". But it's quite right that Devo, Duran Duran, and Depeche Mode are iconic New Wave bands, certainly to me.

Also, from the article:

“As a result the early MTV years became known as the ‘Second British invasion’.”

Which is what I didn't like.

For me, it was synthpop. I mean, look: in my little backwater where nobody I am aware of in my very Texas-like high school had any more outre musical tastes than my friends and I with our love of what we called "Hard Rock" and was early metal and hair-band metal before it got too ridiculous. Our band was Van Halen, right from the get-go, from very shortly after their first album was released. And we weren't too thrilled with any of the more pop songs of theirs that made the charts. Happy with the attention, unhappy that they were very pop-like.

And this was mostly a rebellion against what was, for us, the hegemony of Top-40 pop and Country. There was one record store in town, even though this was a college town with a university enrollment of about 3,500. I'm certain some of the college students had excellent musical taste. But there was little-to-no crossover between the teens and the college students. Which is sort of odd, actually, because there were a few of us, my junior and senior years, who went regularly to the two frat houses who were lenient to drink. By that time, one of our foursome was a freshman at the university. And a musician. But I still don't recall any good musical influences there. Maybe we were with the wrong crowd. There's a former mefite who I went to school with, and she was in the theater department there for awhile—she said her group had orgies. So, fuck, sometimes I think I was running with the wrong crowd. (Although one of our foursome was the son of the theater dept. chair, and all of us knew many music dept. people.)

But I digress.

In my advanced age I'm a little defensive, I suppose, about my music taste as a youth. On the one hand, my friends went outside the boundaries of what was the stifling convention of our high school. If you can believe this—and I'm sure many of you can't—we were like wild rebels in this regard with our musical taste that is, in retrospect, so modest. On the other hand, by the late 80s I began to be aware of everything I had missed in the late 70s and early 80s. There were no punks in my high school. But I like to think that had things been different, I might have had the good taste and luck to have been aware and enjoyed of the authentic American punk of that era.

Even so, and still today, my ears reject anything that sounds too much like pablum melodic pop music. I have learned to enjoy music that sounds as if it is this kind of music, but is in fact a subversion of it...for example, Elvis Costello. I have to work at it, though. Oddly, I love love love Joe Jackson.

I watch that Devo "Satisfaction" clip today and I'm amazed at how great I think it is and at how certain I am that I would have hated it 30 years ago. Hell, I probably saw it when it aired.

But, predictably, Grunge brought me back to rock music (by the late 80s, I had stopped listening to it altogether and was listening to jazz). Angry and unpolished and authentic (not all of it was) was the antithesis of what I didn't like in pop. Which is also why I so regret not discovering punk when I had the opportunity ten years earlier. This was also the very short period where I watched some MTV again. Liquid Television and wasn't there another time slot they showed Alternative music?

All that said, even though I recall rejecting MTV after 1984, much of the music that appeared there from 1981 to 1990 nevertheless is familiar to me and somehow forms a background to that decade. And I find I welcome a reminder of it in posts such as this.

On the other hand, most of the 80s were a fucking horror of a decade for me and it's not fond memories I recall. From 1985 to 1989, I just didn't fit in anywhere and all the people in my age group and in my workplaced (I waited tables during this period) were quite alien to me. It was very much like being stuck in high school, which I also hated with a white hot fiery passion.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:29 PM on September 23, 2007


The First 50 Videos Ever Shown on MTV:

"Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles
"You Better Run" by Pat Benatar
"She Won't Dance" by Rod Stewart
"You Better You Bet" by The Who
"Little Susie's on the Up" by Ph.D.
"We Don't Talk Anymore" by Cliff Richard
"Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders
"Time Heals" by Todd Rundgren
"Take It on the Run" by REO Speedwagon
"Rockin' the Paradise" by Styx
"When Things Go Wrong" by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters
"History Never Repeats" by Split Enz
"Hold On Loosely" by 38 Special
"Just Between You and Me" by April Wine
"Sailing" by Rod Stewart
"Iron Maiden" by Iron Maiden
"Keep On Loving You" by REO Speedwagon
"Message of Love" by The Pretenders
"Mr. Briefcase" by Lee Ritenour
"Double Life" by The Cars
"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
"Looking For Clues" by Robert Palmer
"Too Late" by Shoes
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Surface Tension" by Rupert Hine
"One Step Ahead" by Split Enz
"Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty
"I'm Gonna Follow You" by Pat Benatar
"Savannah Nights" by Tom Johnston
"Lucille" by Rockestra
"The Best of Times" by Styx
"Vengeance" by Carly Simon
"Wrathchild" by Iron Maiden
"I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" by Blotto
"Passion" by Rod Stewart
"Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello
"Don't Let Him Go" by REO Speedwagon
"Remote Control/Illegal" by The Silencers
"Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton
"Little Sister" by Rockpile with Robert Plant
"Hold On to the Night" by Bootcamp
"Dreaming" by Cliff Richard
"Is it You?" by Lee Ritenour
"Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac
"He Can't Love You" by Michael Stanley Band
"Tough Guys" by REO Speedwagon
"Rapture" by Blondie
"Don't Let Go the Coat" by The Who
"Ain't Love a Bitch" by Rod Stewart
"Talk of the Town" by The Pretenders

Please help correct anything that isn't the original video.
posted by Muddler at 1:29 PM on September 23, 2007 [14 favorites]


Love Plus One
Fun Boy Three
Tendernes
I'll stop but there are so many more. Til Tuesday was the first concert I went to. Actually it was a Hall and Oats concert and Til Tuesday was the opening band. A friends sister won tickets from some radio station. When she couldn't find anyone to go with her, she called me.
posted by Sailormom at 1:31 PM on September 23, 2007


OOOOOHHHHH. I remember first hearing Favourite Shirts while getting my haircut. And I fell in instant love with Haircut 100.

Two others I LOVED LOVED LOVED.

Ranking Roger offered me a beer once. I turned him down and asked for a coke instead because I was underage. He looked at me like I was insane. I was such a freaking dweeb.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:35 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Never even thought about it before... but upon reading that comment... I FELL IN LOVE WITH HAIRCUT 100 WHILE GETTING A HAIRCUT. Oh ha! How was that possibly lost on me before?
posted by miss lynnster at 1:38 PM on September 23, 2007


Ahhh, well this thread hasn't helped me get any work done on a Sunday at the office. As a teenager of the 80's, my life revolved around MTV and most of these videos.

Contribution? Remember when MTV would show the 'extended-version' videos at the top of every hour? Thriller was an obvious one, but there was also New Moon on Monday and the 20 minute version of Jazzin' for Blue Jean (Part II). I'm sure there were a few others that I'm not recalling...
posted by idigress at 1:43 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This was also the very short period where I watched some MTV again. Liquid Television and wasn't there another time slot they showed Alternative music?

Are you thinking of 120 Minutes?

(fellow small-town-Texas-teen-seeking-something-besides-Debbie-Gibson-and-George-Strait. "120 Minutes" was my lifesaver.)
posted by pineapple at 1:48 PM on September 23, 2007


anyone else remember when eminence front was in really heavy rotation?

i remember a period of months where, it seemed, that video played at least every fifth video.

my girlfriends and i would cluster in front of the console teevee, breathlessly waiting for that shot of john's nipple in "hungry like the wolf." or (insert other girly fascination here). those were the days. *sigh*

~~~~~~
tell you what, y'all. *this* is why i like metafilter. thanks for keeping it kind and mellow, folks. i've had a blast flashing back, and have appreciated the absence of "your music sux" posts. have a great sunday, wherever you are.
posted by CitizenD at 1:53 PM on September 23, 2007


“I like fighting people by dancing at them with my shoulders.”

Pat Benetar played my town in 1982 in the university basketball arena. I didn't much like her, but, hey, it was a concert in town. Normally, we'd have to drive to Lubbock or Albquerque.

Compared to the other concerts I had gone to, it was terribly boring. I recall being amazed at how many radio hits she'd had. She played all of them, one after another. Not much showmanship. It was like listening to a Best Hits album.

Now, as I write this, I realize that what I wrote earlier was not entirely true. I took a former sixth-grade girlfriend to that concert—she had moved away when her father got a VP job at KU in Lawrence, then moved back when he got the President's job back in P-ville. And, while in Kansas, she had picked up on a bunch of music that I had never heard, and had absolutely no context for. I didn't much like it, but when I was introduced to it again by my soon-to-be Torontoan wife in 1989, I liked it. Stuff like The Roches.

Anyway, this girl and I didn't seriously date during this time, we were only friends. Mostly because I reminded her far too much of an absent alcoholic poet in her life and she realized I was trouble if she got too close. But, had I been paying attention, I could have learned a thing or two from her and her (soon to come out as lesbian) best friend who both swished around town on their glittery roller-skates, quietly being National Merit Scholars and such. I held court with both of them, talking more than listening (to my great regret today), shrugging off suggestions that I talk with one of the physics dept. professors about my invention of what I later learned were proto-Minkowsky diagrams. My dad told me I was an asshole, who am I to approach a physics prof when I had only months before graduated high school?

These two listened to me and loved me, one of them let herself get far too close, but they both knew that odds were even that I'd be dead in a ditch on a lonely stretch of highway in a 90 MPH drink-fueled night of all-too-familiar self-pity. So, you know, some Bad Boy attraction to two girls who were far too smart, far too ambitious, to let it actually seduce them.

I dunno. It may be the case that Pissed Off music, which really wasn't available to me, at least as far as I knew, wouldn't have been A Good Thing. VH and others were a solace in their having fun, let's get drunk and screw ethos, which I shared for beers one through four, after which it was picking fights (or, failing that, punching things at random, and perhaps despair and tears).

So maybe my bad (or, charitably, mediocre) taste in music during that time was a blessing.

Anyway, my friend was exquisitely bored by the Pat Benatar concert, as was I. Who knows what might have happened had the music been magical? I was too scared to kiss her goodnight, exactly as I had been the summer after our sixth-grade year. You'd have to know her: so nice, kind—one feared to disrupt that placidity. I was always afraid of giving offense in this way; I always waited women to come to me.

Please forgive this ramble. I'm going to push that damn "submit" button, though I fear this is terribly narcissistic. I only hope that I've written it well enough that it has some flavor of youth, and regret, and the accidents of history, that will resonate enough to make it worth it to anyone who labors through reading it.

Jesus. I haven't felt such a strong need to get wasted in years. But I don't really drink anymore, and haven't in a long age.

On Preview: 120 Minutes. Right! Exactly what I was trying to remember. Thanks!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:54 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


ZOMG miss lynnster, i just had an out-of-body flashback with that aztec camera.

wow, john/ny cougar/mellencamp had it right: it really does hurt so good.
posted by CitizenD at 1:55 PM on September 23, 2007


miss lynster, you are my hero.

aztec camera. man. awesome. the only thing that sucks about these youtube videos is the quality of the sound is frequently awful.

the first CD i ever bought was china crisis' _working with fire and steel_. i guess i was really into new ro when i was in high school. and i guess calling it "new ro" pegs me as having grown up in california :)
posted by joeblough at 2:14 PM on September 23, 2007


"n" <- for proper spelling of "miss lynnster"
posted by joeblough at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2007


We didn't get cable until fairly late - but there was a secret surprise on Channel 62, a station that usually marketed urban programming - MV3. First it was a dance show (I don't actually remember anyone performing live) and then it switched to an all-video format. I remember a lot of Haircut 100 and Tom Tom Club. Then again, Channel 62 would often run the same episode every day for a week, but I loved it so much I didn't really care.
posted by pinky at 2:42 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Someone should post a MuchMusic thread.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:46 PM on September 23, 2007


pinky: there was a secret surprise on Channel 62

I still recall MV3 fondly. And the disappearance of the old school channel 62 (and earlier, the Auction Movie) was a true loss.
posted by McLir at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2007


This thread makes me want to slam dance!
posted by jrossi4r at 3:29 PM on September 23, 2007


Ah, Aztec Camera. I still play "Knife" every now and again and it's still a terrific album. Since miss lynnster threw them together, may I just mention that Lloyd Cole now lives up the road from me in Northampton, MA. He looks a little different these days -- don't we all -- plays very good golf and has teenage kids who don't think he's at all cool. He has a blog, of course, and is still recording bloody wonderful music.
posted by fefofifum at 3:44 PM on September 23, 2007


Ah, Aztec Camera. I still play "Knife" every now and again and it's still a terrific album. Since miss lynnster threw them together, may I just mention that Lloyd Cole now lives up the road from me in Northampton, MA. He looks a little different these days -- don't we all -- plays very good golf and has teenage kids who don't think he's at all cool. He has a blog, of course, and is still recording bloody wonderful music.

Sorry. Newish. Now with actual working links.
posted by fefofifum at 3:52 PM on September 23, 2007


update from wittgenstein:

Rupert Holmes did quite well after the pina-colada/HIM era.
He created a show that appeared for awhile on AMC and he has also written some novels if I am not mistaken.

I can't believe I missed "turning japanese", another video I remember being in heavy rotation.

Can anyone tell me exactly who BOOTCAMP were? They seemed to disappear.

Finally, I intended to include Planet P's "Why Me" but I could not get the darn link to work after several tries.

Thanks for all the memories.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:04 PM on September 23, 2007


I only post Pete Wylie links these days.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:13 PM on September 23, 2007


Aside from MTV, my goto's for music videos were MV3, Video Hits, Good Rockin' Tonight, Friday Night Videos, the local Back Porch Video and my favorite, Night Flight.

A few more goodies:
Sharkey's Day by Laurie Anderson
One Minute Movies by the Residents
Saved By Zero by the Fixx
Lovecats by the Cure
AEIOU Sometimes Y by Ebn-Ozn
Making Plans for Nigel by XTC
Freeze Frame by J Geils Band
Shock the Monkey by Peter Gabriel
Adventures in Success by Will Powers
Genius of Love by Tom Tom Club
Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
posted by McLir at 4:41 PM on September 23, 2007


Holy shit, how have I never seen that version of Iron Maiden before? Where did that come from? The recording is awesome and the fact that they're playing at a proto-thrash triple speed level makes it even better.
posted by The Straightener at 4:44 PM on September 23, 2007


>Someone should post a MuchMusic thread.
Haha! You're right.

I forgot that My Girl was filmed in front of the flatiron .
posted by philfromhavelock at 5:27 PM on September 23, 2007


McLir's link to Sharkey's Day (which is from the album that introduced me to Laurie Anderson, which changed my world forever) got me to looking at some other LA videos. Here's an excellent version of O Superman.

The lyrics are appropriate today:
Here come the planes
They're American planes
Made in America
Smoking or non-smoking?

And the voice said:
  Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall
  stay these couriers from the swift completion
  of their appointed rounds
  'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice
  And when justice is gone, there's always force
  And when force is gone, there's always Mom

Hi Mom!
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms
In your automatic arms
Your electronic arms
In your arms
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms
Your petrochemical arms
Your military arms
In your electronic arms
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:47 PM on September 23, 2007


MissLynnster, will you marry me?
posted by jdfan at 5:47 PM on September 23, 2007


I remember we had a local cable access show in North Vancouver, hosted by the older brother of my classmate, and they showed less mainstream stuff. And sometimes they showed the extended version of "Girls on Film"... you could see sexy women with naked boobies! On TV!!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:55 PM on September 23, 2007


I watched MV3 religiously after school every day, as well as Friday night videos (if I was home). My sister and I have been trading our favorite videos from that time for the last several months. Some of my favorites from that time:

Haysi Fantayzee
The Belle Stars
Adam and the Ants
Blancmange
posted by oneirodynia at 6:08 PM on September 23, 2007


i guess calling it "new ro" pegs me as having grown up in california :)

Ha! Yes it does. I remember that back then I didn't initially put together that it stood for "new romantic." So at first I spelled it "neuro."

I remember Lloyd Cole doing a show at the Backdoor at SDSU. He was super shy and when people screamed that they loved him, he said, "Stop it. You're really embarrassing me." into the mic with his head down. (A few years later he had a different reputation and his ego had apparently become huge, but at first when I saw him he seemed like a painfully shy kid.) Anyhow, I was 17 and worked the request lines at 91X. Back then radio was still like WKRP In Cincinnati & not the corporate machine it is today... so every 91X shift I worked from then on, I pretended the phone lines were ringing off the hook requesting Perfect Skin so that they'd play it more. It was just me abusing my miniscule bit of power, though. :)

Similarly, I only wrote down half of the requests for Kajagoogoo & Like A Virgin. And I ignored most of the giggling little girls who would call up 91X to request this song just because their friends dared them to call up and request a song called "Kiss Me."*

*They would also dare eachother to request this song, but I loved The Cure so that was A-OK by me.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:10 PM on September 23, 2007


More videos of stuff that still makes me super happy.

But my all time favorite video for laughability? HAS to be Steve Perry's overacting and the invisible musical instruments in this video. Makes me cry every time.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:49 PM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Lazyweb help me -- what I really want is someone to write a Firefox addon or Greasemonkey script or site or something that will be my own MTV/Muchmusic.

I want to press a fire-and-forget button, and I want it to go to Youtube (or whatever) and I want it to play music videos and only music videos while I enjoy delicious beverages, say.

For extra points, I want it to preload upcoming vids, so there's no buffering. I want a button to hit that will let me rate the video from "Yay!" to "Never show me this again" and I want it to keep a history that I can save out into a playlist, with URLs.

I really want this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:52 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Similarly, I only wrote down half of the requests for Kajagoogoo & Like A Virgin.”

I was a jock at the regional #1 AM station, it was country. On the same premises was the #1 FM station, which was Top 40 Pop (the previously mentioned station that was the bane of my childhood). It was automated, back before that was common. Tons of reel-to-reel tapes and automated cart carousels. It didn't sound automated (well, it did, but no one seemed to notice).

So, we jocks at the AM station would answer the request line for both stations. For the FM station, we'd pretend that we were, you know, actually selecting and playing the music. Pretty much I'd say "okay, I'll get that on for you as soon as possible" regardless of what the caller asked for. And because they always asked for some current Top 40 song, or a recurrent, or perhaps an oldie Top 40, it'd eventually play. Sometimes it'd play shortly after the call and sometimes the caller would call back and say "thanks". I'd say, "you're welcome!".

I didn't like country, but this was before country became thoroughly pablum and there was still some authentic and interesting stuff. I learned to like a few things and played as much of that kind of thing as possible. I played an old Carter Family record, but that didn't go over too well. A little too authentic, perhaps. I had a rule that I would never, ever, under any circumstance play Dolly Parton. I can't claim to always have followed that rule (when she had a top 10, it's sort of hard to get away with not playing it).

I was the overnight jock. You get some weird callers in the middle of the night, even at a country station.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:54 PM on September 23, 2007


We actually had a list of songs that were heavy rotation for the week and a blank pad of paper. We would very literally write down the requests & then put tick marks next to the song title as more requests came in. Then we'd tally them up at the end of our shift and turn that paper in. Management actually wanted to keep track of what people were asking for, what trends were happening.

They don't do that anymore.

Honestly, there is no better job for a 17 year old girl than talking on the phone though. And yeah, there were some weird callers in the middle of the day too. Working there immediately turned me into a big fish in a small pond, so my mom even had to change our number because weirdos were finding out my last name and calling me there. I had stalkers before they called them stalkers, and I was so totally naive I was completely oblivious.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:17 PM on September 23, 2007


O noes you din't! You stole my links again. You naughty little linkthief you.

That's a paddlin.
posted by vronsky at 7:22 PM on September 23, 2007


Oh jesus, what are you imagining now, vronsky?
posted by miss lynnster at 7:35 PM on September 23, 2007


The nineteenth comment in this thread for starters. Now will you agree to stop stalking me or do I have to get a restraining order? Hmmm?
posted by vronsky at 7:42 PM on September 23, 2007


surrender your heart to me
posted by vronsky at 7:45 PM on September 23, 2007


so do you guys ever listen to the 80s underground on kcsu? i cant get it reliably up in oakland but its easily pulled in on the peninsula:

myspace page

he has a link on that page to his podcasts, so even if you cant pull in the station you can enjoy the bits.

that's funny about "new ro", because i was going to write "neuro" until i checked wikipedia.

stavros, the closest i can come to your wish is Miro (formerly the Democracy player) - it can download youtube videos and you can make a playlist, though it wont do much on the "automagically searching for stuff" front.
posted by joeblough at 7:47 PM on September 23, 2007


whoops, KSCU. santa clara.
posted by joeblough at 7:52 PM on September 23, 2007


Soho,1982
posted by vronsky at 7:56 PM on September 23, 2007


Oh, right vronsky. Because you are the keeper of Godley & Creme and James Brown dancing videos. How silly of me to not know that.

Anyhow, maybe this is one of those posts that chime should do one of his self-plugs in. He could set up a whole music video channel for us.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:00 PM on September 23, 2007


mockin the vronsky?


that's a paddlin.
posted by vronsky at 8:04 PM on September 23, 2007


anyone else remember when eminence front was in really heavy rotation?

i remember a period of months where, it seemed, that video played at least every fifth video.


Yep, I was an avid watcher during that "eminence front" era. Just slightly before that I believe was the "Cuts like a Knife" era, which also was played every 5 videos, which was fine by me since it didn't really feature Bryan Adams but my first video crush, undressing in the changing room. I lived in a town of 10k in Vermont and we got cable in 1982, when I was in 7th grade. However the launch of the service was staggered throughout the town, so noone knew when it would come. I hurried home every day after school for weeks. Then, one sunlit afternoon (when I really should have been practicing track) Cable was on. Many, many hours spent in front of that tv. Actually MTV *was* cable.

MTV memories:
-April Fools day, "v-jay" Alan Hunter plays "Leave it" by Yes repeatedly for an hour or so. Which managed to blow my mind because I loved that song obsessively and apparently so did he.
(Just watched that video for the first time in at least 20 years. Those Video Toaster effects are choice!)

-Party on a Friday night in late Fall in 8th grade where I made a bet with my buddy Mike that Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize" wouldn't be number 1 again. It was, so I had to go ask Jenny Winslow to dance, she said yes and so we slow danced to Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Later that night, her hair smelled like artificial strawberries and it mixed with the smell of burning leaves in the air as we made out on her back porch while everyone inside was watching "One Thing Leads to Another". For one night MTV was the perfect backdrop to my life.
posted by jeremias at 8:16 PM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Remember when MTV did a Christmas video every year? Filmed in the studio with the whole staff and some random rock star. The only one I could find was a poor quality Billy Squire version, but I remember a Hall and Oates one as well.

I wanted to grow up and work at MTV watching those. (And now when I watch it I want to go work at MTV in 1982.)
posted by idigress at 8:47 PM on September 23, 2007


Ethereal Bligh,

I think I'm about the same age as you and grew up in a similar environment, in a small town on the Colorado plains.

High School was all AC/DC, REO, Journey, Van Halen, etc.

College, a complete 180: OMD, Depeche Mode, Devo, etc.

Got a spike haircut and a pink and purple stripe in my hair, which went over real well with the oil field trash during my summer job.

That high school music makes me cringe, but the college stuff still makes me smile when I hear it once in a while.
posted by rougy at 8:55 PM on September 23, 2007


ZOMG jeremias, i TOTALLY remember that "leave it" fest!!!

damn, this is fun.
posted by CitizenD at 8:56 PM on September 23, 2007


I just remembered something. A girl I met at 9th grade camp actually won one of those MTV contests in the mid-80s & got to "run" MTV for a day. I remember seeing her on tv and being in shock. Then I ran into her a few days after she got back from New York... her ego was completely out of control as she bragged all about how she bonded with Martha Quinn & stuff. I remember she gave away all of her prizes trying to buy friends. She kinda drove me nuts so when she offered me stuff I told her she should keep some of what she won for herself. (All the good stuff was gone already anyhow...)

It was weird seeing someone I knew sitting there on that MTV couch, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:13 PM on September 23, 2007


shablam a-dee, shablam a-da

be the sound of higher love today
posted by vronsky at 9:23 PM on September 23, 2007


McLir and oneirodynia - you are the only two humans I have encountered who have also seen MV3. I know I'm not *that* special of a snowflake, but whenever I've described it, it never struck a chord with anyone.

And Blancmange! And Haysi Fantayzee!

(McLir - do you know who Mike Halloran is?)
posted by pinky at 9:32 PM on September 23, 2007


Mike Halloran, yes! Of course. I have some stories to tell about WDTX and the whole 80's D-town gestalt. If you want to pick this up off-thread, my email is pathat32 at hotmail.
posted by McLir at 9:49 PM on September 23, 2007


McLir, do you remember WLBS?
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:13 PM on September 23, 2007


- I Like
posted by vronsky at 10:26 PM on September 23, 2007


I remember WLBS, but I can't say I listened. What kind of music did they do? (And I welcome YouTube links.)
posted by McLir at 10:39 PM on September 23, 2007


Oh geez, I worked with Mike Halloran. I can't remember whether it was at KROQ or 91X -- I don't even recognize him now.

I remember interviewing people for the 91X request lines and testing them on whether or not they could spell Blancmange. If they said, "What's a blah mahj?" it was a demerit point on the application. Xers had to know our 91X music back then, y'know. We weren't working there for the money, that's for damn sure.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:43 PM on September 23, 2007


miss lynnster, (just between you and me, does he still have the same out-sized personality?)
Also, kudos on your picks above.
(I perform music, and "Punk Rock Girl" is probably the most requested. But Talking Heads, XTC and TMBG are my personal favorites.)

posted by McLir at 10:53 PM on September 23, 2007


BTW, I heard this song playing in an airport runway shuttle bus in Aswan, Egypt last year. It was so unexpected to hear it, it totally made me laugh. I was super tempted to do a little jig but I refrained.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:54 PM on September 23, 2007


I have no idea what Mike Halloran is like, I barely remember my interactions with him. But 90% of djs have egotist/narcissist tendencies, really. They are ALL "out-sized" in their own way. Plus they're control freaks. To be a professional dj, you have to get used to being in a little booth by yourself where you are entirely responsible for keeping the content & conversation flowing singlehandedly and have people listening to your every word. And then wherever you go, strangers are celebrating you for it and acting like they want to be your best friend. Think about it. After a while, to be a dj, you start to believe that you pretty much TELL listeners what to think & what they're supposed to like, that's what a station expects of a successful dj. And there's a lot of power in that.

Even with my pee-on job, I definitely had a taste of that power. I made minimum wage yet I was definitely a local celebrity of sorts among people my age. When I went to parties I asked people not to let anyone know where I worked, because once it got out, everyone treated me differently & it was freaking weird. Some people love that feeling & crave attention. I wasn't very comfortable with it. I definitely preferred to feel invisible & be a fly on the wall socially. Plus I always assumed people were only trying to be my friend because of my job & a lot of times they were.

Mike, if I very vaguely recall, was someone who didn't mind it so much.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:08 PM on September 23, 2007


Some more:
Come Dancing by the Kinks
I Won't Stand in Your Way by Stray Cats
Mother's Talk by Tears for Fears
Hyperactive by Thomas Dolby
The Politics of Dancing by Re-Flex
Our House by Madness
Are You Receiving Me? by XTC
Love Missile F1-11 by Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Jumping Someone Else's Train by The Cure
Crosseyed and Painless by Talking Heads (featuring, possibly, the first video moonwalk).

miss lynnster, point taken. That does make sense. I saw this vid on MV3 which may be a propos.
DJ by David Bowie
posted by McLir at 11:28 PM on September 23, 2007


miss L is a great dancer:)
posted by vronsky at 11:32 PM on September 23, 2007


“But 90% of djs have egotist/narcissist tendencies, really. They are ALL "out-sized" in their own way. Plus they're control freaks. To be a professional dj, you have to get used to being in a little booth by yourself where you are entirely responsible for keeping the content & conversation flowing singlehandedly and have people listening to your every word. And then wherever you go, strangers are celebrating you for it and acting like they want to be your best friend.”

Yeah, not so much for the overnight jock. :)

So, in his early days with AccuWeather, Joe Bastardi did our weather forecast and so came to the (bigger) town's summer pioneer whateverthehell thing and rode on the radio station's float during the parade. He was like, "where am I?" "You're in Hell, Joe" while the morning drive jock, also the PM, and who did, in fact, have an outsize ego, jams with his band and played Clapton's Cocaine over and over again.

I was just happy to be included. People clapped.

I think mostly little old insomniac ladies and truck drivers were my listeners. That's probably why my long explanation of exactly what "wind chill" was didn't go over so well. I was a good overnight jock, the PM told me. They liked me where I was, didn't want to move me up to night when someone got fired. I was "soothing", they said. Uh-huh. I packed up and moved to Dallas.

Oddly, I worked for a radio automation production company there for a while.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:36 PM on September 23, 2007


My days were still the spin-the-45-days. AP weather at exactly the top of the hour, segues, and voice-over intros. I ran a tight board, even when I was improvising a PSA and grabbing something and cueing it up with my right hand, blind. Control freaks, yeah. I mean, the whole damn world knows when you fuck something up. And have you ever heard an off-air siren when you're responsible for it?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:40 PM on September 23, 2007


Or even worse... an on-air SILENCE.

Whenever I heard one of those, my heart would stop and I'd wonder if someone was about to lose a job.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:52 PM on September 23, 2007


Yeah, that's what I meant. The alarm thingie couldn't tell the difference (though of course, it could be looking for the carrier wave, but as far as I know, there was just a simple alarm that detected silence).

Whenever I heard one of those, I thought I was going to lose my job. In an empty station on an overnight shift, those sirens were loud. And though the station was empty, the owner lived in a house behind the station.

The problem wasn't (mostly1) the actual station I was a jock on. The problem was that the jocks, especially night and overnight, were responsible for changing tapes on the r2r decks on the automated station. If, for some strange reason, one forgot, a tape that the computer thought was newly loaded and at the beginning would be an old tape that just ran out, spun around, producing silence until the fucking alarm went off. That meant, what, a minute of silence?

And for those who don't know, we're talking something that sounds a lot like an air raid siren.

Even more fun was remember to change the tape at the last minute and be actually in the process of rewinding a tape when the computer switches it to "play". Snap! Now you've got a stretched and broken tape, two reels spinning with tape whapping on each one, shortly an off-air siren, and, just for extra fun, the phone ringing.

Only once, after not being able to sleep the day before, did I fall asleep on shift. When I awoke to the sound of a needle clicking in the terminal groove, I had a terrible, terrible fear that this had been going on for hours. I was alone, you see. But no, only about one minute.

I hate to repeat a story I've told here before, but it's too hard to resist. What's really scary is when your pal, the nighttime jock who got you the job in the first place, and who, by the way, is that guy I mentioned in the earlier comment whose parents (both of them) were university theater dept. people (one the chair) decides to greet you when you arrive at work by taking you to the back door, opening it, saying "watch this", and grabs the big red switch and makes all three radio towers lights' go completely dark, then on, then dark again while I yelled at him to turn the goddam lights on before a plane flies into them and destroys all our future hopes and dreams forever.

1. I did occasionally go wandering the station. Only in the early days did I not make it back before the song ran out. Very quickly (because I went to the storage room and looked through old, packed up records, and could not hear the audio on the intercom there) I developed an exquisite time sense. I still have it. I know to the second any elapsed time from about two minutes to four minutes. I prove this all the time without even trying when I microwave stuff. I'm always walking into the kitchen when the timer runs out and it beeps. I know 3:30 very, very well. I can come back here and read MeFi and, somehow, I just know when to get up and go back to the kitchen. It's sort of weird.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:13 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was working 2 jobs and going to school full time when I worked at 91X so I was always really tired. At one point I fell asleep IN THE MIDDLE OF A GIVEAWAY. I was supposed to give the 91st caller (because of course they couldn't make it easy on me by taking the 9th or something) tickets to some Frankie Goes To Hollywood concert or something. I was wide awake when the contest started, but apparently fell asleep with my face on the desk and bolted awake to hear "We'll announce the winner soon!!!!" As a survival reflex, I immediately hit the first button and said "You're the 91st caller!"

Well, turned out the front office KNEW that I hadn't been answering the phones (everyone noticed that the lines were just blinking the whole time) so they had taken a winner themselves. And when they cornered me on it, I said, "I don't know what you're talking about. Of course I answered the phones. It's my job. I have your winner right here." So since now they had two winners, they were forced to get an extra pair of concert tickets to give away. I never backed down and admitted I'd fallen asleep to anyone other than the winner I'd chosen. When I took them to the concert, I told them point blank how lucky they were because they hadn't actually won.

Anyhow, that was the first time I really intimately understood what "Cover Your Ass" meant in the workplace. I'm very familiar with it now.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:35 AM on September 24, 2007


A few more early videos:
Cool Places by Jane Wiedlin and Sparks
Dizzy Miss Lizzy by Flying Lizards
Bad Boys by Wham
Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies
Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears
I Wanna be a Flintstone by the Screaming Blue Messiahs
and we get ready for the day:
I Don't Like Mondays by Boomtown Rats
posted by McLir at 12:47 AM on September 24, 2007


McLir: WLBS (102.7) was Detroit's New Wave station for a brief time in the early 80s. It was where you could hear Devo, Adam and the Ants, the Circle Jerks and the Violent Femmes on a regular basis.
And thanks for the Sparks mention - one of my all-time favorite groups!
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:17 AM on September 24, 2007


I Need a Freak (1983)
posted by vronsky at 1:28 AM on September 24, 2007


I can't be alone in having found in MTV a significant source of erotic excitement as a male teen-ager? "Girls on Film"? Excuse me for a moment... Pat Benat... excuse me... "Voices Carry"? Be right back... "Rio"? OH! Just a sec... Joan Jett? Sweet mercy...

Later, smoking pot got involved in all this and I remember watching "Cry" a number of times and not understanding, at all, what I was seeing. Every time I've seen that video since then (and having long since stopped smoking pot) I get a visceral memory of how disorienting it was to my poor stoned, addled little brian.

But maybe most valuable was seeing Talking Heads and Laurie Anderson and begining to get an idea of how much more there was out there in the world. Michael Nesmith, too. For a moment there MTV was pretty supra-mainstream and for that pretty fucking great.

A couple years ago my sister gave me this for christmas. It was/is pretty much an H-bomb of nostalgia (though, sadly, very little of it erotic).

Thanks for the post.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:37 AM on September 24, 2007


She Blinded me With Science. Space Age Love Song. Foolin'. Cars. Rough Boys. Who Can it Be Now. Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Abracadabra. Vacation. Heat of the Moment. Rock me Amadeus. Rock the Casbah. China Girl. Dance Hall Days. Panama.

All... forever etched in my mind.

Sadly, so is Walking on Sunshine.
posted by insulglass at 1:50 AM on September 24, 2007


I remember seeing MTV for the first time and thinking, "there goes rock and roll."

And I was right.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:07 AM on September 24, 2007


Heat of the Moment.

So bizarre: I woke up with Asia stuck in my head and my first cognizant thought was of this thread, and wondering when the video came out. Do I remember prisms and the desert?
posted by pineapple at 5:23 AM on September 24, 2007


Miss Lynnster - you worked with Mike Halloran! Oh my god. He was my absolute musical hero when I was a young teen - I always knew he was probably a tremendous egotist, but Radios In Motion gave me a stellar musical education at the time. Once, as a surprise, the manager at my high school radio station (I was in radio all through HS and college) arranged for him to come visit our school and come get me out of class. It was a truly memorable experience.

And I remember WLBS, Oriole Adams - I even went to a rally to save the format and was interviewed by a local news station. Ah, if I only still had that videotape, braces and all :-)
posted by pinky at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2007


I am so crushing on miss lynnster right now. The easiest way to my heart is saying nice things about the English Beat.

No one's mentioned Don Kirshner's Rock Concert as a Midnight Special contemporary or the way HBO used to play one or two videos to fill time between movies in its pre-Video Jukebox days. (Various Don Kirshner YouTube videos here.)

Also, Hilly Michaels and The Waitresses had a couple of videos that thoroughly recall the early 80s for me. Early 80s crushes: Patty Smyth and Terri Nunn and her duo-tone hair.
posted by kimota at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2007


pineapple: you're thinking of Asia's Don't Cry, which for some reason often reminds me of Rick Springfield's Human Touch.

Also, a video that left an impression on me: Ultravox's Dancing with Tears In My Eyes. I can't believe how the nuclear apocalypse always felt so imminent.
posted by kimota at 6:58 AM on September 24, 2007


All the synthpop people are fondly remembering here (along with the mopey art-fart stuff like the Cure) is what ruined music for me back then. Just so you know.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 AM on September 24, 2007


....Walking on Sunshine

If there ever was a song I wanted to unhear, it's that godforsaken piece of shit.

Chilliwack. Oh. Jesus. I hate you for that. Watching the video with no sound, you'd think this band was rocking the fucking house. Add the sound and clearly their were incapable of such.

That period of time was awesome for me in terms of discovering a world beyond Boston, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, etc... Wall of Voodoo's Mexican Radio was just weird enough to make me go out and buy other weird shit.

Electric Avenue. Was infectous enough to make me appreciate certain forms of electronic and/or black music. And for fuck sake, MTV televised a Frank Zappa concert!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:21 AM on September 24, 2007


Wow, that's such a surprise to hear you say that, jonmc. So are you saying you just stopped liking music? Because I'm thinking you didn't. You're just letting us know that our bands suck and that our musical experiences are inferior, right?
posted by miss lynnster at 12:28 PM on September 24, 2007


boo jonmc
posted by joeblough at 11:26 PM on September 25, 2007


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