Mtv And It

MTV History

In 1954, the release of “Rock around the clock”, known as the original white Rock

n’ Roll song and becoming number one on the pop charts, marked a turning point in the

history of popular music and it’s success in the future.

In the late 70s, early 80s, Reagan was president, then Senator Al Gore’s wife led

the crusade against inappropriate rock lyrics and founded the Parents’ Music Resource

Center(PMRC). The hippies became yuppies and began to devote their time to raising well

mannered, preppie children. Rock music, a vital social phenomena among American youth,

had grown dull due to it’s lack of style change from earlier music. Something new and

modern was in need. August 1, 1981, was a day that would change the history of music

forever. On this day, MTV first aired with its very first music video by The Buggles

“Video killed the radio star”. This video was also the millionth to air on Feb. 27, 2000,

and third most aired in video history (Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” being the first).

This new way of presenting rock music, through a 24 hour cable music video channel,

would change Rock n’ Roll forever. The first video was a new medium without

boundaries, which meant that no one knew how MTV would impact artists’ careers or just

how big MTV would inevitably become. Along with MTV came the modo” Sit back, relax

and turn off your mind”.

Music specials were already airing on certain television channels. In 1979,

NBC-TV aired a show at the UN General Assembly, to help UNICEF raise money to

combat hunger and to provide food for the world’s children. The show featured stars such

as the BeeGees, Rod Stewart. Donna Summers and a few others. Another special was

aired on ABC-TV. A landmark documentary about Rock’s biggest names “The heroes of

Rock n’ Roll” starring Jeff Bridges. The Grammy Awards were televised from Radio City

Music Hall in NY, on Feb. 25, 1981. A channel solely dedicated to music was in need,

since the music industry was constantly expanding. MTV was a learning experience that

gradually and completely changed the future of Rock n’ Roll.

In the early 80s, Pat Benetar was one of the first artists to benefit from the new

rock channel. “The heat of the night” became an immediate hit and spawned three US

chart singles. She won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal. MTV made her a

recognizable personality along with other bands such as John Mellencamp, who took the

appearance of a young James Dean, and was one of America’s most successful

mainstream rock singers of the past two decades. Image began to be of great importance

in the music industry since performers would, especially now, constantly be in the public

eye. David Bowie, with his flamboyant style, was one of the great enigmas of popular


In 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was the first music video to air on MTV

by a black artist, marking a turning point for African Americans and their fight for equality

and respect. His “Thriller” album generated an astonishing seven top ten singles, on its

way to becoming the biggest selling album of all time with thirty seven million units sold

worldwide. Madonna also made her debut in 1983, setting the road for her sexy new style.

MTV helped shape them into major icons of the 20th century. On Tuesday Sep.14, 1984,

MTV launched its first Video Awards show at New York’s famous Radio City Music

Hall. It was hosted by Dan Akroyd and Better Midler. Herbie Hancock dominated the

awards with his “ Rock it” video, winning in five different categories. Performing live

were stars such as Madonna, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart and ZZ Top.

In the years of 1984-1985, MTV started to find its place in the music and

entertainment industry, and began to capitalize on its unique position. MTV brought

artists and bands into the mainstream, often bringing them to immediate stardom due to

constant publicity. MTV was expanding and gaining many fans along the way. MTV had

no competition until Tuesday Jan.1, 1985, when VH1 premiered as a twenty four hour

music video channel with Marvin Gaye’s “ Star spangled banner” video. Still MTV had

nothing to fear since VH1 catered to an adult audience, while MTV focused mainly on

teens and young adults ( early twenties).

Van Halen was quite popular during these years. He was named new guitarist of

the year in 1978. They were one of the most successful heavy metal bands. Their lead off

single” Why can’t this be love” reached number three in Billboard chart, while their album

became their first US number one. U2 was one of the most popular rock acts of the 80s.

They gained fame with their creative music videos and with their use of music, not just as

mere entertainment but to raise awareness on certain issues of the world. This changing

attitude towards rock culminated on Saturday July, 13, 1985 with Live Aid. This was the

first rock benefit concert that brought stars such as Queen, The Police, Tina Turner and

many others, together for a cause- raising money to aid African famine relief. MTV

broadcast the entire concert live. 16.3 million viewers in 156 countries and capacity

crowds in Philadelphia and London gathered to watch the fourty bands perform for sixteen

hours. The Cars and The Police were also popular in the 80s. Bruce Springstien is a great

symbol of the success of rock music in the 80s. Rolling stones critic, Jon Landau stated” I

saw Rock n’ Roll future and its name is Bruce Springstien”.

In the late 80s, music videos became more innovative and rock music took a

slightly harder edge. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers led the way with their creative

video “Don’t come around here no more”. They started involving actors such as a Kim

Basinger and Johnny Depp into their music videos. Their body of work spans three

decades of success. Peter Gabriel took music videos to a new level by introducing

animation in his video “Sledgehammer”.

On Sunday May 25,1986, The Hands Across America concert took place. Five

million participants in sixteen states involving president Reagan, linked hands to raise

money for the hungry and the homeless in the US. In 1987 “Headbangers Ball” debuted on

MTV, this show featured videos, interviews and performances by stars. CDs began to gain

popularity and music sales rose 150% in one year. In 1987 MTV debuted in fourteen

countries in Europe. Metallica gained popularity with help from its public appearance on

Headbanger’s Ball. Guns N’ Roses was one of the most controversial heavy rock bands of

the late 80s. Although their music was a great success, their career was littered with

incidents involving drugs, drunkenness, and public disturbance offenses. Aerosmith was

one of the USA’s most popular hard rock acts, founded in the 70s but only being

recognized and reaching great success in the 80s, due to MTV and the publicity of their

videos such as “Dude looks like a lady”. Bon Jovi, Poison and Jane’s Addiction were also

quite popular in the late 80s. In 1989 Madonna, as part of a multi-million dollar deal with

Pepsi-Cola, endorsed the soft drink with a worldwide television debut of her new single in

a video commercial. MTV had become a 24 hour info-mercial, using every second on the

air to sell a product or record label.

In the early 90s, rock evolved into something containing more value and meaning.

In stead of banging their heads, musicians started to think with them and use rock music

lyrics to comment on complicated issues of the world. This was the alternative movement,

when rock began to turn grunge. Nirvana was the most significant icon for the alternative

movement, especially with their debut of “ Smells like teen spirit” video. They were

formed in 1988 and comprised by Kurt Cobain, their lead singer. Although their music was

loved by the MTV generation and they had reached the climax of their success and it was

still growing, on April 5, 1994 Cobain shot himself. This sparked non-stop coverage and a

huge tribute from MTV. The wake conducted in the press wars were matched by public

demonstrations of affection and loss, which included suspected copycat suicides. The

release of MTV Unplugged in New York offered some comfort for Cobain’s fans. Nirvana

was one the most emotive sights and sounds of the 90s, and with his death he had

displayed the relationship MTV had built with it’s devoted fans. After Cobain’s death,

alternative music had gone mainstream and suddenly underground bands were evolving

and growing in popularity. Bands such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, The Stone

Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam emerged and gained popularity quickly due to their

performances, sexually explicit lyrics and decidedly fresh take on Rock n’ Roll. REM were

the “darling’s of college radio” and became huge stars when “Losing my religion” hit


In the mid- 90s, though the true alternative music no longer existed, many of the

performers were still around and growing strong but with a slightly different style. Hole,

an all women band led by Courtney Love, resigned on MTV and demanded respect for the

women band. Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor, revealed the dark side of rock with

their mind blowing video “closer”. It was not the traditional style of music video, since it

contained techno influences. Their music expressed human degradedness, through sex,

drugs, violence, depression, and suicide, closing with personal emotional pain. They were

one of the most talked about acts of woodstock’s anniversary show. Other bands such as

Foo Fighters, Alanis Morissette, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers also gained much fame

during this period mainly because of their use of lyrics in music to sent out certain

messages. The Dave Matthew’s Band were confirmed as one of the most successful rock

acts of the 90s. Mid-90s, the Beavis and Butthead show debuted on MTV. In their own

way they changed the rock scene and style as well. They became an animated version of

video critics, while resurrecting some careers and infusing the scene with a sense of

humor. Many viewers thought of them as a mockery of American society and at times

revolting, but American youth seemed to enjoy this new way of presenting music and so

it’s ratings rose.

In the years between 1997 and 1999, the rock scene transformed into numerous

genres and various bands and music styles were formed. These years carried the

modo”Anything goes”. Bands such as Beck and the Foo Fighters constantly tried

reinventing themselves in creative ways. Others such as Bush remained more traditional

and stuck with mainstream rock. Marilyn Manson with his odd and somewhat frightening

appearance, created a new image for music. Moral majorities saw Manson as a

“corrupting degenerate” due to the explicit content of his music and his offensive

appearance. Teens and young adults were entertained by his performances and the sexual

and violent content of his music and so he became quite a successful performer, some

might even say a major icon of the 90s. Rage Against The machine, although with an

aggressive music style, used their music of anger filled lyrics addressing concerns over

inner city deprivation, racism, censorship, and many other important issues. They are

known as one of the most honest and powerful lyrical statements to be made during the

90s. No Doubt and beck grew popular due to their original musical Talents and unique

styles and self expression.

With the start of the new millennium, rock is still evolving and moving in many

new directions. New bands such as Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach and Creed have formed.

When Pap Roach’s “Last resort” hit MTV, it was clear that rock had invaded the pop

music world. Hip Hop has become popular with performers such as Puff daddy, Jay-Z,

Eminem and Snoop Dog. Teen pop has also evolved recently, with the sole purpose of

entertaining teen fans with heart throbbing teen groups. Many teen groups such as the

Backstreet Boys, N’sync and 98 degrees have formed, and have gained fame throughout

the world due to their music talent and appearance. Solo acts, with singers as young as 15

have also emerged with performers such as Britney spears, Christina Augilera and Jessica

Simpson. You could probably refer to the millennium as the year of the attack of the boy

bands and blond teen beauties.

Many African American groups have also become popular such as Destiny’s child

who are sometimes referred to as the Supremes of the year 2000. Latin music has also

taken over the music industry with performers such as Mariah Carry, Enrique Englesias

and the Latin hunk, Ricky Martin. Image has become so important during this period and

unfortunately appearance seems to be more important then true music. Even though so

many different music styles have emerged many of the past performers are still around and

going strong. performers such as Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Madonna are just

some of those performers. Madonna has truly fulfilled her position as an icon for music

history. She has been creating and reinventing her music for about twenty years and she’s

still at the peak of her career. MTV2 has a slightly different style when compared to the

MTV in the US. Techno and house music are very popular in Europe and is gradually

gaining popularity in the US, usually being played in might clubs and certain radio stations.

MTV has recently added a listing of shows to it’s chanel. The main reason for

some of the shows such as TRL, FANatic and BIOrhythms are to interact with the MTV

audience and to create a close relationship between the stars and their fans. Other shows

such as Jackass, Fear and Road Rules feature acts of stupidity, bravery and adventures in


Although music has changed throughout history, with content, sound and image,

the true music of the past will never be forgotten. Music will always be a part of our

culture and MTV will always be there to strengthen the relationship between music stars

and their fans.

The Importance Of MTV And It’s Impact On American History

MTV is an important event in our history that has affected American culture and

the entertainment and music industry worldwide. In many ways it has expanded the music

industry and influenced youth to better the world. In different perspective, one can say

that MTV has corrupted the value of American life.

Throughout the years MTV has gained great power of influence over youth

through television and music. The average child ,ages 2-11, watches 1,197 minutes of

television per week. In this great amount of time a child’s future can be greatly affected,

so what he or she watches should be chosen wisely. It is important that the industry

regulates what it’s audience is shown and they have a big responsibility and obligation to

do so.

Music today contains explicit content such as drugs, sex and violence, and

adolescents are constantly exposed to such issues through music and with MTV’s help,

through television as well. MTV has in many ways corrupted American culture. With

shows such as Jackass, with their dangerous acts of stupidity, and Marilyn Manson

encouraging suicide and murder one can say MTV is promoting crime and violence.

Certain events which MTV promotes such as Springbreak and Woodstock contain drug

use, sex and violence and in some cases even death. According to statistics the average

number of violent acts seen by a child by the age of eighteen is 200,000. There is a

constant debate whether violence can be blamed on the gun law or on television and

music. On April 22, 1999, the Denver killings took place. Thirteen students were

murdered in Littleton, Colorado by their teen classmate. Some say that children get their

inspiration to kill from music, films and violent television programs, that have everything

to do except showing sensitivity to human life. In the absence of social values these

youngsters fall easy as prey to the act of “heroism” depicted in programs, such as Jackass

and by certain music stars such as Marilyn Manson, Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails. Such

acts of heroism have become a mean to stand up in society and “be noticed”. Others say

that the entertainment industry is hardly to blame, since the entertainment industry has

become the main source for adolescents background in values and morals. It’s hardly the

trigger but the mind behind the finger that pulls it that should carry the blame. In either

case the music industry has introduced and promoted the idea of violence and should take

responsibility of their actions.

Many believe that political action should be taken to regulate the sales of music

containing explicit content. In states such as Washington, the Harmful Material to Minors

Bill would create “adults only” sections in music stores. In Louisiana a $1000 fine or 6

month prison term could be handed down to violators of a proposed bill that would

prohibit the sale or distribution of “lyrics harmful to minors”. In New York a bill proposed

in March would prohibit the sale of music to minors with lyrics describing suicide,

sodomy, rape, incest, bestiality, adultery , murder, violent racism, religious violence,

morbid violence or the illegal use of drugs or alcohol. One can argue that such laws would

be a serious blow to the first amendment but beyond legal problems are more difficult

issues pertaining to the social responsibility of the multi-million dollar recording industry

and the increasing violence throughout American history.

MTV does not promote Classical Art music, such as Beethoven and Bach which

now can be said is on the verge of extinction. Today the ability to pay attention has

become endangered. Adolescents do not want to try and understand the meaning behind

valuable music rather they prefer to just sit back and listen. As a result of this Classical

music which requires the audience’s attention are endangered too. Involvement in

Classical music promotes important human qualities such as self discipline and creativity,

which much of American youth are lacking.

“The music industry does not care about values and American culture, rather the

whole part of the relationship with the teen is just to turn them upside down and shake all

the money out of their pockets”.

MTV is a mockery of American culture. Shows such as the Tom Green show and

The Andy Dick show display gruesome acts of stupidity, which to some is not at all

amusing and can in no way be seen as entertainment. MTV has brought about many

stereotypes. Blacks are perceived as violent sex driven gangsters. Women are displayed

solely as sex symbols, lacking any integrity or value as human beings. After the many years

of fighting for equal rights, MTV has emerged and turned everything around.

MTV has changed the quality of music. Image and performance has become of

such great importance that the quality of music has slowly disappeared. True music has


MTV, although containing so many bad qualities has brought about some good in

the American culture and entertainment and music industry. It has helped our economy

remain on top. With publicity and constantly keeping performers in the public eye, various

artists have been recognized and risen to stardom. MTV shaped stars into teen ro-models

and with publicizing certain images it promoted an idealized teen lifestyle. Stars can

express themselves in just about which ever way they please and can set themselves with a

certain image they want perceived of them by the public. MTV is a vehicle for promoting

trends and new styles. MTV helped build the booming multi-million dollar entertainment

and music industry we have today. MTV uses commercial logic. This being the idea that

everything is dedicated to the idea of selling something. The teen’s power has risen

throughout the years since certain products and music go by what they, the consumer,

wants. MTV is like a 24 hour infomercial. Sometimes it’s an advertisement paid for by a

company to sell a project. Sometimes its a music video, which in other terms is an

informercial to sell a record label. Sometimes it’s a set filled with trendy clothes to sell a

look that includes production of that set. MTV is the ultimate gatekeeper of the American

industry because so many people watch it and if an artist is on there the chances of success

increase greatly.

With MTV’s power to influence American and worldwide youth, it has been able

to bring across certain messages about serious issues such as racism and drugs through

music and television. MTV has so much power since it consists of television and music,

two very important aspects of communication. Music was given more importance and

value since now it was not just for mere entertainment but rather to bring about change in

the world. Today even religion is brought into music. Music is changing and connecting

with a whole new audience, increasing sales and changing the way people perceive music.

MTV has hosted and aired many Benefit concerts and fund-raiser to raise money for

causes such as s hunger and worldwide poverty. It in many ways brought the people of

the world closer together in its pursuit to create a better world.

MTV has given American youth a club where they can always belong. They were

given a channel of their very own where anyone could be a member and a door was

opened which allowed adolescents to interact with their ro-model on a more personal

basis. MTV keeps American youth updated with every day news and events occurring

worldwide. It keeps them aware of certain issues and problems they must face.

MTV brought blacks and whites closer together, primarily because of pop culture.

Today hip-hop, rap, ragae and R&B have been greatly accepted in the music industry and

have had great success. Blacks were given more respect and were looked up upon by the

Youth of America. Blacks have finally received their reward for the constant fight for

equality and acceptance throughout the years. Latin and Middle Eastern music have also

been greatly accepted. Women are now ro-models for the youth of America and are seen

as powerful figures equal to all. Women solo acts and groups were formed. Women were

a great addition to the rise of our economy.

MTV promoted and encouraged creative music. Many different kinds of music

have emerged from dance to country due to MTV’s publicity and support of various new

artists. Without MTV many artist may not have achieved the success that they had.


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