Saturday, February 16, 2008

MTV versus VH1

A few weeks ago I posted

"Don't Just Survive Get Even!" This was a fun post and I enjoyed writing it. I wasn't really sure what the reaction to it would be but I was pleasantly surprised and enlightened by some of the comments that followed. In particular comments from two of my blog buddies: Tamera and Bellydancegirl - (Incidentally, they have great blogs! please take a minute to visit their sites. You won't be disappointed). Their comments were so real and true that I was inspired to write this post.

Here We Go........

So Let's go back a few years. The year was 1981. MTV kicked off in August with a new format and style that revolutionized the music and television industry. For you trivia buffs, the first song played by MTV was what?

If you guessed - Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. You're Right!

(see the rest of the first videos aired on MTV by clicking here)

This combination of music and video spread like wild fire and before we knew it new words and phrases like "I Want my MTV" and Vidiot - (someone who sits on the couch all day and watches music videos) became household terms. Dire Straits fanned the fire with their hit song "Money For Nothing" in which they borrowed the slogan "I Want my MTV" for the chorus of the song. An entire generation of people fell captive to a rage that influenced nearly every aspect of ordinary life.

In another dimension of the music/television arena and hoping to duplicate the appeal of MTV and capture some of the success was VH1 which jumped on the scenes in January of 1985. By this time the demographic of MTV had shifted a bit to cater to a younger teenaged crowd. VH1, on the other hand, hit the airways with a goal of reaching an older more eclectic group. Generally speaking, they hoped to reach the 18 -35 year olds. Their format included more adult contemporary music and served up more of the R & B and Motown sound. A seemingly perfect compliment to MTV. For the most part, VH1 offered a lighter, easier listening fare compared to MTV. Artist like Tina Turner, Elton John, Sting, Donna Summer, Kenny G, and Anita Baker, were quite common on the VH1 tracks.

And that's where I came in. Somewhere during this transformation around 1984 - 1987 I got my first cable TV hook-up. At this time, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and all the other premium cable networks were jockeying for position in the marketplace and VHS was doing battle with Betamax. A lot was going on. It was somewhat of a video/television revolution. And while all this was going on in the foreground, I was torn between MTV and VH1. They each had their appeal to me. I was pumped up by the high energy modern hits played on MTV and at the same time, I was seduced and enchanted by the mellow nouveaux sound of VH1. My preference was often dictated by my mood. And frequently I'd have the TV tuned in to one of the stations while I was doing mindless bachelor stuff around the house like cleaning, folding clothes, or cooking dinner. When I was cleaning, it was better to have the up beat music of MTV on. And when I was cooking, I preferred the more romantic soothing tunes of VH1.

It was also during this time that I was exposed to two new and exciting artists. One day while watching MTV I saw the Cindy Lauper Girls Just Want to Have Fun track. Alternatively, while watching VH1, I saw the Sade - Smooth Operator video. I liked both of these songs so much that I went out and bought both of the albums. I soon became a big fan of almost every song on each of the records. These songs were further enhanced when I was able to watch the videos. I guess it's just that visual thing that everyone keeps talking about!

Needless to say, my love affair with VH1 and MTV eventually faded. As they changed their formats to accommodate the changing times, I lost interest. I hung around a bit and caught some of the reality shows along the way like "The Real World" on MTV and "Behind the Music" on VH1 but my commitment had diminished. Occasionally, I'll turn on VH1 classics just to be nostalgic but those days are few and far between. I still, however, embrace the spirit of those early years of VH1 versus MTV. In a similar way, I also embrace the energy and spirit that can be seen in the blogs of Tamera and Bellydancegirl as well as their entire blog presence.

So with that being said, I'd like to play Video Deejay (DJ) for a few minutes - (This is my Blog right?) And spin a few records - I mean YouTube videos for my blog buddies.

My first dedication is to Bellydancegirl. It's from the Cindy Lauper Album - She's So Unusual. I liked all of the songs from this album especially "Time after Time" But I was looking for something off the wall and unique to compliment her creativity and dancing spirit. Furthermore, BDG's dancing is so good - "But we won't worry and we won't fret 'Cause there ain't no law against it yet" - Listen to the lyrics.

So here it is: "Cindy Lauper - She Bop"

And my second dedication goes to Tamera - Not much to be said here. It's clear that Tamera has an ear for the blues and is probably an admitted Sade fan. I bet she listens to the "Love Deluxe" CD when no one else is home. (smile) Anyway, I'm dedicating "Your Love Is King" by Sade to Tamera.

Thanks to everyone for indulging me! I hope you enjoyed my rants!


Tamera said...

Oh, what a lovely surprise to wake up to! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! *grin*. I'm going to have to listen to this song several times, I see. Is she just gorgeous, or what? And, how did you know that I love a good sax solo? Those were the days. That world accelerated at a speed, and to a vastness...well, just incredible. Thank you again!

intrepidideas said...


Thank You! I'm glad you liked it. Sade is hard not to like. I think as she's matured she's gotten even better. I really like her live performances. Someday I'll tell you about the time I saw her live in Switzerland and managed to get a back stage pass.... The Sax really compliments her style and voice.

Tamera said...

You got to catch her live? How exciting. I will certainly remind you to tell me about it!

BellyDance Girl said...

I am so flattered! Thank you. How did you know I LOVED Lauper and Sade back then - and now! I was in jr. high and obsessed with Duran Duran - mtv was a godsend to me. It definitely is not what it used to be. I love your blog and your thoughts.

intrepidideas said...

Hey Belly,

What do you mean? I'm flattered to have you as a "Blog Buddy" (Laugh) .... Those were interesting times in music. Many new and exciting groups hit the airways in all areas. I was/am also a big fan of Duran Duran too. Thanks for the comment.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

You touched on something that is really true ... the video channels have lost there flair. MTV and VH1 where great at the inception. If anything, I will go to a pick your own video channel now. I used to like videos much more in the past ... ahhh , must be gettin` old :)

Great post!

intrepidideas said...

I'm with you Speedcat. I liked the videos better back then. I guess it's the sign of the times. Or maybe like you said - "We're getting Old." Thanks for stopping by.

josey said...

i never really got into mtv and vh1 because we didnt have cable growin up. but my friends were addicted--and anytime we watched tv at their house i was GLUED to the videos! haha!

what's sad is now you have to watch mtv or vh1 at like 4am to see any sort of music video. the shows they have are mostly HORRIBLE and pathetically unamusing. i suppose they are catering to the current young generations...which makes me wonder if the true love of music and its artistic expression thru video has faded with these generations. or...has music itself lost a lot of quality?

it makes me sad either way...something to ponder for sure.

great post!!!

intrepidideas said...

Josey... Where ya Been? So what are you doing up at 4 a.m. anyway? Yeah, you're right. Those good old days of basic music MTV/VH1 are over. They will be missed for sure. Thanks for the comment!

Jane Turley said...

Oh come on Mr I ...Duran Duran! I can forgive Bono and even Sting (after a few drinks) but Duran Duran?? Spandau Ballet were far, far superior and Tony Hadlee can actually sing whereas Simon Le Bon has a voice of a sore chesse grater.

I remember The Buggles well and Sade and Cyndi.
But my favourite of that period..come on guess....try harder.....

Ultravox....Who can deny that Vienna is an all time classic which will long survive Rio or Planet Earth. I saw Ultravox at their height and I've seen Midge Ure twice in recent year; yep you wouldn't have thought you could do Vienna acoustically but you can and it was superb. Check out "Breathe" by Midge on You Tube; I think you're actually an old soppy fellow so you'll probably like it!

I've seen Tony Hadlee three times too...he's getting worried now.. my knickers are so big they're easily identifable on the stage..there maybe a warrant out for my arrest soon.....