Best Video Aired On MTV's First Day - The Poll

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August 1, 1981

Poll Results

OptionVotes
59. "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads 25
47. "Rapture" by Blondie 8
56. "Ashes to Ashes" by David Bowie 7
44. "Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac 5
55. "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" by Kate Bush 4
21. "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins 2
1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles 2
33. "Wrathchild" by Iron Maiden 2
7. "Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders 2
9. "Take It on the Run" by REO Speedwagon 1
36. "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello 1
49. "Ain't Love a Bitch" by Rod Stewart 1
34. "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" by Blotto 1
27. "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty 1
6. "We Don't Talk Anymore" by Cliff Richard 1
26. "One Step Ahead" by Split Enz 1
16. "Iron Maiden" by Iron Maiden 1
42. "Dreaming" by Cliff Richard 1
62. "Cruel to Be Kind" by Nick Lowe1
58. "Rat Race" by The Specials 1
10. "Rockin' the Paradise" by Styx 1
45. "He Can't Love You" by Michael Stanley Band 0
41. "Hold On to the Night" by Bootcamp 0
40. "Little Sister" by Rockpile with Robert Plant 0
43. "Is it You?" by Lee Ritenour 0
46. "Tough Guys" by REO Speedwagon 0
48. "Don't Let Go the Coat" by The Who 0
61. "Tonight's the Night" by Rod Stewart 0
60. "Victim" by Bootcamp 0
57. "Just Between You and Me" by April Wine 0
8. "Time Heals" by Todd Rundgren 0
54. "Sign of the Gypsy Queen" by April Wine 0
53. "Bring It All Home" by Gerry Rafferty 0
52. "Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold 0
51. "Can't Happen Here" by Rainbow 0
50. "Talk of the Town" by The Pretenders 0
39. "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton 0
38. "Remote Control/Illegal" by The Silencers 0
37. "Don't Let Him Go" by REO Speedwagon 0
18. "Message of Love" by The Pretenders 0
17. "Keep On Loving You" by REO Speedwagon 0
15. "Sailing" by Rod Stewart 0
14. "Just Between You and Me" by April Wine 0
13. "Hold On Loosely" by 38 Special 0
12. "History Never Repeats" by Split Enz 0
11. "When Things Go Wrong" by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters 0
5. "Little Susie's on the Up" by Ph.D. 0
4. "You Better You Bet" by The Who 0
3. "She Won't Dance" by Rod Stewart 0
19. "Mr. Briefcase" by Lee Ritenour 0
20. "Double Life" by The Cars 0
35. "Passion" by Rod Stewart 0
32. "Vengeance" by Carly Simon 0
31. "The Best of Times" by Styx 0
30. "Lucille" by Rockestra 0
29. "Savannah Nights" by Tom Johnston 0
28. "I'm Gonna Follow You" by Pat Benatar 0
25. "Surface Tension" by Rupert Hine 0
24. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty 0
23. "Too Late" by Shoes 0
22. "Looking For Clues" by Robert Palmer 0
2. "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar 0


scott seward, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 04:04 (ten years ago) Permalink

my family took a road trip in august of 81 to visit friends who had moved to ohio. they were housesitting for their neighbors next door. their neighbors had cable. and the newly minted mtv. my brother and i didn't see much of ohio that trip. i'm sure it is lovely though.

scott seward, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 04:06 (ten years ago) Permalink

Blotto, of course.

"I Want To Be Lifeguard" deserves it's own thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KhXbtUldqg

Man, indie rock is fucking BORING now. Why doesn't my generation get a Blotto? Why does Scotto get Blotto and we get Band Of Horses?

Whiney G. Weingarten, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 04:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

Spoke too soon! Blotto's still around!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeCrv6McT9Q

Whiney G. Weingarten, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 04:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

Best video: "Once in a Lifetime"
Best song: hell also probably "Once in a Lifetime"

do love that Blotto song, though. And "We Don't Talk Anymore" is so underrated.

Where the hell is Rainbow's "All Night Long" on this list, though? I swear I saw that video a half-dozen times when VH1 Classic did that re-airing of MTV's first 24 hours thing. Also that Rockestra! video with Paul McCartney, Pete Townsend and just about everyone else from rock history.

The Good Dr. Bill, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 05:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

This list makes me miss MTV -- and my youth -- a lot.

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 10 October 2007 07:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Ashes to Ashes" is my fave video ever, so that. Runners up: "Rapture" and "Once in a Lifetime."

JN$OT, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 08:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah "Ashes" or "Rapture" or "Once In A Lifetime" probably the latter for me.

1981 was the first summer I lived in New York and a lot of the city wasn't wired for cable yet so we couldn't actually get MTV but my parents out in Ohio were on the "Qube" and they had it. Couple years later my mom -- a devotee of PBS Masterpiece Theatre etc etc and lifelong non-fan of rocknroll -- confessed that she "secretly" watched MTV during the day and thought that Boy George and Thompson Twins were "cute."

fascinating playlist, among other things confirming my memory that early 80s AOR was pretty much the pits of pop history. reo speedwagon were a menace to society.

m coleman, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 09:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's weird, Madison, WI had MTV immediately, and I guess it took a couple more years to get to Minneapolis and other bigger cities.

"Once in a Lifetime" = one of my favorite videos ever.

Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 09:59 (ten years ago) Permalink

A fight between "Video Killed The Radio Star", "Ashes To Ashes" and "Once In a Lifetime". I cannot see any other video being able to get a lot of votes here, at least not if the video itself counts more than the music.

Voted for Talking Heads.

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 13:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

I realise "Rapture" has a following too, but, hey, the video is nothing special, is it?
Personally I don't like the song either, but I know most hip-hop fans will do.

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 13:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

My brain says "Once In A Lifetime" but my heart says "Brass In Pocket" for that part where all the guys in the band point at the SPECIAL.

da croupier, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 13:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

xpost they will?

vadx, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:07 (ten years ago) Permalink

Not the best, but when was the last time you heard Robert Palmer's awesome "Looking For Clues"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S9Or_bEGQI

Whiney G. Weingarten, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

Once In A Lifetime is the obvious ringer here, but that's not stopping me from voting for Take It On The Run.

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

Rupert Hine had a solo hit?

Love how early MTV was hung up on obscure Rod ("Ain't Love a Bitch"!)

Voted for "Ashes to Ashes."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

"ooooooooooooooooooooooo he's here again...!"

Mark G, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

I have never heard of:

"Little Susie's on the Up" by Ph.D.
"Savannah Nights" by Tom Johnston
"Lucille" by Rockestra
"Remote Control/Illegal" by The Silencers
"Hold On to the Night" by Bootcamp
"Victim" by Bootcamp

Not that I could hum those Lee Ritenour or Michael Stanley Band songs. But I've at least come across their names. Apparently I should know that Rockestra thang. What about the others?

There are some fascinating if not downright goofball juxtapositions here despite MTV's racist ass programming. Yeesh - I wonder how the ride from Carly Simon to Iron Maiden went. And I never saw any Robin Lane or Shoes videos on MTV despite being a pretty early and freakishly religious viewer. And Kate Bush too not that I think of it.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:50 (ten years ago) Permalink

Or perhaps BECAUSE of MTV's racist ass programming...

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:51 (ten years ago) Permalink

Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold

what will become "The Golden Girls" theme?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 14:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

Why doesn't my generation get a Blotto?

Your generation does get a Blotto...they're called The Spinto Band
http://youtube.com/watch?v=4qzVyaCq_LE

asthmatic american, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 15:13 (ten years ago) Permalink

Love how early MTV was hung up on obscure Rod played the 60 music videos that existed.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 15:21 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Iron Maiden" by Iron Maiden. DUH!

Alex in NYC, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 15:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

Rod Stewart benefited greatly by making over 20 videos before the advent of MTV

da croupier, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 15:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

Haven't seen 65% of these, haven't heard of 15% of these, probably would find nothing of interest in seeing Robin Lane and Shoes and Nick Lowe even tho the songs are fine, and everybody knows "Once In A Lifetime" is gonna win anyway. But what the best ones here (like Bowie and Talking Heads) demonstrate is how much cooler videos were when they were actually shot on video.

Also: Didn't MTV get around to "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the first day?

Myonga Vön Bontee, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 16:12 (ten years ago) Permalink

white people lolz

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 16:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

It took three years for MTV to play videos by black people, remember.

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 21:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

("Rat Race" was apparently white enough though)

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 21:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

one step ahead...of all the early MTV vids, that was the one that haunted me during my childhood.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 22:21 (ten years ago) Permalink

Alfred, I think "Ain't Love a Bitch" was a Top 20 or 30 hit.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 23:44 (ten years ago) Permalink

vote for tusk. sexy stevie doin twirls, usc marching band and beardo lynds coked out at dodger stadium.

chaki, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 23:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think "Ain't Love a Bitch" was a Top 20 or 30 hit.

it peaked #22 -- second-tier, no?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 10 October 2007 23:56 (ten years ago) Permalink

tusk 2nd-ed.

Steve Shasta, Thursday, 11 October 2007 00:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

baker street, honorable mention to we don't talk anymore

Billy Pilgrim, Thursday, 11 October 2007 00:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Tuesday, 23 October 2007 23:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

Did any videos by black people exist back then? I'm sure MTV would've played them if there were.

Mr. Snrub, Tuesday, 23 October 2007 23:16 (nine years ago) Permalink

I am a bit surprised they didn't play "Accidents Will Happen", "Fade To Grey" or "Vienna" on that first day. I mean, considering how few videos existed at all in mid 1981, one would at least have expected them to play all the best ones.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 23 October 2007 23:27 (nine years ago) Permalink

Kate's like almost nakies in "Man with the Child in His Eyes"!

Abbott, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 01:58 (nine years ago) Permalink

Had to go for Video Killed the Radio Star even though I hated the song at the time (I was an idiot). 'Once In A Lifetime' is so overplayed I couldn't bring myself to vote for it.

moley, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 02:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

Did any videos by black people exist back then? I'm sure MTV would've played them if there were.

Of course. "Super Freak" is one notable omission. I'm sure there are hundreds more.

Also, it depends on how you're defining "video." Black artists were featured in Scopitones and well before that in short film subjects.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 02:35 (nine years ago) Permalink

Assuming your post wasn't a joke, that is.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 02:45 (nine years ago) Permalink

It wasn't.

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 03:57 (nine years ago) Permalink

^^let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments

m coleman, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 10:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

Wrathchild

Bill Magill, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 20:45 (nine years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 23:01 (nine years ago) Permalink


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