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MTV: When It Began

When MTV first arrived on the airwaves on August 1, 1981, the network certainly didn't invent the music video, but it definitely went on popularize and legitimize the video as an additional method of artistic expression for musicians and - perhaps more importantly - an incredibly successful way to sell a song to the masses. That process, however, wasn't an instantaneous one, which meant that when it came time to program the day's video playlist, the pickings were a little slim.

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  1. 1. Limited Options

    What artist made 16 appearances - with 11 different videos aired, five of them played twice - during the course of MTV's first 24 hours?

    What artist made 16 appearances - with 11 different videos aired, five of them played twice - during the course of MTV's first 24 hours?

    Todd Rundgren
    Via webdj.co
    Todd Rundgren
    Via webdj.co
    Rod Stewart
    Via wordpress.com
    Rod Stewart
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Rod Stewart

    Whether he was a rock 'n' roll Nostradamus or just had a team behind him who was prescient of pop music trends, when MTV went on the air, Rod Stewart was cocked and ready with videos for "She Won't Dance With Me” (played twice, the first time as MTV's third-ever video), "Sailing" (played twice), "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (played twice), "Passion" (played twice), "Ain't Love a Bitch,” "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” “Oh, God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight” (played twice), "I Was Only Joking," "You're in My Heart,” "Blondes Have More Fun,” and “You're Insane." And it's good that he was, because they played every last one of 'em.

    Rod Stewart
    Via georgerose.com
  2. 2. Old and All Alone

    Who was the oldest solo artist to have a video in rotation during MTV's first day?
    Via wordpress.com

    Who was the oldest solo artist to have a video in rotation during MTV's first day?

    Gerry Rafferty
    Via rankopedia.com
    Gerry Rafferty
    Cliff Richard
    Via i.ytimg.com
    Cliff Richard
    Lee Ritenour
    Via eil.com
    Lee Ritenour
    Via eil.com
    Todd Rundgren
    Todd Rundgren
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cliff Richard

    The man often described as "the Peter Pan of Pop" - well, until he was knighted, anyway: now they call call him Sir Cliff - actually turned up three times during the course of Day 1, offering videos for "We Don't Talk Anymore," "Dreamin'," and "A Little in Love." Not bad for the only solo artist that day who was - gasp! - 40.

    Cliff Richard
    Via cdn.images.express.co.uk
  3. 3. TV Tune

    What future TV theme was part of the playlist for MTV's first day?
    Via bs.cyty.com

    What future TV theme was part of the playlist for MTV's first day?

    Ian Hunter's
    Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks"

    Later appropriated for "The Drew Carey Show."

    Big Star's
    Via phawker.com
    Big Star's "In the Street"

    As covered by Todd Griffin and, more famously, by Cheap Trick for "That '70s Show."

    Andrew Gold's
    Via celebritydiagnosis.com
    Andrew Gold's "Thank You for Being a Friend"

    As utilized on "The Golden Girls" and, to a far lesser extent, "The Golden Palace."

    Joe Cocker's
    Via 3i26kd3p1usa3cefqi1ay96t13o6.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com
    Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help from My Friends"

    Later known to an entire generation as the theme for "The Wonder Years."

    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Andrew Gold's "Thank You for Being a Friend"

    You might be surprised to learn that Andrew Gold actually had FOUR videos on MTV during that first 24 hours - the others were "Go Back Home Again," "Never Let Her Slip Away," and "Lonely Boy" - but "Thank You for Being a Friend" was the first of the four out of the gate, and - as fans of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia can testify - it's the one that's had the longest shelf life for TV fans.

    Andrew Gold's "Thank You for Being a Friend"
    Via torontoist.com
  4. 4. One and Done

    Everyone knows that The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" kicked off MTV, and you probably also know that it was their only Top 40 hit in the US, but which of these other noted one-hit wonders was also played on Day One?
    Via marketingmag.ca

    Everyone knows that The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" kicked off MTV, and you probably also know that it was their only Top 40 hit in the US, but which of these other noted one-hit wonders was also played on Day One?

    Devo,
    Devo, "Whip It"
    Joey Scarbury,
    Joey Scarbury, "Theme from 'The Greatest American Hero' (Believe It or Not)"
    Johnny Lee,
    Johnny Lee, "Lookin' for Love"
    The Vapors,
    The Vapors, "Turning Japanese"
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The Vapors

    Indeed, not only did The Vapors' "Turning Japanese" get a play, so did the video for one of their other singles, "Waiting for the Weekend."

    The Vapors
    Via blogger.com
  5. 5. The Day the Global Jukebox Came Alive

    The following songs were all performed during Live Aid, but of the four, which video did not air during MTV's first 24 hours?
    Via i.dailymail.co.uk

    The following songs were all performed during Live Aid, but of the four, which video did not air during MTV's first 24 hours?

    Ultravox,
    Ultravox, "Vienna"
    Phil Collins,
    Phil Collins, "In the Air Tonight"
    David Bowie,
    David Bowie, "Heroes"
    The Pretenders,
    Via roxcalibur.com
    The Pretenders, "Message of Love"
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    David Bowie, "Heroes"

    The illustrious Mr. Bowie did have two videos that aired during those first 24 hours, but they were for "Boys Keep Swinging" and "Fashion," not "Heroes."

    David Bowie, "Heroes"
    Via blogger.com
  6. 6. Big Production

    These four artists have spent time both as performers and producers. Three of them were represented in both capacities during MTV's first 24 hours. Which one wasn't?
    Via live-production.tv

    These four artists have spent time both as performers and producers. Three of them were represented in both capacities during MTV's first 24 hours. Which one wasn't?

    Todd Rundgren
    Todd Rundgren
    Rupert Hine
    Via images1.mtv.com
    Rupert Hine
    Elvis Costello
    Via images.45cat.com
    Elvis Costello
    Nick Lowe
    Via si.wsj.net
    Nick Lowe
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Rupert Hine

    Rundgren's "Time Heals" was played, as was The Tubes' "Prime Time." Nick Lowe's "Cruel to be Kind" was played, as were a couple of tracks that he produced for Elvis Costello, who in turn produced The Specials' "A Message to You, Rudy." Oddly enough, while there were no Rupert Hine productions played on Day One, Hine himself was represented, courtesy of his single "Surface Tension."

    Rupert Hine
  7. 7. It Takes Two, Baby

    What was the first duet ever played on MTV?
    Via blogger.com

    What was the first duet ever played on MTV?

    Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway,
    Via johnnycopland.com
    Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, "The Closer I Get to You"
    Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers,
    Via lisatannerphotography.com
    Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
    Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard,
    Via wordpress.com
    Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard, "Suddenly"
    Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel,
    Via resources3.news.com.au
    Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel, "Another Day"
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    All told, the famed collaboration between Nicks and Petty aired four times during that first day of MTV.

    Via i307.photobucket.com
  8. 8. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

    Which future winner of the MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year had a video played on the network's first day of programming?
    Via tryenerc.com

    Which future winner of the MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year had a video played on the network's first day of programming?

    The Police
    Via flickr.com
    The Police
    Robert Palmer
    Via flickr.com
    Robert Palmer
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The Cars

    Of the above artists, Robert Palmer was also played on Day One ("Looking for Clues" and "Johnny & Mary"), but while he did win a Video Music Award in 1986 for "Addicted to Love," that was for Best Male Video. It was the Cars, however, who took home the Video of the Year Award in '84 for "You Might Think." (For the record, their first-day videos were "Double Life," "Dangerous Type," and "Let's Go.")

    The Cars
    Via bellazon.com
  9. 9. Why Does That Sound Familiar?

    What was the first song played during MTV's first 24 hours to have already been a top-40 hit for another artist?
    Via timoelliott.com

    What was the first song played during MTV's first 24 hours to have already been a top-40 hit for another artist?

    Pat Benatar,
    Via ring.cdandlp.com
    Pat Benatar, "You Better Run" (for The Rascals)
    Juice Newton,
    Via flickr.com
    Juice Newton, "Angel of the Morning" (for Merrilee Rush)
    The Silencers,
    Via i.ytimg.com
    The Silencers, "Peter Gunn Theme" (for Duane Eddy)
    The Buggles,
    Via images.45cat.com
    The Buggles, "Video Killed the Radio Star" (for Bruce Wooley & The Camera Club)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Pat Benatar, "You Better Run" (for The Rascals)

    The Rascals' follow-up to "Good Lovin'" went to #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its release in May 1966. (Sadly, Benatar's version stalled at #42.)

    Pat Benatar, "You Better Run" (for The Rascals)
    Via tumblr.com
  10. 10. To Wrap Things Up...

    What was the last video played on MTV before the clock ticked over to Day Two?
    Via kickstarter.com

    What was the last video played on MTV before the clock ticked over to Day Two?

    Andrew Gold,
    Via andrewgold.com
    Andrew Gold, "Lonely Boy"
    Rod Stewart,
    Via kboing.com.br
    Rod Stewart, "You're Insane"
    Ramones,
    Via i.ytimg.com
    Ramones, "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?"
    Gerry Rafferty,
    Via images.45cat.com
    Gerry Rafferty, "Bring It All Home"
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Andrew Gold, "Lonely Boy"

    And before you ask, no, we don't know what the first video played on MTV's *second* day of programming was. (For some reason, that's not nearly as well documented.)

    Andrew Gold, "Lonely Boy"
    Via performingsongwriter.com

MTV: When It Began

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