Saturday, July 29, 2006

MTV turns 25 and some Toni Basil

This coming Tuesday MTV turns 25, and to celebrate the VH1 Classic channel will be airing the network's first 24 hours of programming, including the original videos and the segments by the original MTV VJs. (Nina Blackwood! Martha Quinn!) Funny that MTV itself couldn't be bothered to do that, when they're all too willing to air "reality" shows of birthday parties of spoiled Sweet Sixteen brats. Of course the MTV of the first few years was a completely different animal from the current "Pimp My Sweet 16 Ride at Laguana Beach" MTV of today, not only showing music videos 24/7 (as well as concerts), it gave a lot of exposure to New Wave acts (both British and American) in the US in the early 80s when the commercial radio stations were initally reluctant to play those acts. The reason why MTV was playing them was because when it started, they needed all the videos to fill out their 24/7 schedule. Since the British New Wave bands not only had more music videos than the American mainstream rock acts (though there was exceptions like Devo and Blondie), they tended to be better made as well. So even though MTV was originally intended to reflect the mainstream US corporate rock landscape, these Brit New Music acts wound up getting a lot of exposure with their videos getting shown and the "Second British Invasion" of 1982-3 was on its way. And the American acts had to play catch up for a couple of years. Imagine how duller the US music scene would have been then if the American mainstream rock acts like REO Speedwagon had made just as many videos as the Brit dance wave bands when MTV was getting off the ground.

I first remember seeing MTV in November of 1981, when my family was waitng at a cable company office in Maryland and I was curious to find out what this new channel was about. I remember them playing a video from some Southern Rock band I don't remember, as well as one from Carly Simon. We didn't get cable TV ourselves until the fall of 1982, but I did watch MTV when I was at a friend or relative's house where they did have cable and enjoyed videos from such acts like the Go-Go's "Vacation" with the group looking like they are all water-skiing in cute outfits. And I remember that when our family finally did get cable, MTV was airing the videos of Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" and Squeeze's "Black Coffee In Bed" a lot.

Anyhow I just want to leave you with a video from one of MTV's mainstays during its first couple of years, Toni Basil, who's best remembered for her #1 single "Mickey" with its accompanying cheerleading video. Here's another song from her 1981 Word Of Mouth album, which "Mickey" also was from--"You Gotta Problem," which is actually a cover of Devo's "Pity You," with a very entertaining video to match. (Love those dancing poodles!)

Toni Basil - You Gotta Problem


Blogger Rachel said...

Great poodles!

7:37 PM  

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