MTV Book Recounts the First 10 Years

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

Do you remember the first decade of MTV? If so, you are probably nostalgic for it. If not, you might be interested in learning what it was all about. I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution chronicles it all, from the first video to the reasons for switching away from airing music videos.

Before MTV, believe it or not, teenagers were barely on the radar of marketers and advertisers back in 1981. Nobody thought that a music video channel, with an audience based mostly of teens, would succeed. Who would want to advertise on it? Since MTV, teens have become the most coveted demographic for movies, music, and most pop culture and technology products.

In the book, I Want My MTV, you will read about:

  • The hiring of the first VJs (video jockeys)
  • How Michael Jackson and Thriller launched MTV and music videos into the stratosphere
  • Madonna, Springsteen, Prince – some of the other top MTV stars during the early/mid 80s.
  • Charity music videos become the big thing – We Are the World, Do They Know its Christmas and Live Aid
  • The first Music Video Awards
  • Rap invades MTV
  • Superdivas
  • The rise of alternative rock
  • MTV at Spring Break
  • How MTV Unplugged came about
  • R.E.M., U2, Van Halen and Nirvana – MTV stars of the early 90s
  • MTV moves away from music videos
  • and much, much more
Janet Jackson lovingly recalls, “It was about waiting for your favorite video, and not really knowing what hour it would hit, so you had to watch all day long.” This was before the World Wide Web, so there was no other place to watch music videos other than MTV and VH1, which played more pop and lighter rock.
The beginning of the end of music videos on MTV was the launch of The Real World. A reality show like this was something completely brand new. Everyone was playing music videos at this point and MTV wanted to be unique.

This is a great book to help parents and older teens (there is a great deal of talk about sex and drugs) discuss music, videos and pop culture. Parents can share what it was really like when MTV began and teens will find it quaint yet fascinating. Check out I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks, new revised paperback edition to be released 9/25/2012.

See also: 3 New Pop Culture Books

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  1. I remember! Sounds like a book I would like.

  2. I swear I watched this everyday. I remember it all.

  3. I had just gotten married and hubby was (and still is) devoted to only country music = so this was my “sneaky pleasure” get away time. I will have to check this one out.

  4. I try to explain the real MTV to my kids all the time. I tell them about how we made plans to watch the first video when it was launched, and how they used to play music! This would be a fun read. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Denise Danches Fisher :

    MTV…the beginning of a new era! Do you remember Martha? She wasn’t all that glamorous but just edgy enough to introduce this new medium! I remember the grainy Madonna black and white video’s, and having the television on in the background while I nursed the children…those days seem so long ago.

  6. I bought this book in hardcover, full price, and dove in like it was a vat of chocolate. I actually made a dent in my couch cushion from reading it nonstop. HIGHLY recommend it – and make sure you are near a computer so you can pull up the videos they’re describing because you have to re-see them to believe them. Billy Squier’s Rock Me Tonite in particular…

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