Sunday, September 21, 2008

From Michael Nesmith to Musicless Television

I've written about this on FriendFeed before.

Back around 1980, a classified ad ran in Rolling Stone which asked, do you know what Michael Nesmith's been up to? So you called an 800 number (no 888 back then). Turns out he was doing sumfin called video, which was going to become huge (yeah right). Then you heard an audio snippet of the song....

The video version of the industry-changing event can be found here.

However, this was not the first video that I had ever seen. A couple of years before that, I was at my friend's house watching HBO when I saw a clip of Raydio (Ray Parker's band) singing "You Can't Change That." Or, more accurately, lip-syncing to "You Can't Change That." I thought it was the funniest thing that I had ever seen, and I knew that videos would never take off.

I was wrong.

By the time I found myself semi-employed in Portland, Oregon in 1983, I found myself watching MTV a lot. This was during the period when Martha Quinn and the like ruled the roost, Sting and others would yell "I want my MTV!", and the station would videos.

I know it sounds bizarre 25 years later, but there was a time when MTV actually played music. In fact, through much of the 1980s MTV continued to play videos. They branched out a bit regarding the videos they would play, and you'd be more likely to see a metal or hip-hop video, but they still played videos.

Now PopEater provides word that Total Request Live, one of the few shows (if not the only show) that still played videos on MTV, will "have a little bit of a rest."

Yup, videos just got in the way. Presumably MTV needed a time slot where it could show Jamie Lynn Spears changing a diaper.
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