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

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

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by Craig Marks

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ISBN-10: 0525952306

ISBN-13: 2900525952304

Pub. Date: 10/27/2011

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

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Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in "Thriller"? Diamond Dave karate kick with Van Halen in "Jump"? Tawny Kitaen turning cartwheels on a Jaguar to Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again"? The Beastie Boys spray beer in "(You


You will receive one of the two covers. We cannot guarantee which one.

Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in "Thriller"? Diamond Dave karate kick with Van Halen in "Jump"? Tawny Kitaen turning cartwheels on a Jaguar to Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again"? The Beastie Boys spray beer in "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)"? Axl Rose step off the bus in "Welcome to the Jungle"?

Remember When All You Wanted Was Your MTV?

It was a pretty radical idea-a channel for teenagers, showing nothing but music videos. It was such a radical idea that almost no one thought it would actually succeed, much less become a force in the worlds of music, television, film, fashion, sports, and even politics. But it did work. MTV became more than anyone had ever imagined.

I Want My MTV tells the story of the first decade of MTV, the golden era when MTV's programming was all videos, all the time, and kids watched religiously to see their favorite bands, learn about new music, and have something to talk about at parties. From its start in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British new wave acts to the launch of the reality-television craze with The Real World in 1992, MTV grew into a tastemaker, a career maker, and a mammoth business.

Featuring interviews with nearly four hundred artists, directors, VJs, and television and music executives, I Want My MTV is a testament to the channel that changed popular culture forever.

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Table of Contents

Cast of Characters xiii

Introduction: "Ridicule is Nothing to be Scared of" xxxvii

Part 1 Pictures Came and Broke your Heart: "Video Killed the Radio Star" to "Thriller" 1981-1983

1 "It's the Greatest Thing in the World": First Glimpses of MTV 1

2 "I Didn't Know How to Plug in a Light": Music Videos (Only they Weren't Called that) in the 1970s 6

3 "We Were Just Idiots in Hotel Rooms": John Lack, Bob Pittman, and the Creation of MTV 14

4 "What's a VJ?": How MTV Hired its Hosts (Including a Case of Mistaken Identity) 31

5 "A Total, Unmitigated Disaster": MTV Launches with the Buggles, Blotto, and Thirty Rod Stewart Videos 40

6 "Girls Sliding on Poles": The First Dirty Music Video 45

7 "A Hail Mary Pass": How $1 Saved MTV from Bankruptcy 48

8 "Midgets, Models, and Trannies": The First Visionaries and Victims of the Music-Video Era 59

9 "Pouting and Shoulder Pads": Effeminate British Bands Spread Weird Haircuts Across the U.S. 85

10 "Shut that Door!": Office Sex and Power Struggles at MTV 103

11 "They Figured out a Whole New Persona": How Three Gnarly old Dudes Became Unlikely Video Stars 115

12 "Girls Belong in Cages": Metal Takes over the Airwaves 120

13 "That Racism Bullshit": MTV's Aor Format comes Under Fire 136

14 "I'm not Like Other Boys": Michael Jackson Saves a Struggling Network from Itself 143

Part 2 I Play my Part and you Play your Game: "Burning up" to "Here I go Again" 1983-1987

15 "The Two M's": Madonna Touches MTV for the Very First Time 159

16 "You Got Char-as-ma": Prince, Bruce, Billy Idol, and the Gods of 1984 167

17 "He's Got a Metal Plate in his Head": MTV and Van Halen Team up to Nearly Kill a Super-Fan 190

18 "Wannabe Cecil B. DeMilles": Everything-Budgets, Ideas, Hair-Gets Bigger 194

19 "Why Don't I Just Take $50,000 and Light it on Fire?": The Backlash Against MTV 206

20 "Don't be a Wanker all your Life": "Do they know it's Christmas?," "We are the world," and Live Aid 211

21 "A Whopping, Steaming Turd": The Worst Video Ever Made 216

22 "A Wedding Dress with Nothing Underneath it": Madonna Takes-and Pops out of-the Cake at the First Video Music Awards 222

23 "No Cable Network is Worth $500 Million": MTV Gets New Owners: the Founding Team Trashes a Hotel, then Heads for the Exit 227

24 "Gacked to the Tits": Twenty-Four Stories About Drugs 237

25 "They Diss the Beatles": Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys Smuggle Rap onto MTV 241

26 "His Name is David Fincher. He's a Genius": Rick Springfield, Christopher Cross, and the Humble Beginnings of a Hollywood Star 252

27 "There I Am, with My Rack": The Rise of the Superdivas, Male and Female 266

28 "The Legion of Decency": Censoring Videos, for Fun and Profit 278

29 "Hickory Dickory Dock, this Bitch was...": Backstage at the Video Music Awards 284

30 "I'd Like to Thank my Cheekbones": Jon Bon Jovi and Tawny Kitaen Take Hair Metal to the Top 295

Part 3 Where do we go Now: "With or without you" to "U can't Touch this" 1987-1990

31 "The Islands of Misfit Toys": 120 Minutes and the Rising up/Selling out of Alternative Rock 317

32 "Martha was Heartbroken": MTV Finds a New, Mouthier Squad of VJs 330

33 "A True Television Network": The New Boss Orders up a Riotous Show that Forever Changes the Network 345

34 "That's What Hype can do to you": Club MTV Launches the "Upskirt Shot" and a Pop Scandal 358

35 "The First Time I Smelled Freebase": MTV Parties Down at Spring Break 365

36 "I Brought Snowballs to the Desert": Sucking up to MTV's Laddish New Power Broker 372

37 "People in the Hood Rushed to Get Cable": How Ted Demme Did, Didn't, Maybe Did, and Absolutely did Create Yo! MTV Raps 379

38 "We've Always Loved Guns N' Roses": Chicks and a Snake, Headbangers Ball, and the Return of Hard Rock 396

39 "Those Harem Pants Came out of Nowhere": Rap Busts a Move into the MTV Mainstream 410

40 "Ego-Fucking-Maniacs": Michael Bay, Cher, and all 9:08 of "November Rain" 422

41 "I Want to have a Nickname": How MTV Helped Michael Jackson Elect Himself "The King of Pop" 435

Part 4 Nothing Lasts Forever, and we Both Know Hearts can Change: "Justify my Love" to "Jeremy" 1990-1992

42 "Rhythm Nation": Superstars and One-Hit Wonders Stage a Dance-Off in your Living Room 440

43 "Your Manager's an Asshole": Fistfights and Pyro Farts: War Breaks out at the Moscow Peace Festival 453

44 "Kermit Unplugged": An Acoustic Music Show Morphs into a Worldwide Megabrand 457

45 "Silly, Superficial, and Wonderful": Cindy Crawford and Jon Steward Bring Beauty and a Laughs to MTV 463

46 "Tired of Cheap Sex Songs": R.E.M., U2, and Van Halen (!) Elevate the Art Form in the Nineties 468

47 "A Monkey Could do it": Pauly Shore and the Third Generation of VJs 474

48 "A Pep Rally Gone Wrong": "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Grunge, and the Hair Metal Apocalypse 481

49 "You'r no Better than a Rabbit!": Fearless Twentysomethings Shape a Presidential Election 498

50 "Getting out of the Music Business": This is the True Story... of What Happened When the Real World... Took over MTV...and Made Music Videos...Obsolete 505

51 "Let's Get Crazy Tonight": Tears, Tequila, and Broken Glass: MTV VIPs Celebrate the First Decade 510

52 "Fat City": The Bubble Bursts on Music Videos' Golden Era 512

53 "You have no Idea How I Miss it": Fans, Stars, Staff, and Detractors Reflect on the Video Age 518

Acknowledgments 527

Index 529

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I Want My MTV 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Alexi More than 1 year ago
Very interesting read though some of the stories are a little dry. It would have been nice to see more pictures. With each chapter, I find myself with a list of videos, songs, or interviews to revisit and spot those little details they mention. Overall, a very enjoyable read!
bookmajor More than 1 year ago
No doubt this was an informative and sometimes fun, gossipy read; but there were 8 pages of pictures for about 600 pages of words! I really would have liked to see more pictures of the artists, VJs, etc... Sometimes the stories got a little dull and I just skipped ahead to some of the good stuff.