As the revolutionary network celebrates its birthday on Aug. 1, we look back at some memorable moments from its history
In 1981, a little astronaut thwunked his flag onto the moon and the MTV era began. In the next quarter century, the trailblazing cable network wouldn't just influence top 20 lists, it would do everything from dictate fashion trends to sway political elections. How ahead of its time was MTV? ''The day it launched, New York City didn't even have cable yet,'' remembers original VJ Nina Blackwood. ''They hired buses and took everybody over to some club in New Jersey to watch the launch.''
As any trivia junkie knows, the first clip played was ''Video Killed the Radio Star'' a prediction as gutsy as Babe Ruth calling his World Series home-run shot. Musicians began packaging themselves for consumption by a ravenous teen audience and soon, such impresarios as Sting and Mick Jagger were telling viewers to phone up their cable guy and scream a certain four-word slogan. ''We created 'I want my MTV,''' says founder Bob Pittman. ''And then we got all of these famous artists to do the commercials for free.'' Hip and savvy, MTV has gone through (almost) as many image changes in the past 25 years as its good pal Madonna. To celebrate the milestone and yes, if MTV is 25 it means we're all getting really old EW takes a nostalgic look back at the network's rock & roll past.
Image Credit: Madonna, Cobain: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images; Pedro Zamora: Ken Probst; Beavis and Butt-Head: Everett Collection