From audio recording to video recording – music jumped to a new dimension with video.

In a few hours, Music Television celebrates its 40th anniversary – August 1st, 1981, at one minute after midnight. I am a product of the ‘60s. I graduated from high school, graduated from college, got married, joined the military. Then, shortly after the end of 1969, my daughter was born, and I got an invitation to Vietnam. Woodstock happened while I was in boot camp.

My time on active military duty was over in 1973, and my Reserve duty began at the same time as my civilian career. So how could video replace music? It does not matter how or why it happened.

First Videos on MTV In order of play – #1, Video Killed the Radio Star (The Buggles); #2, You Better Run (Pat Benatar); #3, She Won’t Dance With Me (Rod Stuart); #4, You Better You Bet (The Who); #5, Little Suzi’s on the Up (Ph.D.); # 6, We Don’t Talk Anymore (Cliff Richard); #7, Brass in Pocket (The Pretenders); #8, Time Heals (Todd Rundgren); #9, Take In on the Run (REO Speedwagon); and #10 (Rockin’ in Paradise (Styx).

The idea of a 24/7 format for music videos had been around since the mid-‘70s. Would people watch videos non-stop?

MTV Success MTV started on cable in a small part of America (New Jersey). The initial music videos were lacking video quality. Music artists discovered that MTV could be a platform to launch their new hits and sell records. However, it did not happen overnight. But it did happen within just a few years.

Back in the decades leading up to MTV, when someone wanted to see their favorite recording artist, it was generally in person. Now, all of a sudden, you could have that recording artist (almost live) on your television in the comfort of your home. MTV did not kill the Radio Star, but it quickly launched new careers – Michal Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and more!
MTV launched the world of visualizing music and forced the quality of videography to a new level.

MTV Influence Just as the home computer became a fixture in the early ‘80s, video entered another realm. The mid-‘70s saw video technology take over another part of home life – videotape recorders. Sony Betamax and JVC’s VHS became the norm.

I was working at Memorex in the mid-to-late ‘70s in quality control of audio and videotape manufacturing. I remember buying a heavy, cumbersome VHS player. It was heavier than my television. Video jumped ahead again with camcorders, and videotape was replaced quickly with digital. Just as MTV opened the door for an audience dying to have personal live broadcasts of their favorite recording starts, YouTube opened the door for everyone to become a video star with their own recordings.


MTV changed our world just as smartphones allow you to be a fully functional television recording station in the palm of your hand. The man on the street with a cameraman and audio microphone strategically placed above his head allowed the professional news broadcaster to be on the scene – assuming he had the truck with a parabolic antenna to broadcast mainly live.

Today, we do that from the comfort of our car or while walking down the street. MTV shifted our psyche from listening to watching. Technology met the demand and prompted another paradigm shift from recording studios to selfies and instant video coverage.

I was a teenager in the late ‘50s and addicted to rock and roll. I had a slight addiction to MTV for a short time, but too many other things in life became priorities. Video is the current trend in networking via Zoom and other programs. I was on a new video networking platform last week that I had never heard of before. The thing is that video is part of our life, and it started with MTV.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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