Was "Video Killed the Radio Star" really the first video on MTV?

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Answered by: Tara, An Expert in the 1980s Nostalgia and Remembrance Category
The song "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the British New Wave group The Buggles, was the first video on MTV (Music Television). The video was first shown when MTV premiered on August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m. For added trivia, the second video shown on MTV was "You Better Run" by female rocker Pat Benatar.



The song "Video Killed the Radio Star" tells the sad tale of the golden days of radio and an unfortunate singer whose career ends with the invention of television. It was a perfect song to introduce MTV to the world. The first video on MTV made us long for the simple musical pleasures of days gone by, but also made us excited about what was to come. Coincidentally, when many people hear the song "Video Killed the Radio Star" today, they are reminded of the golden age of MTV - The early, simple days when the channel played strictly music videos. Today it seems as if Reality Killed the Video Star, as MTV seems to show nothing but monotonous reality shows such as "Jersey Shore", "Teen Mom" and "True Life".

Although the video for "Video Killed the Radio Star" first premiered on MTV on August 1, 1981, the song was actually released as a single on September 7, 1979. The song was written by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Wooley and was originally recorded by the British group Woolley & The Camera Club. Thomas Dolby of early MTV fame ("She Blinded Me With Science"), played keyboards on the song and it was featured on his album "English Garden". The Buggles later recorded the song and it was featured on their debut album "The Age of Plastic". "The Age of Plastic" was a concept album that further explored the themes of yearning for simpler times in an ever-changing and ever-advancing technological world.



The music video for "Video Killed the Radio Star" was first released in 1979 as well. Directed by Russell Mulcahy, the video featured film composer and music producer Hans Zimmer ("Gladiator", "The Lion King", "The Dark Knight") on keyboards. The video also featured Debi Doss and Linda Jardim who provided the song's catchy female vocals.

The song has been covered by artists such as The Presidents of the United States of America, Erasure, Ben Folds Five and Alvin and the Chipmunks. The song has appeared on the movie soundtracks for "The Wedding Singer and "Take Me Home Tonight". "Video Killed the Radio Star" was most recently featured on the music video game "Just Dance 3". While the song reached number one on the singles charts in Australia, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom, "Video Killed the Radio Star" only made it as far as number forty in America.

"Video Killed the Radio Star" will forever be known as the first song and the first video that launched Music Television on August 1, 1981. The song also had the distinction of becoming the one-millionth video to air on MTV on February 27, 2000. In keeping with tradition "Video Killed the Radio Star" launched the debut of the MTV Classic channel in the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 1, 2010.

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