Tuesday, August 1, 2017


In Music History

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2014The BBC screens Elvis: That's Alright Mama 60 Years On to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the recording of the song: July 5, 1954.
2012Tony Sly (frontman for No Use For a Name) dies in his sleep at age 41. No cause of death is revealed.
200630-year-old Andy Richardson dies after he is beaten in the mosh pit during the Deftones' set at the Family Values tour in Atlanta.
1996Bill Buchanan, known for a songwriting partnership with Dickie Goodman that produced the 1956 hit "The Flying Saucer," dies of cancer at age 81.
1994The Rolling Stones politely refuse an invitation to play at the Bill Clinton White House, though they play his 60th birthday party in 2006.
1989The Rolling Stones release their album Steel Wheels, which contains the hit "Mixed Emotions."
1988Mudhoney's first-ever single is released: "Touch Me I'm Sick" b/w "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More," via Sub Pop Records.
1988Cincinnati AM radio station WCVG changes its format, becoming the first US all-Elvis radio station. The burning love for the format dies out after a year, and on August 16, 1989, it switches to talk.
1987MTV Europe makes its debut. The first video shown is Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing," a song where Sting proclaims, "I want my MTV."
1987Guns N' Roses head to Park Plaza and 450 South La Brea in Hollywood and shoot their first video, for "Welcome To The Jungle."
1985Tom Waits releases Rain Dogs, widely considered one of his most important and innovative works. Synthesizers and samples - very common in the 1980s - are deliberately absent as Waits develops the unique approach he began on Swordfishtrombones.
1984Jermaine Jackson appears on an episode of CBS's long-running soap opera As The World Turns.
1981Ashley Angel (of O-Town) is born in Redding, California.
1980Def Leppard perform their first US live gig, opening for AC/DC in New York City.
1980George Harrison forms a movie production company called Handmade Films, which produces the films Monty Python's Life of BrianThe Long Good FridayTime Bandits, and Shanghai Surprise.
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MTV Launches In America

MTV goes on the air, bringing music videos to the masses - at least the ones with cable.
With the words "Ladies and gentlemen: Rock and roll," spoken by network co-creator John Lack, Viacom-owned MTV ("Music Television") makes its broadcast debut.

Following a montage of NASA footage, culminating in the iconic photo of an Apollo astronaut standing near the American flag he planted on the Moon (but with the Stars And Stripes replaced by the network's logo), MTV segues into its first music video, "Video Killed The Radio Star" by British duo The Buggles, which had peaked at #40 in the US back in 1979, but was a #1 hit in five European countries. It's followed by Pat Benatar's "You Better Run," Rod Stewart's "She Won't Dance with Me," The Who's "You Better You Bet," and "Little Suzi's On the Up" by the rather less-remembered British duo Ph.D.

Pre-MTV, music videos existed primarily to promote singles by already popular bands; one early example is the clip for "Strawberry Fields Forever," which along with a promo for "Penny Lane" was played on American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show in lieu of The Beatles performing.

Various attempts to launch music video TV channels were made throughout the 1970s, without major success. Involved in some of these efforts were Lack and Robert Pittman, who would become MTV's president/CEO and help turn it into a worldwide sensation, eventually making it cable's first profitable network (ESPN went on the air in 1979, but all that Australian rules football didn't turn a profit).

MTV changes the game, making music videos a key piece of marketing strategy for singers and bands. This favors camera-friendly acts like Duran Duran, Van Halen and Madonna, but is unkind to the likes of REO Speedwagon. It also legitimizes music video as an art form, drawing young directors who go on to make major feature films. Among them, David Fincher (Se7en), Spike Jonze (Her) and F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton). In the '90s, MTV moves away from videos and toward reality and scripted original programming like The Real World and Teen Wolf.

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