Donielle Flynn

Another bias from the Rock Hall voters: they seem to not take artists from the first few years of MTV very seriously. Obviously, there are exceptions for superstars like Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and U2. Last year, the Go-Go's seemed to crack that glass ceiling, and Duran Duran should follow. Their impact was huge, and that was an era where MTV and the colorful acts that they promoted hooked a new generation on rock and roll, at a time when radio may not have had a hold on the younger audience (with all due respect). I'd love to see a few others from that era, like Cyndi Lauper, on the ballot in the future; also the original MTV VJs should be inducted as "non-performers." They were absolute icons to a generation.

MTV kicked on in 1981 and, kids, they ACTUALLY PLAYED VIDEOS. They had VJs… Video jockeys. They hosted the music in a similar fashion to DJs on the radio. We loved it. It was a new way to experience music and it exposed us to music that we might have not otherwise known existed.  Some of those videos are completely intertwined in my memory with the song itself.  Check out our list below of 20 iconic MTV Videos.

We’ve talked recently about “What was the first MTV video you saw?” I received SO MANY answers for “Video Killed the Radio Star.” This was the very first video MTV aired. In 1981, we didn’t have the internet, smartphones, or social media. We had radio stations, records, and cassette tapes. Aunt Doni will tell you the story of cassette singles for a buck on another day. Today we celebrate the songs that you know not just by sound but by the VIDEOS. Here’s a list of the first 5 videos aired on MTV and the most iconic… the videos we remember the most based on the listener and social media input we received.

Oh and if you’re looking for cool MTV gifts, CLICK HERE

20 Iconic MTV Videos

  • #1 "Video Killed the Radio Star" - The Buggles

  • #2 "You Better Run" - Pat Benatar

  • #3 "She Won't Dance With Me" - Rod Stewart

    If I’m being honest, I don’t remember this song… sorry, Rod.

  • #4 "You Better You Bet" - The Who

    This one is cool! It includes an MTV clip intor.

  • #5 "Little Suzie" - PhD

    Most of us think TESLA on this song,, but PhD were the originators. 🙂

  • "Jeoprady" - Greg Kihn

    I was too young for the party scene of the ’80s, but this is the way I pictured it. LOL

  • "Money For Nothing" - Dire Straits

    Mark Knoepfler uses an over-heard conversation at the mall as the foundation for an amazing and, at times, controversial song.

  • "Hot For Teacher" - Van Halen

  • "We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister

    Get ’em, Dee!

  • "Sweet Child "O Mine" - Guns N Roses

  • "Burning Down the House" - Talking Heads

    SIDE NOTE: Before Peter Gabriel’s video for “Sledgehammer,” the same director used stop-motion in the Talking Heads video for “Road to Nowhere.” Scroll in to 2:56 to check it out.

  • "Sledgehammer" - Peter Gabriel

    THIS is the video that started this conversation. It was the first video that used stop-motion for the WHOLE VIDEO. I can’t even imagine how much effort went into this.

  • "Land of Confusion" - Genesis

    WTH is going on in this video?? From the opening scene of “Bedtime for Bonzo” on crack, this video left many Genesis fans feeling… confused.

  • "Hungry Like the Wolf" - Duran Duran

    THIS is why Duran Duran fans are some of the most loyal folk out there. A smokin’ hot Simon LeBon meets Indiana Jones.

  • "Stand Back" - Stevie Nicks

    So much power… also: Fame dancers.. so ’80s!

  • "Owner of a Loney Heart" - Yes

    In my opinion, the video helped the song reach number one (The only number one song Yes has). Even though one of the scene’s in this video RUINED ME for Asian cuisine for a good five years, it’s still amazing.

  • "Too Much Time on My Hands" - STYX

    Trippin’ balls and hanging at bars.

  • "Sharp Dressed Man" - ZZ Top

    It doesn’t get any cool than ZZ Top.

  • "Sweet Dreams" - Eurythmics

    Annie Lennox blew my mind. Part of the reason Annie had untraditional hairstyle and wardrobe choices was that she wanted to be known first for her music, not her looks. She’s still a very pretty lady, but I think she made the right choice, The first thing you notice is the power of her voice and presence.

  • "Fish heads" - Barnes and Barnes

    Who says people were high in the ’80s? I still can’t believe they aired this. What the holy hell is going on here?

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