lying awake intent at tuning in on you


Okay, I know we’re days away from a historic turning point for America, but I simply cannot resist posting another Linky-Poo™ Time Waster, and this one rocks: MTV has begun putting its entire video collection online. Normally, I’d be as likely to visit as visit a 14-year-old’s MySpace experiment, but there are some amazing memories on there.

Fuck “Sister Christian”, if you want true Night Ranger, you need only experience Don’t Tell Me You Love Me. You want the Thompson Twins? Ignore “Hold Me Now” and go straight for Love On Your Side. For those of us who spent hours in front of MTV when it began, there’s songs like Genesis’ Abacab that trigger olfactory-like memory sensations, and videos like Don’t Stand So Close to Me that merely beget happiness.

Alas, some of my favorites aren’t up yet: no Nik Kershaw doing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” or any XTC or frickin’ “Centerfold” by the J Geils Band, for that matter. But it’s a start, young sportspeople!

Put your favorites in the comment section, but let me leave you with two of my fave bands in history, and two videos separated by thousands of miles of culture, yet they both have daisies falling from the sky…

De la Soul’s “Say No Go”:

and The Smiths’ “This Charming Man”:

0 thoughts on “lying awake intent at tuning in on you

  1. LFMD

    I remember when MTV first aired. I thought Martha Quinn was so cool, and I had a crush on the curly-haired VJ named Mark (Goodman? Goodson?) Anyway, for those of you as old as me, remember all the excitement around Michael Jackson’s videos? Especially “Thriller”? Say what you want about Michael Jackson. . . he was THE MAN. Thriller remains my favorite all-time video. I think I will link it for my daughter to see . . .

  2. scruggs

    Though, I was disappointed to see the original video for “Here Comes Your Man” (The Pixies) wasn’t there, just a live version.

  3. Salem's Little Sister

    I always loved “The Safety Dance” video by Men Without Hats. I have that song in spot #30 on my ipod for my half-marathon race on Sunday because it always makes me feel good. “Wild Boys” by Duran Duran is a close second.

  4. kent

    Bob Marley |MTV Music
    New Order |MTV Music
    The first 10 seconds of this is the funniest thing ever.
    Aphex Twin |MTV Music
    Still one of my favorite Aphex Twin tracks and the video is pretty great too.
    Björk |MTV Music
    Bjork makes me cry.

  5. kiki

    OK – Completely off subject…but since Ian spent nearly an entire blog writing about how Republicans are whacked in the head and inciting violence, etc., I want to know what about this:
    Why is this ok? Why is this not covered by a major news network? Why will the LA Times not release a video with Obama praising his PLO loving, terrorist supporting colleague? Does anyone on here really not see the lopsided media?
    I am angry. I need some answers. And, I come here thinking I can get them, knowing I will be, most likely, personally insulted by someone.

  6. Schultz

    Ian- nothing can ever hold a candle to Night Ranger’s “You Can Still Rock in America”. Those galloping solos are the mother(s) of early 80’s fretboard wizardry. A masterpiece indeed.
    I was definitely a child of MTV from day one and loved every minute of it on my big, fat console TV with pong-era cable box.
    (Speaking of old cable boxes) Please see this “public service” announcement regarding the FCC’s switch from over the air to all digital….(this is funny)

  7. GFWD

    Kiki, I think the costume was of Tina Fey. Not Sarah Palin. I kid, I joke. You’re right. It’s deplorable. You are wrong, however, to say it wasn’t covered. I’m a CNN devotee and it was covered on there loud and clear all day long.
    But this is about music videos. I was always a big fan of the story-telling ones that were like little movies, such as:
    Russ Ballard’s “VOICES”
    Glenn Frey’s “SMUGGLER’S BLUES”
    Michael’s “THRILLER”, of course
    ‘Til Tuesday’s “VOICES”
    And, though it wasn’t a story, I’ve always loved Billy Joel’s “MATTER OF TRUST” video where the band is playing in the basement and a street party breaks out.

  8. Bud

    Aha’s “Take on Me” got tons of critical love — and deserved it. Still probably my favorite video.
    In a similar vein, Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” still rocks the house (or the art house).
    For a video that could have been shot for about ten bucks, it’s hard to beat Chevy Chase and Paul Simon in “Call Me Al”.
    For sheer fun, my 80’s favorite is Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”.
    And nothing ever did creepy-meets-sexy quite as thoroughly as did Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”, especially after you see the PopUp Video commentary.
    And yes, I am a certified PopUp Video Addict.

  9. Once a Heel

    Bud pretty much read my mind. I’ll throw in “Walk this Way” and “Rockit” as vidoes that will also throw me back in time & place.

  10. Ian

    kiki, geez. Even Keith Olbermann named the guy who did it as his “worst person in the world” on Monday, complete with a picture of him. Gotta watch your liberal TV before registering your righteous indignation.
    To get back to today’s topic, however, I loved your duet with Elton John. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is one of my favorites ever.

  11. Annie H.

    Chip, I’m duly resigned and saddened…now THAT is a great song & video combo…unlike “One Thing Leads to Another” which is a symphony of cheapassness (shot on video, the dogfight, unidentifiable smoldering object meant to instill–what?!?)…
    One video on whose high quality I’ve oft reflected (though it was no fave of mine at the time–I strongly favored live footage of Billy Squier) is Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” Damn good song too, if you ask me!
    Other faves from MTV’s early days:
    U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
    Springsteen’s “Atlantic City”
    Weird & Noteworthy:
    The Tubes “She’s a Beauty”
    Toni ??? “Hey Mickey”
    ?? who the hell was this?? “Mexican Radio”

  12. emma

    I actually did the “Safety Dance” when I read this entry this morning b/c I was so excited. The immediate ones that poped into my head have already been named – A-Ha’s “Take on Me”. I would have never thought of “You Can Call me Al”, but I loved that video, Bud. Although I didn’t know enough about music in jr high to appreciate “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies, it is now one of my all time faves. Scruggs, it is a shame we didn’t run into each other in Phillips Hall at UNC.
    Other notable mentions – “The Metro” by Berlin. “Once in a Lifetime” Talking Heads. DAvid Byrne is so weird that he is awesome. Come On Eileen – How can MTV not have this video on their site???

  13. Caroline

    I tried to get Jeff to sing “Don’t go breaking my heart” with me at our wedding. He wouldn’t go for it. Boo.
    I started watching MTV when I was really young. I’m not sure why my mom thought it was OK but she didn’t care. I do remember getting older and having crushes on various popstars and my mom telling me they were all gay. Ugh, my mom was so lame! But turns out, she was right. :)

  14. emma

    Annie – Toni Basil, I think. And didn’t that Owner of a Lonely Heart video have an awful split second picture of maggots or worms in it?

  15. Big Scott

    I’m with GFWD on the ‘Til Tuesday thing, but not necessarily for “Voices Carry”. I always liked “Coming Up Close” better. No video on the MTV site, but YouTube has a pretty good version ( ). I really have no idea how Aimee Mann never had more success than she has.
    There’s one other act that immediately came to mind when I read this entry — Hall & Oates. My wife and I each have a list of 5 artists/groups that the other is not allowed to ridicule (though it’s truly difficult not to make fun of Rick Springfield and Andy Gibb). I’ve been wrestling with whether or not Hall & Oates goes on my list for a while. On the one hand, they put out some truly awful stuff — Maneater should go down as one of the worst songs in pop history. But on the other hand, they have a ton of catchy R&B/pop tunes that make me feel good every time I hear them. Plus, say what you want, but Daryl Hall has chops. Anyone that started out with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff has to get a little cred in my book. Maybe some of you that have a little more musical knowledge than I can give me a shove in the right direction here. Can I make a case for Hall & Oates as a non-ridicule worthy act or must I waste one of my 5 on them? I’m hoping that they’re legit. I listened to a lot of abysmal music over the years and I don’t want to have to suffer every time one of them pops up on a playlist.
    For the record: Toni Basil sang (and I use that term loosely) “Micky” and “Mexican Radio” was recorded by Wall of Voodoo.

  16. Zel M.

    My votes are for two of the first videos I remember from MTV:
    “Eminence Front” by The Who. Fantasitc guitar riff. In 1983 I had no idea what an eminence front was. In fact, I still don’t – but it’s a put-on…
    “1999” by Prince. I remember thinking how far away 1999 was (“I’ll almost be 30!”) and, at age 13, I couldn’t figure out why those two women on the keyboard were all over each other. Then again, I think it was about the year 1999 when I figured out what “Little Red Corvette” was really about, so I guess I’m a little slow on the uptake…
    Thanks for the “Abacab” shout-out. I’m a big fan of the old Genesis stuff.

  17. wyatt

    When I die, the last ember of trivia to flicker and fade from my brain will be, “What was the first video shown on MTV?”
    Godley and Creme’s “Cry” is a great sad song and the video was months ahead of its time, technologically.
    And there’s always “Electric Avenue”…

  18. Julie

    There’s no Duran Duran here! They were my first videos so they will be my favorites probably forever. But looking at this site (go figure can’t log on to – “Access Denied” but can back around into, I still get semi-sick with the dizziness of The Cure’s “Inbetween Days” and laugh at the absolute low-budget, horribly funny “Punk Rock Girl” by The Dead Milkmen.

  19. Zel M.

    Big Scott:
    I’m a closet Hall & Oates guy myself. I think if you go earlier H&O (Rich Girl, Sara Smile, even Kiss on my List and I Can’t Go For that) you’re OK. But pop-star H&O like Maneater, Method of Modern Love, and Adult Education make it iffy. I am tending to give them a pass for their recent stuff, returning to that Philly soul sound.
    I almost threw Electric Avenue in my list. Good pickup.
    You beat me to “Mexican Radio” – many times in high school did we utter “I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbecued iguana” thanks to MTV. Not like any radio station in my backwoods hometown was actually playing the song over the air.

  20. Schultz

    So what was your preference?
    A. Video showing a band performing the song? (ie The Who “You Better You Bet”)
    B. Video showing a story? (ie Safety Dance)?
    C. A mix of the two? (Cars- “You Might Think”)
    Being a gear head, I much preferred A.
    PS I realize these are awful references.

  21. Tanya

    I’ll say it again, Aha’s “Take On Me,” is one of my faves. My DAD – the squarest of all dorky pocket-protectin’ chemists – even said, “hey, that’s a cool video!” one day when passing through the room while MTV was on. (of course, I rolled my teenaged eyes and said, “Dad, NOBODY says ‘cool’ these days.”)
    I also have to give several INXS shout outs…Need You Tonight/Mediate (two for one video!), The One Thing, New Sensation, etc.
    God, I love INXS. *makes mental note to play that CD in car on way home tonight*

  22. erica

    I was so lame I can first remember begging to stay up for “Friday Night Videos” because we didn’t even have MTV. To Shultz’s point, I always felt ripped off if I stayed up and got a performance only video as it seemed most of those were mailing it in to just take advantage of the video revolution.
    The first video that really stuck with me was Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere” – and, yes, I saw it when we *finally* got MTV.

  23. Neva

    Emma – Berlin’s “Metro” was one of my faves too.
    Am I wrong or did De La Soul actually come play at little frat court once? I could be confused but I have memory of this, I think. Anyone?

  24. cluverc

    Finally! Yet another thing to help me procrastinate! (That’s what a second round of grad school is for, right?)
    As the most fervent Cure Groupie of my generation, I am only too pleased that now these wonderful, small works of art, mostly directed by the ever brilliant Tim Pope are in one nifty place…
    Looks like my econ homework set will have to wait…

  25. Salem's Little Sister

    Neva, I was a Chi-O(91-95) and we had De La Soul for some huge mixer(Derby days maybe). I only remember because their list of requests was so out of our realm. We provided them with a few open-minded sisters and it all worked out.

  26. scotty b

    I was almost stunned when I saw an interview with Pete Townsend where he revealed an Eminance Front is a speaker (I imagine one that plugs in, as opposed to having to be soldered. I had always thought it sounded so British Isles political. Night Rangers’ twin guitarists were quite wonderful when they actually tried to rock out. Brad Gillis was even Ozzie’s first guitarist post Black Sabbath, although he was allegedly fired for being less concerned with rocking out and more concerned with looking good for the ladies.

  27. Bud

    Is anyone else having trouble opening the xtcian main page today? I’m not able to open that or today’s entry.
    And to Once a Heel: for D, my vote goes to Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film”. I didn’t see the uncensored version until about 2002 and it still blew my mind….

  28. David

    I’m having trouble accessing the main page, too. I had to get to this page from my browser history.
    As for videos, I’m glad someone mentioned “Friday Night Videos.” Cable television and MTV were not available where I lived.

  29. Annie H.

    I have not been able to get to today’s comment section yet (after several false starts opening xtcian at all) to wax rhapsodic about Pete Townshend’s “Slit Skirt”!


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