MTV turns 40: watch the first four hours (and lots more), complete with commercials
People love to say "Remember when MTV used to play videos?" but there was a time when MTV would seemingly play ANY video. The first couple years of Music Television really was the wild west, where just about any band that had videos could get them played on the fledgling cable channel that made a big deal about being "The World's First 24-Hour Stereo Video Music Channel," even if in those early days you had to have satellite TV or be in an area that had a FM radio simulcast to get it in stereo. Those years, with original VJs Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, JJ Jackson, Martha Quinn, and Alan Hunter were loose, raw and fun.
One Internet Archive user has been uploading VHS recordings of MTV's early years and has amassed a pretty amazing collection, much of in complete with the network's promos and commercials. You can watch the first four hours of MTV from August 1, 1981, which famously began with The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" (Pat Benatar and Rod Stewart were up next).
More: MTV's 1982 New Years Ball with Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls and more; "MTV Presents The News That Rocked 1982 with Mark Goodman"; guest VJ hours with Eddie Murphy, Phil Collins, Billy Idol, KISS' Paul Stanley, Huey Lewis, Dan Aykroyd, Falco, and more; the "IRS Records Show with Jools Holland"; Dee Snyder hosting "Twisted Christmas" in 1984; "Heavy Metal Mania" with Twister Sister and The Scorpions; and MTV's all-day Live Aid coverage in 1985; plus random multi-hour blocks someone taped.
There's also later '80s and '90s stuff, like video countdowns with smartass VJ Kevin Seal, old 120 Minutes with Dave Kendall and Headbangers Ball episodes with Riki Rachtman, "Spring Break 1987" with The Beastie Boys; and tons more, all in their squidgy "someone fix the tracking" VHS glory. And they're they're still adding to the archive. It's a hole that is easy to fall down, and chances are these days you have a time to do so.
If you have Apple TV or Chromecast, you can watch it on your TV, too.
Check out the Internet Archive's "'80s MTV VHS Recordings 1981 to 1989 Collection" here and watch the first four hours of MTV, below...