I’m old enough to remember when MTV played music videos, and only music videos. I had a big crush on goofy Alan Hunter, and my friends and I would plan sleepover parties around the debut of new Duran Duran videos. MTV launched in 1982 (I definitely don’t remember watching it then, but can remember sometime in the mid-80s) and changed the way that music was listened to and purchased all over the world.
This tale of the birth of MTV and its original 5 VJs (Video Disc Jockeys) is told in vignette format: the four remaining VJs (JJ Jackson died a while back) talk about how their lives — both personally and professionally — changed thanks to MTV.
MTV was looking to hire 5 “faces” to introduce video clips: a jock, a rocker queen, the girl next door, “the jew”, and the old rocker. They filled these spots with Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, and JJ Jackson. Virtual unknowns, they became celebrities overnight. They were thrust into the world of Rock & Roll, and suddenly were surrounded with cocaine and sex everywhere they looked.
There are many ridiculous music anecdotes in the book — Frankie Goes to Hollywood and and the Police don’t come off as being the most professional guys out there, while Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan are exactly what you might think — professional to the core.
But mostly the book is about the egos of the VJs, many of whom thought they were as big as MTV and felt they would always be famous. They took their drugs and cheated on their wives and expected the party to last forever.
I was hoping for a few more stories about the bands in the early 80s, and was disappointed there was so much more of Mark Goodman talking about all of the beautiful women he cheated on his wives with. Seriously. With that hair.
I wanted to love it, but didn’t. But, I couldn’t put it down, so that must be something, right?