Music Video Trivia

Who could ever forget about the video that started it all? Believe it or not, The Buggles’ "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video to air on MTV, August 1, 1981, at 12:01 AM! The video itself is a curious montage full of freaks, exploding radios and profound lyrics . . . "I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two/Lying awake intent at tuning in on you . . ."

Duran Duran was wise enough to throw enough beautiful babes into their videos to maintain a modicum of interest. Movie trivia buffs always tell me that Duran Duran stole its name from a character in the cult film Barbarella. I hated that crappy flick!

Men Without Hats’ "Safety Dance" proved to be so popular that even Weird Al threw together a mediocre parody of the song called "The Brady Bunch" - "You can watch Mr. Rogers/You can watch Three's Company/And you can turn on Fame or the Newlywed Game/Or The Addams Family/I say, you can watch Barney Miller/And you can watch your MTV/And you can watch 'til your eyes fall out of your head/That'll be OK with me . . ."

The quality values on "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band were definitely bottom of the barrel, making it look exactly like some cheap porno flick from the late 1970s (sans the nudity). Worst of all, the "strippers" in this video look like they would have a hard time making it into the pages of Hustler magazine's "Beaver Hunt."

One Step Beyond, a "musical about homelessness" based on the music of Madness, opened in London in 1993.

Believe it or not, Journey was so popular in the early 1980s that they even had their own video game, the goal of which was to help the five hapless band members find their instruments, which had become lost in outer space.

In 2001, Loverboy headlined at the Benton County Fair in Corvallis, Oregon.

Inspired by the Dalton Trumbo antiwar novel Johnny Got His Gun (which became a movie in 1971 starring Jason Robards) about an armless, legless and faceless veteran, Metallica’s existential video "One" incorporates vintage clips from the movie.

According to legend, Thomas Dolby’s "She Blinded Me with Science" video was shot in one day at a cost of just under $10,000. MTV played the thing about 300,000 times during 1983. If you were alive during the '80s and never saw this video, you must have been either living under a rock or in Vatican City.

Devo eventually sold out big time, lending "Whip It" to a slew of advertisements for companies such as Gateway, Twix and Pringles. I'm surprised the folks at Cool Whip didn't bite.

Another classic sellout, Eddy Grant’s "Electric Avenue" has been used in a Montgomery Ward and a Pantene Pro-V commercial, among others.

Still another sellout, Modern English’s "I Melt With You" was used in a Burger King commercial in the early '90s and the song enjoyed a brief resurgence. Sensing a good moneymaking opportunity, the band regrouped, remixed the tune and went on tour. Guess which song sparked the crowd into a frenzy? "I Melt With You" refuses to die . . .

Pat Benatar (born Pat Andrzejewski in Brooklyn, New York) was a true creature of MTV. In fact, few people remember that her video, "You Better Run," was the second clip aired by MTV during the network's debut on August 1, 1981.

The party scene in the Beastie Boys’ "Fight for Your Right" (a top-10 single from the hit album Licensed to Ill) was modeled after the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffanys, according to legend. The two-day video shoot cost just $20,000 and the cast consisted of friends of the band.

In 1988, Neil Young’s video, "This Note’s for You," was initially banned by MTV for its attack on mindless commercialism.

The late, great Falco originally wrote "Rock Me Amadeus" for an Austrian comedy series.

Canadian Bryan Adams was 10 years old in the summer of '69 but we are led to believe that he was already in a band, he spent his evenings at the drive-in, his buddy Jimmy quit the band and his other buddy Jody got married . . . BULLSHIT!

After a long struggle with alcoholism, Big Country ("In a Big Country") lead singer Stuart Adamson hanged himself in his hotel room in Hawaii shortly before Christmas, 2001. He was just 43 years old.

The Alanis Morissette Random Lyric Generator allows you to fill out a form in minutes and churn out a dumb song full of alienation and meaningless lyrics—just like Alanis!

The inspiration for Motley Crue’s classic video "Girls, Girls, Girls" was rather simple, according to Crue band member Nikki Sixx: "We seemed to be hanging out in strip clubs and drinking a lot so we thought, hey, what about making a video of one?"

Young MC (real name: Marvin Young), who earned a degree in economics from the University of Southern California, was definitely a one-hit wonder ("Bust a Move") even though he also penned Tone Loc's classics, "Wild Thang" and "Funky Cold Medina." If you haven't guessed, both tunes are about the same subject—getting laid.

One "critic" claims that the bowl of beans scene in Wall of Voodoo’s "Mexican Radio" recalls "many floating decapitated head films" such as The Incredible Melting Man, The Beastmaster and The House on Sorority Row.

Controversy soon reared its ugly head after Coolio declared that he had never been asked permission from Weird Al Yankovic to proceed with his "Amish Paradise" parody. Apparently, Al decided to give the flash-in-the-pan rapper half of the royalties from the song, a move that cooled the controversy to say the least. With Coolio out of the way, Weird Al later claimed he feared an "Amish drive-by."

Although Styx officially disbanded in 1984, unfortunately the band occasionally reunites on the so-called "nostalgia circuit" to perform for increasingly diminishing crowds. As for the fate of "Mr. Roboto," the rock anthem that made a plea for freedom over totalitarianism? The song was used in a Volkswagen commercial a couple of years ago.

In 2002, Adam Ant (dressed as a cowboy) was arrested after he whipped out a pistol during a brawl at a pub. Apparently, he got pissed off after bar patrons started making fun of him for his bizarre attire. After throwing rocks through his neighbor's window during the summer of 2003, Ant entered a psychiatric hospital.

How did the great Milton Berle, "Mr. Television" himself, end up in the Ratt video, "Round and Round," you ask? Apparently, his grandson or nephew was either the manager of the group or just the director of the video.

Goth rocker Marilyn Manson has claimed Gary Numan ("Cars") as an influence and even recorded one of his songs, "Down in the Park." Thanks a lot, Gary!

In 1997, Pearl Jam’s video "Jeremy" was used as part of the defense of a teenager who killed two of his fellow students and a teacher at his high school the year before. The 16-year-old was found guilty of murder anyway.

The late comedian Phil Hartman did the voice of Waldo in Van Halen’s classic video "Hot for Teacher."

What is The Vapors’ "Turning Japanese" about, anyway? According to most critics, the song refers to spanking the monkey. Flogging the dolphin. Beating the bishop. Chafing at the bit. Shaking hands with the governor. Sending out the troops. Burping the chipmunk. Boxing the Jesuit. Pumping gas at the self-service island. Taking matters into your own hands. Waxing the carrot. Painting the ceiling . . . "I sit there staring and there's nothing else to do . . ."

An entertaining pop-reggae band, Musical Youth sold more than four million copies of "Pass the Dutchie," which was based on the Mighty Diamonds' pro-marijuana song "Pass the Kouchie." Even though the lyrics were slyly changed to "dutchie" (which means "cooking pot"), you didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out what was really going on here.

One critic claims that Christina Aguileira stole her look from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.

Grunge officially died the day Weird Al released his parody, "Smells Like Nirvana" — "What is this song all about?/Can't figure any lyrics out/How do the words to it go? I wish you'd tell me, I don't know."


  1. 'Video Killed the Radio Star,' The Buggles

  2. 'You Better Run,' Pat Benatar
'She Won't Dance,' Rod Stewart
  4. 'You Better You Bet,' The Who

  5. 'Little Suzi's on the Up,' Ph.D.

  6. 'We Don't Talk Anymore,' Cliff Richard

  7. 'Brass in Pocket,' The Pretenders

  8. 'Time Heals,' Todd Rundgren

  9. 'Take it on the Run,' REO Speedwagon

  10. 'Rockin' the Paradise,' Styx

  11. 'When Things Go Wrong,' Robin Lane and The Chartbusters

  12. 'History Never Repeats,' Split Enz

  13. 'Hold on Loosely,' .38 Special

  14. 'Just Between You and Me,' April Wine

  15. 'Sailing,' Rod Stewart

  16. 'Iron Maiden,' Iron Maiden

  17. 'Keep On Loving You,' REO Speedwagon

  18. 'Message of Love,' The Pretenders

  19. 'Mr. Briefcase,' Lee Ritenour

  20. 'Double Life,' The Cars
'In the Air Tonight,' Phil Collins

  22. 'Clues,' Robert Palmer

  23. 'Too Late,' The Shoes

  24. 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,' Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

  25. 'Surface Tension,' Rupert Hine

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