VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave

By Nina Blackwood, Gavin Edwards

The unique MTV VJs supply a behind-the-scenes oral heritage of the early years of MTV, circa 1981 to 1985, while it was once exploding, reshaping the tradition, and forming “the MTV generation.”

MTV’s unique VJs provide a behind-the-scenes oral heritage of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, while it used to be exploding, reshaping the tradition, and growing “the MTV generation.”

Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the overdue J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of tune stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, in fact: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction try. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who provided him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to eire in his inner most jet.

But whereas VJ has lots of dish—secret romances, nude photos, incoherent celebrities—it additionally finds how 4 VJs grew up along MTV’s committed audience and have become that generation’s relied on narrators. They inform the tale of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan management, and supply a deeper realizing of ways MTV replaced our tradition. Or because the VJs placed it: “We’re the explanation you haven't any consciousness span.”

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Had jobs ahead of MTV—J. J. had labored at radio stations the place they’d actually replaced the locks as the layout had replaced from rock to nation. They’d been round sufficient to understand that this was once an excellent task, however it was once one other in a string of jobs. 100% of my paintings wisdom used to be MTV—I received employed correct out of faculty, and it used to be the suitable gig on the earth for me. It used to be an important drama while I received enable cross. Mark: Martha’s final couple of years, each person enjoyed her the main. yet she badmouthed an government, Les Garland, that's why she bought fired. He sought after her to do anything, and she or he acknowledged, “I’m no longer doing that. ” wager what? You’re performed. Martha: I don’t be aware of why they fired me. I heard later that Tom Freston desired to can me the evening of the 1986 Video song Awards. It was once his first time on the helm; i used to be within the viewers and that i was once set to interview Robert Palmer. The query that they gave me was once “How did your spouse suppose approximately you creating a video with all of these women? ” yet I couldn’t deliver myself to invite him that, since it had simply pop out within the information that he was once getting divorced. So I tossed that query, and since i used to be donning Tina Turner’s costume from the “Private Dancer” video, I joked, “Hey, do you think that I could’ve been on your video? ” appeared adorable, innocuous enough—but it seems that Tom Freston used to be livid. What I heard was once that he sought after me fired that evening. That was once September, and my agreement used to be up 3 months later. however it will not be true—I occasionally console myself by way of asserting that he used to be beginning a brand new regime and he desired to make his mark. I certainly bought cocky. I took my Martha Quinn-ness with no consideration. That fall, my dad, who was once additionally my legal professional, used to be calling MTV, asserting, “You recognize Martha’s agreement is up. ” they usually have been asserting, “Uh, yeah, ok, name us again subsequent week. ” however it didn’t appear like something used to be strange. after which in December, at my grandfather’s funeral in Troy, my dad pulled me apart: “I have to check with you. ” Being an lawyer, my dad had discovered to execute justice speedily. We went onto the again porch and he acknowledged, “I talked to MTV. They’re unlikely to select you up. ” Whoosh. similar to that, my global collapsed. i used to be already shattered simply because i used to be at my grandfather’s funeral—now I felt just like the earth used to be giving means. I bought my entire relatives jointly, together with my next-door neighbor wealthy, who was once on the funeral simply because he used to be a sweetheart. I introduced them into the basement (the comparable one the man within the Human League had slept in! ), and advised all of them the scoop. I then proceeded to get absolutely plastered. wealthy drove me again to long island urban: i used to be slumped over within the entrance seat, under the influence of alcohol as a skunk. day after today, I went into paintings. I didn’t are looking to go away with out asserting whatever, the way in which Nina had. I did my shift, figuring out what i used to be going to claim on the finish. Peggy Polito used to be the director, and while i ended my shift, I took a deep breath and stated, “Peggy, continue the tape rolling. ” (As lengthy because the tape was once rolling, it may be obvious on displays during the construction.

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