Footage in honor of the MTV 30th Anniversary

“I want my MTV!” Well you got it. See MTV history in the footage below of the television network that revolutionized pop culture from music, awards and the people. Commemorate this anniversary with a look back in time that will soon not be forgotten.

View our complete archive of MTV History and more in the Video Editorial Calendar that powers our Footage Blog.

The thought of launching a television network just covering music began in 1977 when a channel called Sight on Sound featured concert footage and music programs. Viewers could vote for their favorite songs and artists. Although, the true inspiration for the MTV network came from The Beatles’ film, “A Hard Day’s Night,” which featured music videos from several of their shows in the mid 1960s.

At 12:01am on August 1, 1981, MTV launched its network with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” The first music video shown was The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and the second was Pat Benatar’s, “You Better Run.” See footage of other leading artists that became popular from the network.

The original purpose of MTV was to be “music television,” playing music videos 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. The music videos were introduced by a VJ, or Video Jockey”, a term coined by the network.

Michael Jackson’s video for the song “Billie Jean” broke the network color barrier for other black artists’ such as, Prince, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. MTV also helped launch several music video director careers such as Spike Jones and David Fincher. Check out clips of other well-known African-American pop sensations on MTV.

In 1997, the network’s headquarters re-located to Times Square in New York City and premiered a top ten countdown show called Total Request Live, aka TRL.

Although MTV has since dropped its brand “music television”, it still remains an influential entertainment network launching numerous native-language branded music channels worldwide.

See additional stock footage on the debut of MTV. 

Tags: Michael Jackson, MTV, Pat Benatar, The Beatles, , TRL