MTV Memories: The Videos

It’s been a lot of fun spending the whole week celebrating/eulogizing MTV for its 30th birthday. While there were more memories than space to include them all, it was a cool experience getting some of them down onto paper…screen, whatever. But it’s one thing to talk a lot about something and it’s another thing to actually just experience it. There’s a time for labeling and quantifying with words and there’s a time for just letting that special thing wash over you and sink into your head, heart and soul. That may sound a little overdramatic, but I believe what MTV did for my relationship with music can’t be overstated. MTV offered me a constant connection to a variety of genres, accessibility to new artists and bands, hours and hours of entertainment and a common denominator between me and the rest of the world. MTV provided an endless supply of conversation starters, friendship strengtheners, celebration enhancers and broken heart supporters through a once powerful medium that has now become nothing more than an afterthought. Sure, on the surface music videos are just promotional/marketing tools and they make no promises to be anything else. But ask a generation of MTV watchers what they talked about around the school lunch table or what helped them through their first teenage break-up and I guarantee you they’ll give you a different definition of what a music video is. So instead of any more words, here’s just a small sampling of personal favorites from my MTV days. Some are cheesy, some have a message and some are just fun to watch, but all of them mean something to me. Happy birthday MTV and thanks for the good times.

Michael Jackson – “Beat It”
“Beat It” is one of my earliest video memories and probably my favorite MJ video of all time. “Beat It” had an awesome look, great choreography and that classic red, zippered jacket everybody wanted.


Wall of Voodoo – “Mexican Radio”
Wait…you mean I don’t have to color inside everybody else’s lines? Thanks Stan Ridgway!

Cyndi Lauper – “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”
Combining three of my absolute favorite 80’s ingredients (The Goonies, WWF wrestlers and Cyndi Lauper), it’s like they plucked this video straight out of my 6 year-old brain!

Poison – “Nothin’ But A Good Time”
I don’t know if it’s due to all the neon green or how many time C.C. changes guitars, but out of the plethora of glam metal videos, this one has always stuck with me.

A Tribe Called Quest – “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo”
I’m pretty sure that learning the verses to “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” and “Can I Kick It?” saved me from getting my butt kicked more in elementary and middle school.

Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”
We hadn’t seen anything this epic (that’s how you use the word correctly hipsters) since “Thriller”. It hits just enough notes to be grandiose with out feeling too over the top.


Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Ladies and gentlemen, the revolution WILL be televised.


Beastie Boys – “So What’cha Want”
Starting when I was about 7 years old, I wanted to be a rapper pretty bad. From Licensed to Ill on out, Beastie Boys were my folks. “So What’cha Want” is a killer song and this live performance from Yo! MTV Raps is one of my favorites.

Rancid – “Ruby Soho”
I became pretty obsessed with Rancid in high school and this video is my favorite of theirs. It also reminds of a late night/early morning party were Amanda and I, still just friends at the time, talked together into the wee hours of the morning. For some reason, this video and “California Love” by Dr. Dre and Tupac seemed to play every fourth or fifth video in the background.

Mazzy Star – “Fade Into You”
“Fade Into You” holds a special place because it struck a chord in me that was first opened up by Concrete Blonde. I think this gorgeously shot video matches the amazing song perfectly.


The White Stripes – “Fell In Love With A Girl”
A genius marriage of music and aesthetics, all in under two minutes.



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