Began as one of the boldest and most audacious experiments and inventions in the history of entertainment, MTV has been a dominant force in popular culture since its launch in 1981.
Now, as the cable television network turns 30 (“Never trust anyone over 30,” was the old credo), comes I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, an oral history edited by music journalists Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, featuring delicious and jaw-dropping stories from those who fought to control the network’s programming as well as the loved and often ridiculed VJs (video disc jockeys) who brought the world of music videos into our living rooms and, quite often, into our hearts. It’s a long-anticipated look at the golden age of music videos, from the network’s nearly disastrous beginnings to the height of MTV’s incredible success and power.
This unauthorized history of MTV is a no-holds-barred look back at the bitter battles and huge egos that turned the music industry upside down, made Rock & Roll heroes of musicians who had that certain look and appeal that television craves and caused the downfall of so many others with images best kept behind the scenes. Based on more than 400 new interviews with everyone from Billy Idol to Lady Gaga, we hear of the incredible love affair between the public and MTV, from its launch in 1981 to its descent into the current dismal abyss of reality programming that has made stars of people like Snooki and The Situation on Jersey Shore.
Along the way, we are treated to a behind-the-scenes peek at the sex, drugs, drinking and greed that permeated much of the 1980s as well as the incredible excesses demanded by music video creators where no expense was ever considered too much. This fascinating look at music’s most decadent decade is a wild ride through the glory days of music videos, when all we seemed to want was more and more of our MTV. (JJK) Grade: B