And we go to a commercial break!
First, there’s an MTV promo touting their dedication to new music. “Every major band was a new name at one time,” says a bass voice (moderately portentous, but without enough presence to get movie-trailer work). Then they flash the names of these brand-new bands that they’re backing with the full weight of the network, hoping that they’ll last for many years:
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.
Siouxsie & the Banshees.
Wait, back up–Siouxsie and the Banshees??!? When this ad aired in 1988, they had been around long enough that founding member Sid Vicious had been dead for almost exactly ten years. Their first album came out in 1978. Some of those other acts had been knocking around for a few years before they put out a major-label album, but isn’t this a bit like touting Courtney Love as the fresh new face of the twenty-first century?
“Catch tomorrow’s stars today on MTV,” says the bass voice. And apparently, yesterday’s stars, too.
Spots follow for Michelob Dry, the movie The January Man (more on this later, because even twenty years after the last time I watched this countdown, I remember that they showed this ad incessantly), the Conductor (a battery allegedly optimized for “high-drain music machines”–the commercial features a spiky-haired kid in a lecture hall blocking out a droning professor with his Walkman).
Then a cool MTV promo, featuring 20 seconds or so of jazzy animation at some speakeasy: quick cuts of a cartoony jazz band and a hep cocktail waitress, while music skronks atonally behind them.
Back to the countdown, with “Welcome to the Jungle” as the bumper music. Kevin Seal is our host. Kevin was the host of 120 Minutes (which played what people still called “college rock” at that point, before “alternative” became the preferred branding term), and seemed to have more of an ironic sheen about him than the other VJs. “The top 100!” Kevin shouts and jumps over the counter, screaming. Twice. Twenty years later, Kevin’s still charming, but much squintier than I remember.