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1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #12

If you’re new to the countdown: I’m plowing my way through actual videotapes of MTV’s year-end countdown broadcast on 12/31/1988. If you want to catch up from the beginning, you should probably start here. On a plate, there’s a piece of white bread in the shape of an M. It’s soon covered with a dollop […]

posted 11 February 2009 in 1988. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #11

Onward through the 1988 MTV countdown! (If you’re just joining us and want to get up to speed, click here.) The commercial break, as usual, starts with a spot for an MTV program: in this case, “The Year in Rock 88.” “Sixty minutes that took twelve months to make,” says Voiceover Guy. We see Kurt […]

posted 7 January 2009 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown: #100-76 Roundup

Back in 1988, I videotaped the MTV year-end top-100 countdown. Earlier this year, I unearthed the tapes and started watching them for the first time in two decades. I’ve been gradually working my way through the countdown, dissecting every single clip (and the commercial breaks too). Half a year later, we’re now two and a […]

posted 5 November 2008 in 1988. no comments yet

Rock Action

Interviewing comics can be tricky: some fall back on canned schtick, while others are self-consciously dour offstage. But I’ve interviewed Chris Rock three times in the last five years and he’s never disappointed. Rock’s not a rat-a-tat joke machine; he’s always seemed more interested in answering my questions thoughtfully. He just says incredibly funny things […]

posted 22 October 2008 in Archives, Articles. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #10

We see the “Big Bang ’89” promo for the third time, with close-ups on explosions and spinning clocks building up excitement for the fact that 1989 will start in only a few hours, a transition that can be enjoyed in the company of Robert Plant, Poison, Winger, Cameo, Hall and Oates, the Escape Club, Bobby […]

posted 16 October 2008 in 1988. 1 comment

1985 Countdown #1: a-ha, “Take On Me”

I’m relying on 23-year-old memories, since I didn’t have the foresight to tape the whole thing, but I’m pretty sure a-ha were on top of the MTV countdown in 1985. (The network certainly did everything they could to push that video.) At any rate, somebody’s done a new “literal” version of “Take on Me” that’s […]

posted 13 October 2008 in Links. 1 comment

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #9

A lonely bugle plays over an image of Jon Bon Jovi–who’s looking morose, with his left hand on his cheek. Maybe Jon’s run out of bottles, and hence no longer knows what day of the week it is. “Bon Jovi on the road,” says the Voiceover Guy. “They play their guts out.” The image changes […]

posted 7 October 2008 in 1988. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: #81-90 Roundup

For those of you just tuning in: Cleaning out my garage earlier this year, I found three old videotapes that contained the entirety of MTV’s 1988 year-end top 100 countdown. Each Tuesday and Thursday for the past four months, I’ve written up another segment of the countdown (usually a video, but sometimes a commercial break). […]

posted 23 September 2008 in 1988. 2 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #8

An animated MTV promo: this one’s got African-style masks in a color palette of black, white, orange, and yellow–and lots of drumming and hollering on the soundtrack. It’s just ten seconds long, but if you nodded off during the Icehouse video, it wakes you up. The “Bad to the Bone” riff announces another ad for […]

posted 11 September 2008 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #7

The commercial break kicks off with another airing of the “Big Bang ’89” promo, hyping the big show live later on MTV that night. Sandra Bernhard looks skinny and sexy and mean (in marked contrast to her subdued, puffy appearance on Project Runway recently–is she on some variety of steroid medications, or was it a […]

posted 12 August 2008 in 1988. no comments yet