1988 Countdown: A Preamble

Contrary to the musical wisdom of Albert Hammond Sr., sometimes it does rain in Southern California. This past January, Los Angeles had rainstorms of Biblical proportions. A few weeks later, we discovered that a whole bunch of stuff we were keeping in cardboard boxes in the garage had gotten drenched, and were now covered in mildew like the “before” sequence in a household-cleaner ad.

I dried out most of the books but pitched most of the videocassettes–we don’t even have a VCR hooked up to the main television anymore. If I ever get the urge to watch The Minus Man (bought for $2.99 from the late lamented Record Explosion in NYC), I’ll just Netflix it. Three tapes, however, were carefully preserved, for they contained the 1988 MTV year-end countdown of the top 100 videos. In its entirety.

Two decades ago, I watched that countdown at my good friend Ted Friedman‘s house. Various friends came by, but only our pal Wendy Greene stayed for the duration. (Ted’s a professor at the University of Georgia now; Wendy’s a documentary filmmaker who does a lot of work for the Discovery Channel.) It was the winter break of my sophomore year from college: we decided that binging on video clips would be a lot more fun than any suburban New Year’s Eve party. We were pretty punchy by the end, but I think we were right.

I haven’t watched these tapes in twenty years (and in fact, they were degrading pretty badly–thanks to Morgan for transferring them to DVD for me), but I’m going to roll through them one song at a time and see how they hold up. Join me in the coming weeks and try to remember an era when MTV played videos….

posted 7 May 2008 in 1988 and tagged . 1 comment

One Comment Thus Far on 1988 Countdown: A Preamble

  1. Wendy Greene Says:

    Wow, that link brings up a page about me I never knew existed (and which lists a lot of old stuff I worked on that I didn’t even know I had certain credits on!). The internet is so nifty!

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