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The Official VJ 1980s Lyrics Quiz

Today is August 1st, which means that it’s 38 years since MTV went on the air, playing music videos 24/7, interspersed with visits with the original five VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, and Martha Quinn. Celebrate! Since today is the MTVaversary, and the book I wrote with the aforementioned VJs—VJ: The […]

posted 1 August 2019 in Buy My Stuff, Excerpts. 1 comment

I Want My Music Video

Sometimes the pleasure of journalism is that you learn everything you can about a topic and then share that information with the world. A few weeks ago, I knew a lot about the music-video business in the 1980s–that’s what happens when you cowrite a book with the original MTV VJs–but I wasn’t too savvy about […]

posted 15 August 2018 in Articles. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #26

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) MTV goes to commercials and plays a promo for Michael Jackson. “He’s been bad!” says MTV Voiceover Guy, as we watch Jackson dancing in black leather and buckles. “He’s been smooth!”–a quick cut of him from “Smooth Criminal,” white fedora rakishly tilted over one eye. “Now he takes […]

posted 4 March 2014 in 1988. 3 comments

Happy Birthday, MTV!

32 years ago today, everyone who worked at MTV got into a yellow school bus and went across the river to New Jersey to watch the launch of a new 24-hour music channel. Why New Jersey? The network wasn’t on Manhattan cable yet. If you want to read more about the launch, the earliest videos, […]

posted 1 August 2013 in Buy My Stuff, Tasty Bits. no comments yet

People Really Win on MTV

I am somewhere between ecstatic and doing backflips: VJ has officially hit The New York Times best seller list. It’s #25 on the extended hardcover nonfiction list, #15 on the ebook nonfiction list, and #25 on the extended combined print and ebook nonfiction list. The point being: this is awesome news, and since I’ve been […]

posted 22 May 2013 in News, Tasty Bits. no comments yet

Top Five Settings in Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” Video

1. “Burger Klone,” the fast-food restaurant serving biker gangs and lines of zombie-like (presumably non-masturbating) customers. 2. “Uncle Siggy’s Masterbingo,” a game show hosted by Freud–Lauper is a big winner. 3. A cartoon landscape, brilliantly animated by Gary Panter of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Mark Marek in a mode only slightly less realistic than Lauper herself. 4. […]

posted 29 April 2013 in Buy My Stuff. 5 comments

Top Five Looks in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” Video

1. Springsteen, with sideburns, in blue jeans, a thick black belt, and a white short-sleeve shirt half-unbuttoned. 2. Clarence Clemons, with sunglasses and a high-top fade. 3. Max Weinberg, in a paisley shirt and vest, with a puffy haircut that looks like it’s trying to escape from his scalp. 4. Roy Bittan, with a pre-grunge […]

posted 22 April 2013 in Buy My Stuff. 1 comment

Top Five Elements in Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart” Video

1. The voiceover “Maybe there’s another way to do this,” which prompts the members of Yes to transform into animals, like a prog-rock Justice League of Lycanthropes. 2. The protagonist (of a Kafkaesque tale of abduction and escape) washing his face with maggots. 3. Lead singer Jon Anderson’s ruddy complexion, feathered hair, and elaborately paneled […]

posted 15 April 2013 in Buy My Stuff. 2 comments

Top Five Elements of John Waite’s “Missing You” Video

1. Waite kicking off the video by giving the overhead lamp a push, better to get the drama of an oscillating light. 2. Waite looking gaunt to the point of ill health. 3. Waite’s powder-blue suit, worn nonironically. 4. Waite singing the song’s chorus as he walks down a city sidewalk, eyeballed by pedestrians who […]

posted 8 April 2013 in Buy My Stuff. 7 comments

Top Five Madonna Identities in “Borderline”

I know you’ve been thinking, “Hey, Gavin! VJ, that book you wrote with the original MTV hosts Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn–when does it come out? Can I preorder it? Are you going to do any fun MTV stuff before its publication?” Well, I’m glad you asked. The publication date is […]

posted 1 April 2013 in Buy My Stuff. 1 comment