If you grew up in the era when MTV was must-see TV, this book is a breezy page-turner that will not disappoint. Not only are there hilarious behind the scenes details (little people getting down with transvestites on Van Halen's set; constipation on Samantha Fox's), but you'll see (and hear) the machinations of a plucky start-up changing - for better AND worse - the dynamics of a complacent, and arguably regressive, music industry. If only it could happen again today. The oral history gambit provides an excellent springboard, allowing for multiple voices and "Rashomon"-style conflicts regarding elusive truths, and this book ranks with similar tomes like the SNL backstager, "Live From New York" and Legs McNeil's "Please Kill Me." My only wish would be to prune some of the 'middleman' repetition, as we get one, two, three (twelve?) too many MTV staffers who tell us, again and again, that there were no rules; they broke all the rules; things were really f'in' crazy...rather than telling...
I was initially wary of the book's length (572 pages not including the index!), but it turns out it's been perfect for picking up, putting down, and skipping around depending on what stories seem most entertaining that day. Each chapter is broken up into short oral histories on a particular topic, so you can spend one afternoon reading about Madonna's early days as a skateboarding punk living in the LES, and another day on how MTV execs convinced Mick Jagger to say "I want my MTV" for $1. This book is totally about the details. Did you know that one of the hot chicks in ZZ Top's "Gimme All Your Lovin'" is now on the Real Housewives of Orange County?? Or that the car on the cover of the album Eliminator cost $250,000, so they put it in all their videos to get the tax deduction as a business expense? Pure gold, and totally addictive reading!! Would definitely recommend as a gift to anyone 30 and older who remembers those MTV days.
I was one of those young kids who grew up with MTV.
I can easily remember those days of watching Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video during the premiere, multiple times throughout the day. I can easily remember watching Duran Duran's "Planet Earth" and "Girls on Film" and just amazed of how cool they look and wanted to dress like them. Seeing David Bowie's "Let's Dance" and being mesmerized by the video, to watching the Police "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and going out surfing during my grom years and loving the Police and seeing this group of hot young women known as The Go-Go's singing "Our Lips are Sealed" and jumping into a fountain.
I remember watching Friday Night Videos and wondering if Michael Jackson would beat Def Leppard or Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize". Or being titillated with videos such from Van Halen's "Too Hot for Teacher", ZZ Top's "She Got Legs" and being introduced to R&B videos with Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie" or New...
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