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The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


The original MTV VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, circa 1981 to 1985, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and forming “the MTV generation.”

MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.”

Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, of course: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction attempt. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who offered him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to Ireland in his private jet.

But while VJ has plenty of dish—secret romances, nude photographs, incoherent celebrities—it also reveals how four VJs grew up alongside MTV’s devoted viewers and became that generation’s trusted narrators. They tell the story of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan administration, and offer a deeper understanding of how MTV changed our culture. Or as the VJs put it: “We’re the reason you have no attention span.”

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 11, 2013 – Although it s a household word today, when MTV debuted on August 1, 1981, the cable television channel boosted the careers of many rockers looking to kickstart their careers (Madonna), reboot their careers (Michael Jackson), or launch their careers (Duran Duran). In those heady early days, anything seemed possible, and the ability to look pretty in music videos offered many mediocre music acts a shot at fame and fan worship. MTV worked so well because of a group of onscreen video jockeys (VJs), who introduced the music, interviewed the acts, and brought a friendly presence into the living rooms of many fans. In this brilliantly conceived but regrettably dull and lackluster book, Rolling Stone contributing editor Edwards gathers interviews from the original group of MTV VJs with the exception of J.J. Jackson, who died in 2004 offering a firsthand account of what life and work at MTV were like in those early days. The VJs reflect on their work together, their toughest interviews, their relationships with the musicians who passed through the MTV studios, and the cultural impact of MTV. Blackwood recalls that because of MTV, musicians got more visually conscious; or self-conscious. Hunter believes that MTV presented this vision of American culture, which was tolerant of sincerity and tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation at the same time. For Goodman, MTV is the reason you have no attention span. And you can pin reality TV on us, too. Goodman best sums up the VJs halcyon days: MTV was a trial by fire. We went through this wonderful, terrible experience together and it bonded us.

Customer Reviews

Essential Pop Culture

They really had no idea what they were getting into. They were there at the beginnings of MTV, when it was Music Television, a kind of 24 hour network that never existed before, and profoundly affected American culture in ways both good and bad. It's difficult to realize the impact MTV had when it was launched from the perspective of today's media rich streaming video internet environment, but the MTV VJ's found themselves becoming the faces of a media revolution when mass media still had mass. This is one of the first corporately unmediated accounts of those early days at MTV and the best to date!

good book

some one needs to make this an audio book i like audio books and i dont have an i pad

MTV Redux

This was a surprisingly fun, insightful read that quite literally brought me back to a great period in my own life. Martha, Mark, Nina and Alan are effective and authentic storytellers and this was just a nice, nostalgic read.

Rock on! And R-I-P JJ.

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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: May 07, 2013
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings