Friday, March 14, 2014

A love letter to my MTV VJ's.

It’s no secret that I loved my MTV. 

I’ve written posts about early ‘80s videos and the influence and obsession that Music Television became for me. Now, while listening to the oldies station, I still see the videos that I watched over and over again on MTV frame for frame in my mind.

Along with those videos that had the rock stars the channel itself also had its rock stars.
Their names were Martha, Mark, Alan, JJ and Nina and they were my heroes.


I recently finished reading their book, VJ and I loooved it.

If you watched MTV obsessively like myself or even just a little bit, read this book. It’s like being a fly on the wall during the most exciting time of music and television.

Here are my pre-teen memories of the original five, and why I adored/loved/wanted to be each of them:

Martha Quinn.
I have to start by saying Martha was my favorite. I think a lot of that began with the fact that she grew up in Ossining, New York and so did I. When people would ask me where I’m from and I'd say Ossining, "you know, where Martha Quinn is from." After getting over the fact that she was my hometown hero, she remained my favorite -- Martha had moxie. I loved watching her interview David Lee Roth, Boy George and Bob Dylan. I loved her wearing red tights, big sweaters and Boy Scout uniforms. I just loved my Martha Quinn.

Mark Goodman.
Mark Goodman was so foxy to me. His hair reminded me of my own -- in my pre-teen brain we made a very cute couple and all the rock stars/girls at school were jealous of. Mark had a sexy voice and when he stared at me through the screen saying, "That was Adam and the Ants with "Dog Eat Dog" my heart skipped an Adam and the Ants style drum beat. I remember him sitting in the little red diner booth on the set interviewing Madonna, talking to her about her music and sense of fashion, then they went into the video for "Borderline" and I wished so badly I could be her and date him. *sigh*

Alan Hunter.
Alan was funny. And he wore a lot of vests. And suspenders. He was like the comic relief of the VJ's -- you felt like he was having a conversation with you, like he was your pal. I remember him reporting the MTV News quite a bit, telling me where I could see Triumph in concert and encouraging me to send a postcard to the MTV studios to win the "Lost Weekend With Van Halen" contest.

JJ Jackson.
Oh how I looked forward to my Triple J time! When I think of JJ I think of him in a red and black leather jacket/pant combo alla Michael Jackson. I remember him interviewing Robert Plant, unmasking KISS (!) and talking about the importance of getting my MTV in stereo and getting my home "components" in order. 

Nina Blackwood. 
Nina was so hot! That raspy voice, the cool clothes, the black eyeliner, the shiny lips, the trademark hair...Nina was so cool. She interviewed Rick Springfield, Missing Persons, Frank Zappa and I'm pretty sure John Cougar and Brian Adams were in love with her. She could seamlessly transition from the videos for "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads into "Allentown" by Billy Joel which was no small feat. 

Thank you MTV and thank you VJ's -- you are my, along with a million other kids of the '80s, music television touchstone. 

In my mind there were no other VJ's after you. You youngsters can have your Kennedy, Carson Daly and your Downtown Julie Brown...wubba, wubba, whatever. 

To me, nothing is as good as the originals.

Love, Lori

1 comment:

  1. Who could forget Video Killed the Radio Star playing over and over. Martha Quinn was my favorite, too. I lived in Upstate NY.