Rus Articles Journal

How video killed radio stars? To birthday of MTV

1 of August, 1981 in a cable network of New - York the new channel appeared. It was opened by a roller in which the astronaut set up on the Moon a flag with the acquaintance all MTV logo now, and the voice-over said: “The lady and gentlemen, fate - N - a beater!“ Then burst the clip with the prophetical name “Video Killed the Radio Star“ (“Video killed with radio - a star“)...

Disputes on when there was the first video clip and what is the video clip in general, do not abate still. One find sources of musical video at the end of the 19th a century when American George Thomas thought up to accompany playing of music with self-made photoslides. Others prefer to consider as ancestors of video clips musical short films 1930 - x years of Warner Brothers and Walt Disney studios.

Also our patriots do not lag behind. In their opinion, the first video clip is Leonid Utyosov`s roller “Steamship“ (1939) where the singer played several roles at once - the captain, the conductor, the ticket collector, the young man in love and even the lady of his heart.

But the first blossoming of short musical video falls on 1960 - e - an era when the television came to each house. The important role was played by the Top Of The Pops broadcast which came in 1964 to BBC. It represented peculiar a body - a hit - parade with speeches of the invited performers. And as musicians could not always come to studio, they began to send in advance shot videos there.

Videos were the most different. One - simple where musicians just sang the song on a scene. Others - production - with original installation (like “Penny Lane“ BEATLES), and sometimes even with the whole played sketches (as in “Dead End Street“ KINKS or “Space Oddity“ of David Bowie). Therefore by the beginning of 1970 - x video clips in a broad sense of this word already existed.

In narrower sense of the word the video clip is not just musical video, but the short film mounted from very tiny cuttings (literally several seconds) which change is subordinated, first of all, to a song rhythm. Not without reason there was even such term - “clip consciousness“ when the attention of the person demands continuous change of images and cannot long concentrate on anything.

Besides, the commercial component also was added to characteristics of the clip. Videos gradually became important means of promotion of a song, along with plates and radio.

In this sense 1975 when two groups - the Swedish ABBA and the British QUEEN - turned the songs into hits became critical, thanking video. ABBA removed “Mamma Mia“ (where well-known “counter“ with at the same time removed by a profile and a fullface appeared) for promotion in far Australia.

As for QUEEN, they went to tours and did not manage to act on “Top Of The Pops“. Then on “The Bohemian rhapsody“ decided to shoot the video. 4,5 thousand pounds and good assembly studio were at disposal of the director Bruce Gouers. As a result the clip on “Bohemian Rhapsody“ was followed by a set of special effects. Now all these stratifications - imposings look fondly, but then it was abruptly.

It is clear now that to broadcast clips on TV - occupation favorable. However at the end of 1970 - x everything was not so obvious. The idea of the full-time music TV channel came to mind to Robert Pitman in 1978, and then it tested idea on local cable TV in the State of Ohio. Only in 1981 he managed to make broadcasting nationwide.

The song of THE BUGGLES “Video Killed the Radio Star“ group, appear, was written especially for opening of MTV. Actually everything happened much earlier when three guys - Trevor Horn, Jeff Dauns, Bruce Vulli - decided to stir up the project.

In 1978 literally for an hour the Trinity also wrote the future hit. On Horn`s song the fantastic story of James Ballard “The Sound - Sweep“ inspired (“The cleaner of sounds“). The speech in the story went about the mute boy living in the world where there is no habitual music. Work of the boy is that he goes on the abandoned buildings with the vacuum cleaner and “cleans off“ sounds. In ruins it meets the former opera singer who was out of work after emergence of fashionable “ultrasonic music“.

Here and the song BUGGLES was filled with a bitter nostalgic regret on the subject of how new technologies kill old.

Soon one of authors of the song - Bruce Vulli - will leave collective to found CAMERA CLUB group (later he will write down with it the version “Video Killed...“). BUGGLES turned into a duet, concluded the contract with Islands Records and sat down for record of a song.

For strengthening of nostalgic notes the vocal in a couplet was decided to be written down so that it seemed that it reaches from the old radio receiver.

Gerry Lengen, sound producer:

“Those days it (Horn - S. K.) was not the vocalist, best in the world, - as good wine, it became better subsequently. Well and to disguise a vocal, it wanted to make something in the spirit of a voice of phone... Before it we tried to use the megaphone, but it was too rigid - the task stood to make a vocal loud, but not deafening. I had to keep a certain softness“.


the Single which is written down in “new wave“ style left in September, 1979 and made great success (No. 1 in Britain, No. 40 in the USA). On the song Russell Maknakhi shot the futuristic video where the girlfriend of the director of that time who is passionately wishing to become the actress flashed as the girl from a test tube. This clip will open broadcasting of MTV, and Maknakhi will become one of the best-known music video directors of 1980 - x (its videos will glorify such performers as DURAN DURAN, Billy Joel, ULTRAVOX and many others).

By the way, the hit BUGGLES can be heard in the Indian movie “Dancer of Disko“ (1982) in processing, characteristic of Bollywood. The song began to be called “Auva Auva Koi Yahan Nache“ and it is visible that most of all Hindus like ridiculous exclamation “Ava - Ava!“

Unfortunately, BUGGLES practically did not appear on stage therefore the success of their subsequent singles and albums quickly descended to zero. In 1981 the duet broke up though each of its participants will make quite successful musical and producer career subsequently.

And what MTV? First affairs at the channel went not really. The promised volume of broadcasting was not given, and there were very few clips - only 250 films (at the same time on 30 - ti from them Rod Stewart tore a throat). Till 1983 the channel was unprofitable. But then popularity gained it steam. In it the considerable role was played by the spectacular clip of Michael Jackson “Thriller“ which created a furor and set absolutely other level for musical video.

Now shooting of the video clip became for the singer not a whim, but one of obligatory points of promotion. Directors invested huge money in clips, applied the most refined and modern special effects, invited “stars“ of cinema and supermodels. External image of the performer became is important not less (and even is more important), than his music. Not without reason the beginning of an era of video coincided with popularity of style of “a new wave“ with its theatricality and commitment to outer effects (see David Bowie`s clip “Ashes To Ashes“ of 1980) .

But technologies do not stand still. In 2010 the THE LIMOUSINES group wrote down the answer to a hit BUGGLES - the song under the name “Internet Killed the Video Star“ (“The Internet killed video stars“). And, really, the attention of youth switched with TV - channels to video hostings like YouTube where there was a bigger choice, freedom and efficiency.

It was realized also by performers. So Lady Gaga`s clip “Bad Romance“ became in 2010 the looked most through roller in all World wide web. Well, and an undisputed leader at the moment is, of course, infectious (or infectious) “Gangnam Style“ of the South Korean rapper of PSY. For the end of July, 2014 the number of viewing of this clip only on “Yu - a tuba“ made... about 2 billion and 47 million!

P. S. As usual, you will find a lot of interesting video in 1 - x comments to this article with a marker “For inquisitive and inquisitive“.