MTV Premier’s It’s Inaugural Music Video “Video Killed The Radio Star”

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On August 1, 1981 — a channel launched that was to change music history. Music Television, or MTV, kicked off for the first time at 12:01 a.m., Eastern Time, with the now legendary words: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”


Then the opening chords accompanied Trevor Horn of The Buggles singing the first line of “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

It turned out to be a prophetic choice for the channel’s first music video. By October 1981, record sales of the artists played on MTV but not radio stations were starting to boom. Radio stores were reporting overall sales rising up to 20 percent, while bands such as Adam and the Ants, Men at Work, Judas Priest and Bow Wow Wow started to enjoy popularity in America.

In its first year, penetration was relatively small, with MTV airing in just 1.5 million households. But by 1982, the Second British Invasion had begun, seeing a massive surge in popularity of British music in America, thanks to being played on MTV.

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