Did you see the VMAs? I did. Of course, when I say that I saw the VMAs, I mean that I watched the Video Music Awards. In 1984. That's what I needed to see. For nearly thirty years since then, MTV has sought to replicate that magic night in the mid-eighties when video music was the pinnacle of the pop culture mountain. If you weren't watching back then, either because you weren't quite as hip as I was, or maybe you weren't alive yet, here's what you missed: Hosts Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler showed up dressed as matching moon men, replicating the trophy that winners would hoist upon winning such categories as "best concept video," "best new artist video," and the coveted "viewer's choice" award. The Video of the Year was presented to The Cars for their promotional clip featuring the song, "You Might Think."
It was a magical night. Everyone was there: Roger Daltrey, John Mellencamp while he still had a Cougar in his name, both Hall and Oates, Dale Bozzio, and the Go-Gos. Music Television, as they were once known, felt compelled to recognize their legacy by awarding not one but two Video Vanguard Awards. The first went to The Beatles and Richard Lester, for coming up with this whole "music video" idea in the first place. The second went to David Bowie because he was the first guy to make a video that made us all go "huh?" But most of all, that night will be remembered for the way Madonna shocked the world by frothing about on the stage at Radio City Music Hall, in a wedding dress, to her hit, "Like A Virgin."
And that's pretty much when I stopped watching the VMAs. I wasn't shocked. I was pretty much convinced that I had seen what I needed to see as far as this particular vision of the future. Twenty-nine years later, the music world is all abuzz with chatter about Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus prancing about in her undies with Robin Thicke. Shocked? Nope. Not then, not when Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera came of age with a more "mature" Madonna ten years ago singing that oh-so-ironic tune, "Like A Virgin." Each passing year there seems to be some young woman who seems determined to shed her teen-pop-star image along with much of their clothes to give us all something to talk about while we wait for our half-caff-double-shot-latte. Not so much foam next time, please.