It doesn’t happen very often, but every now and then I stumble across something on the Internet that catches my attention and holds it for a long, long time. It’s even better when the online treasure chest keeps calling me back for more and more.
A couple of days ago I found something on MTV’s online home that I had never seen or heard of before. If it’s been there for awhile and you already know about it, I apologize for my enthusiasm. It’s called the MTV Yearbook. Here’s how it works: you go there and choose a year of MTV. Every single year since the advent of MTV is included. That’s right. . . . 1981 until now! Choose your year and a page opens up that includes thirty or more of the top videos from that year. Click on a video and watch it. You can even download the lyrics.
So I cruised around and looked across the years, remembering just about everything. Remember, I’m part of the generation that didn’t have MTV until our adult years. I was 25 years old when it debuted in August of 1981. I found myself asking over and over again. . . . “Has it really been that long since that video first came out?!?!?” The site offers a fabulous peek into the evolution of popular music, musical genres, and music video. It shows how our culture has changed. Don’t believe me? Just go back to 1984 and take a look at David Lee Roth in Van Halen’s “Jump”! Scary, huh?
I decided it would be fun to figure out which year was my favorite, and why. I also looked to find my personal favorite music video of all time. I couldn’t settle on one year. I chose two. 1982 has to be in my list of favorites, not because of the music, but because of the year. That was the year Lisa and I were married. That was the year we moved to Massachusetts and we started seminary. And believe it or not, that was the year when I turned on my lousy TV (it had been color for its previous owner but it was now green and white for me) and for some strange reason, we were picking up MTV over the airwaves. No, I didn’t have cable. And no, I wasn’t stealing cable. Somehow, someway, the signal was jumping from a pole or wire outside our apartment window into that beleaguered old set. I quickly became a fan of MTV and hearing those songs remind me of those wonderful days back in 1982.
I chose my other favorite year because of the music. I was going to go with 1991, but I have to choose 1992. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, U2. I know, I know. . . . Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” is in there too. But the real seller for me is that this is the year where my favorite music video of all time falls. . . . Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy.”
I’ve watched this video literally hundreds of times. Each and every time I see something new as my heart is touched by the realities of relational breakdown.
Let’s have a little fun here. Carve out some time and take a trip to the MTV Yearbook. What’s your favorite year? Favorite video? And why?