Believe it or not, you are that old! Or at least some of you are. Today, August 1, 2006, is the 25th Anniversary of MTV. Surprisingly, the network has no apparent plans to honor, or even mention the birthday. Maybe that's because MTV has always (as you will soon read) feared dating itself.
Who knows. But Entertainment Tonight is not about to let this milestone slip by without acknowledgment. Here's a look at the Top 25 MTV Moments, from the inauspicious beginning to the days of Laguna Beach.
1. THE DEBUT: August 1, 1981.
The first video? The prophetic "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the now-forgotten Buggles. Only a few thousand people on a single cable system in northern New Jersey could see it.
2. BEAT IT: March 31, 1983.
Michael Jackson becomes the first black artist with a video on MTV. Soon enough, he ceases to be black. But a great song nonetheless.
3. THRILLER: December 2, 1983.
Less music video than 14-minute mini-movie (starring Vincent Price, ghouls and goblins), the premiere of Jackson's "Thriller" was an event. MTV gave it a set time on the schedule, even. It was, and may remain, the pinnacle of the concept of music videos as art.
4. MADONNA BUSTS OUT: September 14, 1984.
Performing "Like a Virgin" at the first Video Music Awards, Madonna popped out of a cake dressed in a wedding gown and writhed through her hit. Her gift of shock value resonates to this day.
5. MONEY FOR NOTHING: Pretty Much All Of 1985.
The Dire Straits song was about MTV, mocked the very idea of MTV, and became a monster hit â€" possibly the band's biggest â€" because of MTV. The circle is complete.
6. VJs GO BYE-BYE: 1985-1986.
Original video jock J.J. Jackson's contract expired in 1985. Nina Blackwood followed him out the door a year later, as did Martha Quinn. Alan Hunter and Mark Goodman were next, with only Adam Curry making it into the '90s. In a trend that still continues, MTV abandoned its first generation of fans, courting teens instead. The network also realized that airing videos was a dead end street, and began developing other programs.
7. SPRRRRRING BREAK!!!!!!!: March, 1985:
College students who couldn't make it south in person could turn on MTV to catch the party. Each year since, the drunken bash with young, firm, hot bodies undulating to the music has returned. We need a cold shower.
8. RAP TAKES OFF: August 6, 1986.
It's no coincidence that "Yo! MTV Raps!" premiered about the same time rap started becoming the dominant music form for young America. Hip white kids like Rick Rubin or the Beastie Boys may have loved rap before, but "Yo! MTV Raps!" brought it into every suburban living room.
9. PEE-WEE'S RETURN: September 5, 1991.
It was a hard fall for Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman, from star of one of TV's most popular kids' shows to a national punchline after he was busted by undercover officer for masturbating in an adult theater. Herman returned to the stage at that year's VMAs, sending the crowd into raucous laughter with question "Heard any good jokes lately?"
10. SMELLS LIKE GRUNGE: September 29, 1991:
Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video officially killed the hair metal scene and signaled the ascendancy of grunge.
11. CLAPTON UNPLUGGED: March 11, 1992.
Only the most desperate of fading 1980s bands responded to MTV's requests to show off their acoustic chops, but in the early '90s, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton, in his first performance since his son died after falling from a building window, brought the house down with acoustic sets. Clapton had to be talked into releasing the show on CD, but it became his biggest-selling album.
12. BILL SPEAKS: April 19, 1994.
Two years into his first term, President Bill Clinton fielded 90 minutes of questions on complex policy issues by 16-20-year-olds before a live MTV audience. Today, most candidates use MTV to reach first-time voters.
13. SHUT UP, BEAVIS!!: March 24, 1994.
Who'd have guessed that Beavis and Butt-head would make the cover of Rolling Stone? Sure, the show was stupid, gross and low-class. But it was funny to millions of viewers, and many older people no doubt wished they could act that way.
14. REALITY CHECK: June 23, 1994.
Check the listings nowadays and take a look at what's on. It's hard to recall a time in which setting up a group of strangers in a camera-filled home was a new idea, but the 1992 debut of The Real World essentially invented Reality TV. The original reality series is still on the air, to boot.
15. FEEDBACK LOOP: April 14, 1998.
Jesse Camp wins the first "I Wanna Be a VJ" contest. Sensing another TV trend that may have spawned from this?
16. TIMES SQUARE TIME: October 22, 1998.
The somehow wildly popular Backstreet Boys shut down Times Square during a Total Request Live appearance. The ruckus cemented TRL's role as pop culture's home page, with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as king and queen.
17. GETTIN' JIGGLE WIT IT: September 9, 1999.
When Lil' Kim presented a VMA with a pasty-clad breast, Diana Ross couldn't resist a playful fondle. Lucky Ross wasn't there eight years earlier, when Prince performed wearing pants with the butt cut out.
18. FEELING TIPSY: October 1, 2000.
Thinking about Johnny Knoxville getting tipped over in a port-a-potty still makes us hold your noses. Yet Jackass quickly became MTV's most popular show.
19. MARIAH'S MELTDOWN: July 19, 2001.
No one knew quite how to react when the diva made a surprise appearance on "TRL," pushing an ice cream cart filled with popsicles. A nervous Carson Daly kept trying to cut to a commercial, but Carey wouldn't stop talking. She took off an oversized T-shirt to reveal a tight tank top and skimpy shorts. A week later Carey was hospitalized for exhaustion.
20. F&$%#!: March 5, 2002.
The first bleeped-out swear word on The Osbournes premiere was followed by 58 others. The foggy-headed rocker, his type-A wife and self-involved kids became America's first family, if only for a time.
21. DOGGING EMINEM: August 29, 2002.
The rap star was in no mood to hear Triumph the Insult Comic Dog chew over his feud with Moby. So when approached by the puppet on the VMAs, Eminem delivered a sucker punch and then flew into a rage backstage. Really. He rampaged against a puppet.
22. JUSTIN GETS PUNK'D: March 17, 2003.
The debut of Punk'd, starring Ashton Kutcher, involved a crew posing as the "Tax Enforcement Agency" seizing some of Justin Timberlake's possessions after claiming he owed $900,000 in back taxes. The show, and its title, are now entrenched in the pop culture lexicon.
23. CHICKEN OR TUNA: August 19, 2003.
Newlyweds followed the telegenic Jessica Simpson and hubby Nick Lachey as they navigated marital bliss. Jess endeared herself as American's leading dumb blonde. They have since divorced.
24. THE KISS: August 28, 2003.
It was MTV's idea to bring back Madonna for a reprise of "Like a Virgin" for the 20th video music awards, and MTV's idea to pair her with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. The open-mouthed kiss that she planted on Britney? That was just Madonna being Madonna.
25. STEPHEN & LC: November 26, 2004.
Viewers were gripped by the love triangle on new MTV hit Laguna Beach, in which the partying of Kristin Cavallari (right) on spring break temporarily cost her a boyfriend. Lauren Conrad, current star of The Hills, hooked up with Kristin's beau, Stephen Colletti. MTV's original idea was a reality version of Beverly Hills 90210, but they ended up with a reality version of The O.C. instead.
As usual, fans loved it.