Quintessential MTV and Gen X: “Video Killed The Radio Star”

A musical blast from the past: What do The Buggles, Talking Heads, The Cars, The Michael Stanley Band, Iron Maiden, and Stevie Nicks have in common?

The song “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles is quintessential MTV and early Gen X.

The Generations

Chart of generations, including Gen X.

The Song


The songwriter, Trevor Horn (bass guitar player and vocals), was prescient, too. Consider how AI is creating digital versions of people and art, such as music.

According to Wikipedia and Songfacts:

Horn has said that J. G. Ballard’s [science fiction] short story “The Sound-Sweep“, in which the title character—a mute boy vacuuming up stray music in a world without it—comes upon an opera singer hiding in a sewer, provided inspiration for “Video”, and he felt “an era was about to pass.”[10] Horn claimed that Kraftwerk was another influence of the song: “It was like you could see the future when you heard Kraftwerk, something new is coming, something different. Different rhythm section, different mentality. So we had all of that, myself and Bruce, and we wrote this song probably six months before we recorded it.”[7] In a 2018 interview Horn stated: “I’d read JG Ballard and had this vision of the future where record companies would have computers in the basement and manufacture artists. I’d heard Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine and video was coming. You could feel things changing”.

Closing Words

Now you. Where were you when MTV played this music video, quite ironically, as its very first video at 12:01 a.m. 01 August 1981?

Some of the other songs on the first day’s playlist include The Michael Stanley Band, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, REO Speedwagon, Phil Collins, Blondie, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, .38 Special, The Cars, Iron Maiden, and more.

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