Three years after the inception of MTV as a music channel in 1984, MTV introduced the world to the MTV Video Music Awards, a show that was designed to celebrate the best music videos in a year. The very first VMA had Bette Midler and Dan Aykroyd to lord over the proceedings and they were the right people for the job, the stage was set for all that was to follow in the coming years. Madonna took to the stage dressed in a white wedding gown and had the attention of every single person in the audience with an unforgettable performance of Like a Virgin. Michael Jackson’s Thriller took home 3 awards and the MTV VMAs had planted their flag in the mainstream music industry as a recognized award. Pop music culture was changing and the MTV was the best known catalyst. Over the years the VMAs have witnessed some of the greatest performances, craziest antics and the most memorable tributes in the music industry.
Brief History of the MTV Video Music Awards
The very first MTV VMA venue was New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. After sticking around for another year at which Eddie Murphy set new standards for hosting the VMAs, the VMAS moved onto L.A and set base at the Universal Amphitheatre. It would be a long seven years before the show returned to its birthplace. The VMAs moved around and have been held at New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas. The VMAs have always been big on controversies. Comedian Andrew Dice clay was permanently banned from the VMAs in 1989 for his profanity laced rendition of certain nursery rhymes.
That was just the beginning, through the years the VMAs steadily built up a reputation for being one of the most interesting and unpredictable award shows in show business. Rock stars fought back stage, stars kissed on stage, bands broke up on stage and politically motivated speeches were delivered instead of acceptance speeches. The show had it all by the early 90’s, fights, makeovers, stunts gone wrong, animals used as props and right about everything they could fit into the bill at the awards. At the 1992 awards, Nirvana teased MTV execs by playing the opening chords of a song that they were not to perform before switching to their award winning Lithium. Krist Novoselic is credited with one of the worst stunts at the show, throwing his 10 pound bass guitar and catching it with his face and then stumbling off dazed.
At the ‘94 VMAs Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley shared a kiss onstage that went down as one of the weirdest moments in VMA history. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys stormed the stage to proclaim that Spike Jonze should have won for Best Director for "Sabotage" and screamed, "This is an outrage!", a ceremony that has been repeated by the very controversial Kanye West at the 2009 awards.
The awards have also been known for inviting people with the wackiest dress sense. The awards have been hosted by some of the most incredible comedians of the times, everyone from Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller, Roseanne Barr, Jamie Foxx and Jack Black among others.. At the 2000 MTV VMAs ‘Rage Against the Machine’ bassist Tim Commerford climbed onto the scaffolding of the set and spent the rest of the night in jail for his action.
Britney Spears brought her share of surprises to the VMAs, from performing in a flesh colored attire to bringing a Burmese python and a Siberian White tiger to her performance. The MTV VMAs have also witnessed some of the greatest performances by artists who had been nominated or won awards. These included Guns N Roses, Michael Jackson, Madonna, U2, Prodigy, Mettalica, Alanis Morisette, Oasis, Rolling Stones, Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Fergie, 50 Cent and more. recently the colorful performances by Lady Gaga and the likes. 26 years down the lane the MTV VMAs still continue to enthrall, scandalize, and entertain viewers. The MTV generation has been hooked onto the awards since it was first aired on television and still continues to look forward to the bevy of surprises that the VMAs have always stocked up.