Remember When The VMA’s Mattered?… Off-Topic Friday


Amid all the uproar about Miley at this year’s VMA’s, I began wondering… why on earth do the VMA’s still exist?  It seems like now its just a place for people to wear really shocking outfits and Kanye West to have a forum to say really dumb things…

But I remember a day when the VMA’s meant something… a day when the name Hype Williams meant something… a day when you never knew where Beavis and Butthead would pop up… and a day when people thought music videos were just as important as TV shows and movies.  Let’s harken back to the days of yore and reminisce about the glory days of the VMA’s.

I wanna call back some of my favorite VMA moments.  Please note I was born in 1980, but I actually got invested (as ridiculous as that sounds) in MTV in the early 90’s.  So, the period from 1991 to 2001 are the days I hail as the heyday.  It was all about the music for me.

Here are my favorite memories…

Pearl Jam and Neil Young play together…

In 1993, Pearl Jam continued their bucking of the mainstream while remaining positioned squarely inside it, by teaming up with rebel nose-singer Neil Young.  This resulted in a surprise performance at the VMA’s where they joined forces to lay down Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World.  That performance actually spawned a full tour and album featuring the resulting team-up.

I am a life-long Pearl Jam fan, so I love the way they rocked this.

Michael Jackson 15-minute Medley!…

In 1995, the King of Pop himself threw it down with a 15-minute non-stop medley of his greatest hits, backed by Slash on guitar.  He had just a year earlier, revealed awkwardly at the VMA’s that he and Lisa Marie Presley were together to stay.  After that weird display, it was time for him to rise above the tabloid hype and show the world he was still the king… and he did.

Madonna Was Relevant and not a Freakish Parody of Herself!…

I am far from a Madonna fan, and I really think she is one of the biggest negative influences on pop culture in the last few decades… however, she was a real performer and she always kept it fresh.  From a creative perspective, she never failed to turn heads with her VMA performances.  From the first VMA’s performance of Like A Virgin, to Marie Antoinette inspired Vogue in 1990, to the seizure-inducing performace of Ray of Light in 1999, she always kept folks guessing.

Nirvana Lithium Performance… Heads Up!

So Nirvana is a big 90’s fixture for the VMA’s.  The most memorable performance I recall was Lithium at the ’92 VMA’s.  At the end of the song, in true “anti-establishment” fashion, the band started trashing their instruments.  This all culminated with bass player Krist Novoselic dramatically hurling his bass high in the air… the only problem was, it came back down right on his head.  Pretty funny.

A Billion Eminems… The Apocalypse Has Arrived!

Say what you will about Eminems lyrics, morals, and public image… the guy is really talented.  His creative team came up with a really clever performance in 2000, where he entered the room from the back followed by an army of white trash-clad clones.  All bleach-blond, wearing white t-shirts and jeans.  It was really cool for the kids and really frightening for America’s parents!

Bon Jovi Go Unplugged…

In 1989, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora blew minds by performing and unplugged medley of Wanted Dead or Alive, and Living On A Prayer (their best two songs in my opinion) with just two acoustic guitars.  MTV was blown away by the response and the Unglugged series was born.

What are your favorite memories?  Lets keep it music related.  We can talk about Lil Kim’s outfits some other time… on some other blog…


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