MTV First Video Music Awards: A look back
MTV First Video Music Awards: A look back

On September 14, 1984, MTV broadcast its very first VMAs — an event that became historic for another female performer’s on-stage antics. Madonna — who had only released her debut album a year before — performed a brand new little ditty called “Like A Virgin.”

While her manager congratulated her on ruining her career that night, history would prove that Madonna’s memorable performance at the inaugural VMAs would go down in the books as a career-launcher and an instant classic.

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Rob Tannenbaum — author of I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution — looks back at other memorable moments from the station’s first awards ceremony, and at some of the biggest music videos celebrated that year.

Herbie Hancock’s robot-centric video for “Rockit” won five awards that night, beating out Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The Cars won Video of the Year for “You Might Think” – a video that was one of the first to ever use computer graphics, costing a whopping $80,000 to make.

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