The First Music Video Played on MTV

The Beginnings of MTV

MTV started in the US and then various other localized versions started to appear around the world. While technically the answer may be different for each network, this is a question of the first music video played on MTV. The original MTV.

If you thought it was Dire Straits, then you should guess again.

Dire Straits: Money for Nothing music video
Dire Straits: Money for Nothing

Money for Nothing by Dire Straits was inspired well after MTV’s launch when Mark Knopfler apparently overheard a conversation in an electronics store. The salesman was complaining about how tough life was selling TVs – he was reported to have said words to the effect of

That’s the way you do it. You get your money for nothing and your chicks for free.

Despite being a few years old at the time, “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles was, in fact, the first music video played on MTV’s flagship network.  You can view it below.

Video Killed The Radio Star was written by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Wooley in 1977. Both the title and lyrics of the song allude to a theme of embracing technology, but worrying about its future impact.  This theme is common throughout the entire album, which also happens to be their first, entitled The Age of Plastic.

So, What Music Videos Did MTV Play After That?

In writing this post, the above question also occurred to me.  Though I bet it’s asked much less frequently.  I stumbled across an article on that listed the first 30 music videos played on MTV.

  1. Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”
  2. Pat Benatar – “You Better Run”
  3. Rod Stewart – “She Won’t Dance With Me”
  4. The Who – “You Better You Bet”
  5. PH.D – “Little Susie’s On the Top”
  6. Cliff Richards – “We Don’t Talk Anymore”
  7. Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”
  8. Todd Rundgren – “Time Heals”
  9. REO Speedwagon – “Take It On The Run”
  10. Styx – “Rockin’ the Paradise”
  11. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters – “When Things Go Wrong”
  12. Split Enz – “History Never Repeats”
  13. .38 Special – “Hold On Loosely”
  14. April Wine – “Just Between You And Me”
  15. Rod Stewart – “Sailing”
  16. Iron Maiden – “Iron Maiden”
  17. REO Speedwagon – “Keep On Loving You”
  18. Michael Johnson – “Bluer Than Blue”
  19. The Pretenders – “Message Of Love”
  20. Lee Ritenour – “Mr. Briefcase”
  21. The Cars – “Double Life”
  22. Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight”
  23. Robert Palmer – “Looking For Clues”
  24. Shoes – “Too Late”
  25. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
  26. Rod Stewart – “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”
  27. Rupert Hine – “Surface Tension”
  28. Split Enz – “One Step Ahead”
  29. Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”
  30. Pat Benatar – “I’m Gonna Follow You”

Normally, I’d create a link to the page I found this information.  I’m not going to though because when I visited this page, about 10 of the 30 music videos started playing immediately.  I found it annoying, so I’ll spare you that experience.

If you’d like to visit, you can paste this URL into your address bar: