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VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave

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MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.” Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lau MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.” Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, of course: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction attempt. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who offered him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to Ireland in his private jet. But while VJ has plenty of dish—secret romances, nude photographs, incoherent celebrities—it also reveals how four VJs grew up alongside MTV’s devoted viewers and became that generation’s trusted narrators. They tell the story of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan administration, and offer a deeper understanding of how MTV changed our culture. Or as the VJs put it: “We’re the reason you have no attention span.”

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MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.” Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lau MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.” Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, of course: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction attempt. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who offered him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to Ireland in his private jet. But while VJ has plenty of dish—secret romances, nude photographs, incoherent celebrities—it also reveals how four VJs grew up alongside MTV’s devoted viewers and became that generation’s trusted narrators. They tell the story of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan administration, and offer a deeper understanding of how MTV changed our culture. Or as the VJs put it: “We’re the reason you have no attention span.”

30 review for VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave

  1. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    I remember being a child and staring at the television set turned to MTV. The constant music videos, the fashions, the VJs… My world turned upside down. Although MTV is almost nonexistent with the music nowadays, there are some people who remember its birth: the first-generation of the channel’s VJs. Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with interview passages from deceased JJ Jackson) attempt to unveil the life of MTV in its prime with “VJ: The Unplugged Adventures I remember being a child and staring at the television set turned to MTV. The constant music videos, the fashions, the VJs… My world turned upside down. Although MTV is almost nonexistent with the music nowadays, there are some people who remember its birth: the first-generation of the channel’s VJs. Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with interview passages from deceased JJ Jackson) attempt to unveil the life of MTV in its prime with “VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave”. Unfortunately, “VJ” immediately suffers from major issues as it dives into discussing David Lee Roth, which makes no sense, and then backtracks into a more memoir-like text in order to explain the early life of each VJ. The first chapter can basically be skipped. These issues continue with a chunky format which is written as if Gavin Edwards (the contributing writer) merely interviewed the VJs and then printed his notes (“VJ” is presented in an almost question/answer form). There is no cohesive voice, tone, or proper storytelling. Each VJ describes their life with straight forwardness while lacking any details i.e. “I studied radio in college. I got married the next year”. I want to know why you studied radio? How did you meet your spouse? “VJ” lacks editing, to say the least. Due to “VJ” being written in an interview format, just as the reader is ‘getting into’ one VJ’s story, the text moves onto another VJ’s version/point of view. This would work if the VJs played off of one another’s stories/energies but it is very clear that they were interviewed separately. Plus, Edwards did not mesh each story together and therefore some of the VJs are terrible storytellers while some others clearly posses more skill (Martha Quinn). This, again, contributes to chunkiness and causes the reader to stray. Although “VJ” contains some interesting facts/blurbs (blurbs is all they are), plus some random supplements such as newspaper articles or letters; overall the content is shallow and one-dimensional. The ‘real’ VJs or MTV is never revealed and each chapter is vain, repeating various groupie-esque stories. All the VJs thought themselves to be stars and that every artist in the music industry “liked” them (or wanted to have sex with them). This is repetitive, annoying, and paints very conceited individuals, leaving many unanswered questions. Also frustrating, is the lack of chronology. “VJ” focuses on themes and event recall versus a timeline which results in confusion and back-and-forth time period jumps which also adds to not being able to truly get to know the VJs or to get a clear view of the MTV days. Again: very shallow. The final chapters of “VJ” were the strongest, encompassing more emotion and depth than the entire book. Had “VJ” flowed in such a manner the whole time, the book would have been strengthened (at least it ended on a stronger note). On a slight positive note, “VJ” contains a few pages of photographs (although in black and white). Overall, “VJ” is a mess of a sloppy format (basically an extended magazine article), shallow, pretentious, and one-dimensional stories, and poor writing. Readers won’t learn about the psyche of the VJs or about MTV history. The idea behind “VJ” may have been unique but the execution is terrible and the VJs themselves are not compelling people (or at least they aren’t presented in a great light). Unless you are looking for a super quick and empty (I stress empty) book; “VJ” can be skipped.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    If you know anything about the early days of MTV this book will seem redundant and even incomplete--it takes long-told stories of the five VJs and puts them on paper in oral history form. It's poorly edited (including mistakes such as spelling Kathie Lee's name wrong and calling MTV an "acronym") and somewhat unorganized. The chapters are often too short and the subjects covered barely skim the surface of what it was like to work for the cable network. The only good thing about the book is that t If you know anything about the early days of MTV this book will seem redundant and even incomplete--it takes long-told stories of the five VJs and puts them on paper in oral history form. It's poorly edited (including mistakes such as spelling Kathie Lee's name wrong and calling MTV an "acronym") and somewhat unorganized. The chapters are often too short and the subjects covered barely skim the surface of what it was like to work for the cable network. The only good thing about the book is that the four living VJs provide insight into the corporate structure, where creator Robert Pittman paid them very little and refused to let them become stars. Pittman, who is thought of as a creative genius, actually shows early signs of being a corporate tyrant that he went on to repeat in his future positions at major entertainment companies. There are a couple of fun stories in the book, such as the fact that Alan Hunter got his job because his minister father-in-law was best friend's with Pittman's minister dad. (It's ironic that Hunter, the worst of the five when he started, became the last one of the group to leave.) But most of this is rehash of things you've seen in MTV specials or other books. If you know nothing about the early days of the channel this might be of interest if you like an oral history format. Otherwise the format is a distracting method that needs more narrative and content to make it worthwhile. Namely, the book is as shallow as the song introductions made by the VJs in those early days of MTV.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hank Stuever

    I had a great time Saturday (May 18) moderating a discussion about this book with Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood at the Gaithersburg Book Festival; but I would have read it anyhow. No need to bug you with my own stories of growing up smack in the zone of the MTV generation (I was 13 when the network debuted; it was on wherever I went in high school, except in the high school). This is a great nostalgia trip, yes, but it's also kind of a heartbreaking and genuine story about four people caught u I had a great time Saturday (May 18) moderating a discussion about this book with Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood at the Gaithersburg Book Festival; but I would have read it anyhow. No need to bug you with my own stories of growing up smack in the zone of the MTV generation (I was 13 when the network debuted; it was on wherever I went in high school, except in the high school). This is a great nostalgia trip, yes, but it's also kind of a heartbreaking and genuine story about four people caught up in something much, much bigger than all of us, and how that went on affecting them. It's also a study of how four people can remember the same event in four different ways. Full of gems.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    Considering the fact that I was one of those teenagers glued to the screen for hours at a time at the start of MTV, I was happy to see this book for the chance to go behind the scenes. I had no clue about the ins and outs of any of it nor the lives of the VJs and boy was I schooled here. Recommended for fans of MTV, when it really was MTV.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jolie Lindley

    I can't believe I missed this book when it came out a few years ago, but I picked it up on sale at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. I started it on the plane ride home and finished it the next day. I love everything about music, and I worked in radio promotions in college, so this appealed to me immensely. I was also entering my teen years at the dawn of MTV, and it was a lifeline for me since I lived in a small town where we could barely pick up any radio stations worth listening to, and t I can't believe I missed this book when it came out a few years ago, but I picked it up on sale at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. I started it on the plane ride home and finished it the next day. I love everything about music, and I worked in radio promotions in college, so this appealed to me immensely. I was also entering my teen years at the dawn of MTV, and it was a lifeline for me since I lived in a small town where we could barely pick up any radio stations worth listening to, and the majority of people didn't listen to the music I was drawn to. I still have hours of VHS tapes of MTV videos and interviews. I idolized this group of VJs, and I wanted to be Martha Quinn. For anyone else who was a child/teen of the 80s and loves rock and roll, this book will be a trip down nostalgia lane. The VJs tell all the behind-the-scenes stories of what it was like to launch a channel unlike anything else on television at the time period, and all the juicy details are included. (Sex, drugs and rock and roll, for sure.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    3.5 stars An advanced review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. When MTV joined the Cablevision lineup, it was the first stop I scrolled to on our cable box, that magical beige rectangle that increased our TV viewing options from six to FORTY-TWO channels. Oh, we were living large. MTV introduced me to music and bands that I rarely, if ever, heard on Jacksonville radio. Even in its infancy, MTV scooped radio by introducing us to artists who would eventually conquer several media. Th 3.5 stars An advanced review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. When MTV joined the Cablevision lineup, it was the first stop I scrolled to on our cable box, that magical beige rectangle that increased our TV viewing options from six to FORTY-TWO channels. Oh, we were living large. MTV introduced me to music and bands that I rarely, if ever, heard on Jacksonville radio. Even in its infancy, MTV scooped radio by introducing us to artists who would eventually conquer several media. That girl with half her head shaved, leading a conga line through New York City? That Australian band playing in their underwear? I didn't hear them on the radio first. To hear my parents tell it, you would have thought Satan purchased a TV network and started broadcasting on cable. Of course they hated it - I still remember the stunned, WTF expression on my father's face when Motley Crue's "Looks That Kill" aired one Saturday morning, and we couldn't switch to the next channel fast enough when my mother entered the den. They didn't want us watching us MTV; they believed some videos with questionable content were too racy and/or violent for us impressionable youths. In the network's defense, I disagreed (but it's not like a ten-year-old had a vote in this situation). Early on, many videos amounted to footage from concert films and appearances elsewhere on television. Other promotional videos may have simply featured the band in a studio or on a stage with no bells, whistles, or whores (pretty much every video Rush filmed). Also, none of us kids ended up as juvenile delinquents or criminals as a result of prolonged exposure to MTV. One of us is a vice-president of something. Today, I couldn't tell you on which channel you'll find MTV, or MTV 2 and whatever else has spawned. It's mostly crap now, and while I'm partial to good crap I go elsewhere for it. When I want to ride my mid-life crisis, I cruise through my YouTube playlists. One might argue we don't really need MTV anymore - it's no different from half the networks dependent on reality shows for ratings - and some may feel we might have done just fine without it. I personally wouldn't mind a rebirth - not necessarily to feed my appetite for nostalgia, but for an artistic marriage of video and music. When I saw VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave available, I knew I had to review it for the blog. In defending my desire to watch MTV, I had placed the original five VJs as Exhibits A through E - they looked like normal people you'd have over for dinner. There were no visible skull tattoos or piercings. You'd think between perky Martha Quinn and boyish-next-door goofball Alan Hunter I'd have a good argument for MTV not spearheading the decline of Western civilization. Thirty years later, I open to the first chapter and Alan and Mark recall doing blow with various rock stars. I wonder if my mother would allow me to watch MTV now. VJ, like Starting Over, is presented as an oral history, in that the four surviving VJ pioneers (the fifth, J.J. Jackson, is sadly no longer with us) round-robin their memories of the network's genesis and first half-decade. Of the quintet, Jackson and Goodman came to the network with the strongest backgrounds in radio and music knowledge, while Hunter, Blackwood, and Quinn were likely recruited to appeal to specific viewer demographics. Talk of money quickly establishes that this operation didn't work like Friends - it wasn't "all for one, one for all" when it came to salaries or perks. In fact, it surprised me to read how bare-bones the first VJs had it. Everybody learned on the air through trial and error, whether it was ad-libbing to fill space or appeasing a record label in order to broadcast videos. In my memory MTV seemed to run seamlessly from VJ intro to video, and back again. Bear in mind, it has been many years, and likely the VJs didn't get as much air time as I recall. If you enjoy rock gossip without having to decipher blind items, you'll find plenty to like in VJ. You'll live vicariously through four voices regaling us with tales of sex (and failed attempts at it), drugs, and awkward interviews. Want to know which of your idols was an asshole, and which Top 10 ballad Nina Blackwood inspired? There are answers within. In between the juicy bits and personal vignettes, VJ provides a nice history of the network itself and its evolution from 24/7 music to a major influence on the entertainment industry. I especially found the chapter on MTV's coverage of Live Aid interesting, since for years I had been angered by how the VJs monopolized camera time during such an event. I could see Martha Quinn on TV every damn day...why would I want to watch her dancing while Paul Frickin' McCartney was playing "Let It Be" during the London finale? It's some comfort to know that cutting to her wasn't her call. That said, I was also disappointed not to see any information on how MTV revived The Monkees. It did happen toward the end of Quinn's and Hunter's tenures, and how MTV handled the band following a FTA at an event (covered in Monkee Business) spoke volumes of the network's power to make and break musicians at the time. I am still interested in their perception of MTV as a music influence and if any other artists suffered due to the network's neglect. In the book there's mention of how MTV likely nurtured a short-attention span mentality, something that became evident personally when certain VJs left the network. Despite our general tendencies to find distraction, my memory of MTV's glory years remain strong. VJ is a fun reminder of the days video killed the radio stars...though I wonder if video is looking over its shoulder now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gayle

    Full review at: http://everydayiwritethebookblog.com/... I am 80s music-obsessed. (After all, look at the name of my blog.) When I learned that the original MTV VJs were coming out with a memoir, I knew I had to read it. I don’t read much, if any, non-fiction, but I made a happy exception in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave, told through the voices of Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, and, posthumously, the late J.J. Jackson. T Full review at: http://everydayiwritethebookblog.com/... I am 80s music-obsessed. (After all, look at the name of my blog.) When I learned that the original MTV VJs were coming out with a memoir, I knew I had to read it. I don’t read much, if any, non-fiction, but I made a happy exception in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave, told through the voices of Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, and, posthumously, the late J.J. Jackson. Those five were the original hosts on MTV when the network launched in 1981. Gavin Edwards interviewed the four and threaded together their responses to create a loose narrative detailing the six years after the fledgling network launched. There’s lots of good behind-the-scenes scoop here – what the musicians who dropped by the studio were like; the parties and concerts the VJs attended while working for MTV; how being revered by millions of high school kids affected their personal lives. It is fun to read about how clueless they all were about MTV was when they took the job, and the impact that they – and the network – eventually had on television, music, and pop culture. The interrelationships between the five, who were were very different but quickly thrust into immediate intimacy, are also pretty interesting. They each adhered to a type – the snobby music critic, the kid, the comedian, etc. – that mostly defined them throughout their tenure together. There are some funny anecdotes about how low-rent the early days were: they rented cars to go to concerts together; they didn’t even get to watch the videos before they talked about them on air; they all shared a dressing room; and they each got a clothing budget of $500 every three months. I didn’t have cable TV in the 80s (DC was very late to get cable and I was already in college when it finally happened), so I sadly missed the early years of MTV when some of my favorite artists were on heavy rotation. I spent a lot of this book feeling wistful for what could have been: afternoons after school watching Simple Minds, Police and U2 videos and getting to know these VJs as well as so many other American teenagers did.(Instead, I have been relegated to watching 80s videos on YouTube in my 40s after going to reunion tours at the 9:30 Club.) If you’re still reading this review, then VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave must appeal to you on some level. Give it a try – it’s a light but surprisingly engrossing read about a unique time at the intersection of television and music. MTV will never again be what it once was (a music video channel, for god’s sake!), and the music industry will never again be what it once was, but VJ: The Unplugged Adventures at least memorializes those bygone days. In my next life, I want to be a VJ on MTV. (That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it…)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

    Feh… You win some, you lose some. Call me jaded, slightly tetched, or a hopeless no-lifer, but as soon as I pulled “VJ” off the library shelf, I immediately sat down and hauled ass to Chapter 39 - “Love Is a Battlefield” - which, in hindsight, might just as well have been titled “I Hate Myself For Loving You” or, if Mojo Nixon had his druthers, “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin.” In one of the strangest couplings since The Captain met Tenille and one that still beggars belief 30 years on, we’re rubberne Feh… You win some, you lose some. Call me jaded, slightly tetched, or a hopeless no-lifer, but as soon as I pulled “VJ” off the library shelf, I immediately sat down and hauled ass to Chapter 39 - “Love Is a Battlefield” - which, in hindsight, might just as well have been titled “I Hate Myself For Loving You” or, if Mojo Nixon had his druthers, “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin.” In one of the strangest couplings since The Captain met Tenille and one that still beggars belief 30 years on, we’re rubberneckers to the interstate crash-and-burn that was perky-gal-on-the-go Martha Quinn’s walk on the wild side with late ex-Dead Boy/then-Lords-of-the-New-Church front man Stiv Bators, whose 1985 St. Andrew’s Hall gig in Detroit went horribly wrong when he tried fitting a round peg (a microphone) into a round hole (his ass). Unfortunately, it all flies by in the space of four generously-spaced pages and as you can imagine, it doesn’t end well for Stiv, the relationship or his life that is, eventually having his ticket punched in Paris on June 2, 1990 after somebody in the City of Light left tire tracks up his back. He managed to make it back to his apartment under his own volition only to expire later in the day. As if we really needed another reason to hate the French, eh? Twenty-three years he’s gone and I still miss the guy. Elsewhere, we’re treated to a lot of carping about salaries and perks (or the lack thereof) and life as a celebrity, tales of hoovering Class 1 narcotics, Quinn’s schoolgirl crushes on Alan Hunter and Mark Goodman, Goodman's incessant bragging about his knowledge of music, and some halfway-entertaining on-the-air and backstage encounters with the likes of Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, various Sunset Strip hair rodents, and Madonna for pity’s sake. You’ve been warned…

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    YAWN. As a child of the 80s, I hoped this book would contain all the dish and the dirt the VJs couldn't say on-air. I wanted a gossipy fun fest of details only THEY would know about all my favorite rock stars of the time. I yearned for behind-the-scenes examination of how videos were created. This book was to be the indulgent bubble gum ice cream to my usual steamed veggie literary fare. Instead, it was a lot of drab, boring, blah-blah. Did I really need to know how Martha Quinn decorated her apa YAWN. As a child of the 80s, I hoped this book would contain all the dish and the dirt the VJs couldn't say on-air. I wanted a gossipy fun fest of details only THEY would know about all my favorite rock stars of the time. I yearned for behind-the-scenes examination of how videos were created. This book was to be the indulgent bubble gum ice cream to my usual steamed veggie literary fare. Instead, it was a lot of drab, boring, blah-blah. Did I really need to know how Martha Quinn decorated her apartment? Hardly. Or how many times Alan Hunter thought he could score if only he wasn't married? Uh, no. For every 1 story about sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, there were 5 blasé ramblings of what someone wore to the US festival or the mistreatment (oh, say it isn't so!) by manipulative corporate wonks. I will say that learning how the channel struggled in the early years was interesting insight into the expansion of cable. But otherwise, a waste of time if you were hoping to bask in their glory days and of the rise of the music video. About as interesting as MTV is now.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    Oh, the memories!!!!!!!!!!! This book was a great look at the beginnings of MTV and the first VJs, actually, the best VJs. For those of you too young to remember MTV used to be Music Television and they showed music videos. Really! Not kidding ya! It was a trip down memory lane that I certainly didn't mind taking. Lots of inside stuff on how things worked, some of the stars they dealt with, and how well they got along together. The only thing missing was the late, great J.J. Jackson. Highly recommen Oh, the memories!!!!!!!!!!! This book was a great look at the beginnings of MTV and the first VJs, actually, the best VJs. For those of you too young to remember MTV used to be Music Television and they showed music videos. Really! Not kidding ya! It was a trip down memory lane that I certainly didn't mind taking. Lots of inside stuff on how things worked, some of the stars they dealt with, and how well they got along together. The only thing missing was the late, great J.J. Jackson. Highly recommended for anyone who remembers when hair was big, when it wasn't in a scrunchie, and guys wore lots of make-up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura-Anne Wright

    This was an interesting read. Although I was too young to really remember this era of MTV ( I started really watching it as a teen with the Downtown Julie Brown , Duff, Kennedy era...) I do remember the tail end of the five original VJs especially Martha Quinn when she did her return stint in the 90s . The book was written like a conversation between the four remaining VJs ( J.J died in the early 2000s) and it was like taking a walk down memory lane with them albeit a debauched, drug fueled walk This was an interesting read. Although I was too young to really remember this era of MTV ( I started really watching it as a teen with the Downtown Julie Brown , Duff, Kennedy era...) I do remember the tail end of the five original VJs especially Martha Quinn when she did her return stint in the 90s . The book was written like a conversation between the four remaining VJs ( J.J died in the early 2000s) and it was like taking a walk down memory lane with them albeit a debauched, drug fueled walk with egotistical rock stars and the, at times, equally egotistical VJs themselves ( Mark Goodman being the worst offender) It was fun to read about all the behind the scenes insanity during the early days of MTV when it was really about the music and not whatever it is today. I liked the anecdotes about the bands and artists who are so big and legendary today but back in the early 80s were just trying to get noticed. Also interesting to note how much all four of the VJs vehemently dislike Kurt Loder.. who I always liked when MTV NEWS was a thing. They thought he was a total jerk because he was a writer for Rolling Stone before going to MTV and he basically shredded the VJs in his pieces because he is a music snob which I was never aware of. All in all a fun quick read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Fluffy and fast read that made me remember why the videos were what I was in to, not the personalities. None of them come off very well in the book, so if you have fond memories of them, you may want to skip this reality check.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    (nb: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley) To those of us who grew up in the early 1980's, it's impossible not to remember MTV. The videos' quality was generally horrific--as was some of the music--but MTV was something fresh. At the core of the MTV experience were the original five VJ's: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, and Martha Quinn. My friends and I each had our favorites (Martha was one of my earliest loves), and I found tons of music I never wo (nb: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley) To those of us who grew up in the early 1980's, it's impossible not to remember MTV. The videos' quality was generally horrific--as was some of the music--but MTV was something fresh. At the core of the MTV experience were the original five VJ's: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, and Martha Quinn. My friends and I each had our favorites (Martha was one of my earliest loves), and I found tons of music I never would have heard on plain old radio. (I should note that MTV actually played music videos at the time, unlike today) "VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave" is a group memoir. The four surviving First Wavers--J.J. Jackson died St Patrick's Day, 2004--reminisce about being hired as the first VJ's, early production hardships, and the channel's rise to success. As the faces of MTV, they sometimes found themselves to be more famous than the acts whose videos they played. Part of MTV's early appeal was that it perpetrated the illusion that you weren't just sitting there watching music videos by yourself. There was somebody there, 24/7, hanging out with you. Another result was that it forever changed the way music markets itself. No longer did record companies have to schmooze individual radio stations to get airplay. If a record executive could get an artist's video into MTV's heavy rotation, that would all but guarantee nationwide sales. There is no doubt that these five hip people helped MTV become successful, even though they did nothing more than record four one-minute drop-ins per hour. Was MTV a hit because of them? Or was it simply a phenomenon whose time had come? It's hard to say. At its best, "VJ" reveals wild artist stories, as well as tales of the internecine squabbles and genuine familial love the VJ's felt for one-another. Where "VJ" bogs down is when it delves too deeply into the VJs' previous lives. In many ways, the VJ's--at least to me--were like the videos themselves. Very few people knew before, nor have cared since, the origins of The Buggles. What mattered is that they had a one-off hit called "Video Killed The Radio Star," and that it was the first video played on MTV. Deep background information on the VJs' lives only feels relevant inasmuch as it led directly to them getting hired for MTV. Hearing about one VJ's high school meth dealer? Not relevant. Also, "VJ" seems to rehash certain things constantly. Okay, we get it: Mark Goodman thinks of himself and J.J. Jackson as "music guys," while Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, and Martha Quinn are just entertainers.(When Bob Dylan specifically requested Martha Quinn do a story on his "Infidels" tour, Goodman hit the roof). Also, we understand that nearly everyone was doing cocaine in the 1980's. It's not necessary to mention every time artists and VJs were doing blow at an event. Earlier this year, I read autobiographies by Gregg Allman and Eric Clapton, both of whom describe their pre-stardom lives as well as their substance-abuse adventures. I expected this information in their biographies, and I'd have been disappointed without it, but they are artists whose music I've loved for decades. There is a difference. "VJ" shines, though, as a first-hand look into a new medium's birth and evolution. Embraced by young people and bashed by critics, MTV started off humbly, and these five people dared put their face on a product that could've failed after six months. Instead, 30+ years later, those faces are still remembered by those of us who can remember the time when video actually killed the radio star. Despite its flaws, "VJ" is worth the read, especially if you remember when these five were the collective face of MTV. (I still call dibs on Martha Quinn, though) Recommended

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shelly Williams

    As a child of the '80s, the first few chapters were kind of hard to read, because I admired and adored these VJ's with the naive eyes of a teenager. Reading about what actually went on behind the scenes was sort of like peeking behind the curtain at the Wizard, to realize he was just a normal human guy with a pot belly. However, further into the book, I got past that. The anecdotes were too short, in my opinion, but it did give you insight into each VJ's (except for J.J., since he passed away) e As a child of the '80s, the first few chapters were kind of hard to read, because I admired and adored these VJ's with the naive eyes of a teenager. Reading about what actually went on behind the scenes was sort of like peeking behind the curtain at the Wizard, to realize he was just a normal human guy with a pot belly. However, further into the book, I got past that. The anecdotes were too short, in my opinion, but it did give you insight into each VJ's (except for J.J., since he passed away) experience, so that was interesting. The last part of the book had me in tears, and it made me want to get up from the couch and google them and watch videos of the glory days of MTV. They were part of my young adulthood, and the few pictures in the center of the book - while captured in black and white - made flashbulbs of color go off in my head, because I remembered every moment of that when it happened on TV. All of it. I lived that channel, as did everyone in my high school. It was nice to take a walk down memory lane, even if some of it was uncomfortable, seeing those guys brought down off the pedestals I had put them on. I enjoyed it, and am glad it was my FIRST FINISHED book of 2014. :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rob Schorr

    There is a chapter just on David Lee Roth - enough said.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Schulman

    I received this book as a First Read through Goodreads. I love books and I love music, but something must have gone off in the algorithm because we didn't get cable in my town until 1985, when I was all of 8 years old. So I was vaguely aware of Martha Quinn, and the rest of them are like what? If it had been Adam Curry, Kurt Loder, and the Julie Browns it would have all been different. It's an interesting piece of cultural history when NYC was a little more funky and media was still daring. Nina I received this book as a First Read through Goodreads. I love books and I love music, but something must have gone off in the algorithm because we didn't get cable in my town until 1985, when I was all of 8 years old. So I was vaguely aware of Martha Quinn, and the rest of them are like what? If it had been Adam Curry, Kurt Loder, and the Julie Browns it would have all been different. It's an interesting piece of cultural history when NYC was a little more funky and media was still daring. Nina Blackwood is a naively angelic harp-player trapped in the face/body of a butt-rock video babe. Martha Quinn comes off like a rich girl playing at life. I kept getting the guys mixed up. So, yeah. Also, I was blown away that these professional music people would be all about Foreigner and David Lee Roth and not "get" Ray Davies. Thank God the 90s happened.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Randy Briggs

    I received this book as a First Read through Goodreads. I was a junior in high school when MTV first aired, and I distinctly remember sitting in front of my friend's television for the first transmission . It remained a big part of my life, until the format changed from music videos to lame reality shows. As Gavin Edwards puts it in the intro: "If you grew up when MTV was a logical acronym instead of a cruel joke, you probably had a similar epiphany." He's referring to the moment when you felt as I received this book as a First Read through Goodreads. I was a junior in high school when MTV first aired, and I distinctly remember sitting in front of my friend's television for the first transmission . It remained a big part of my life, until the format changed from music videos to lame reality shows. As Gavin Edwards puts it in the intro: "If you grew up when MTV was a logical acronym instead of a cruel joke, you probably had a similar epiphany." He's referring to the moment when you felt as if all art, music, and film had just served as a preamble to this moment in history. I liked the book, especially the backstage gossip. The personal anecdotal style was a little choppy, and sometimes repetitive, but overall a fun and informative read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A fun trip down memory lane (if you are of a certain age!). It was nice to get the VJ's side of things. I had heard before that they had really shafting contracts. A shame. But what interesting tidbits there are in this book! Mark used to be a dealer?! Nina was painfully shy?! Every guy in the world wanted to sleep with Martha? (okay, everyone knew that) David Lee Roth had a color-coded system for getting hot chicks backstage? Who knew David Lee Roth was into chicks? (I kid.) It made me a bit je A fun trip down memory lane (if you are of a certain age!). It was nice to get the VJ's side of things. I had heard before that they had really shafting contracts. A shame. But what interesting tidbits there are in this book! Mark used to be a dealer?! Nina was painfully shy?! Every guy in the world wanted to sleep with Martha? (okay, everyone knew that) David Lee Roth had a color-coded system for getting hot chicks backstage? Who knew David Lee Roth was into chicks? (I kid.) It made me a bit jealous to read of Nina's fling with my many-many-years-ago crush John Waite! This book is a fast read and not too taxing on the brain. But enjoyable in a light way nevertheless.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michele Buono

    Reading VJ: The Unplugged Adventures... was like being able to take a peek behind the curtain at the early years of MTV, when it really was Music Television. And wow. It really WAS sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. I miss the golden days of MTV, when I could flip on the channel and watch music videos. Of course, I thought the VJs were watching right along with us. Spoiler alert, it turns out they weren't. This book is a series of recollections arranged by chapter about what the original VJs' lives we Reading VJ: The Unplugged Adventures... was like being able to take a peek behind the curtain at the early years of MTV, when it really was Music Television. And wow. It really WAS sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. I miss the golden days of MTV, when I could flip on the channel and watch music videos. Of course, I thought the VJs were watching right along with us. Spoiler alert, it turns out they weren't. This book is a series of recollections arranged by chapter about what the original VJs' lives were like before, during and after their stints at MTV. I don't know that it was such a good idea for me to read this book, since it tarnished them a bit in my mind.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carlea

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you were a child of the 80s who grew up with MTV (when it still played music), you won't be able to get enough of the inside gossip and stories. The only thing that could have made this better (keep in mind I read this on a kindle) would have been to utilize some multimedia aspects and provide links to some of the interviews that the VJs reference in the book. I found myself heading to YouTube many times trying to find what I was reading about. A fun read. Grea I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you were a child of the 80s who grew up with MTV (when it still played music), you won't be able to get enough of the inside gossip and stories. The only thing that could have made this better (keep in mind I read this on a kindle) would have been to utilize some multimedia aspects and provide links to some of the interviews that the VJs reference in the book. I found myself heading to YouTube many times trying to find what I was reading about. A fun read. Great for the summer.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James

    Read this over my vacation a week ago. Was a really quick and enjoyable read. It really brought back a lot of memories as I read it. It was a little disconcerting to read that the guys were a bunch of coke heads. I don't think I started watching MTV till about 1982. The book does a good job describing that era. Martha Quinn comes across exactly as she is/was as a VJ! Nice to know that what you see is what you get. Also fascinating to know that Nina Blackwood plays the harp. Never would've guesse Read this over my vacation a week ago. Was a really quick and enjoyable read. It really brought back a lot of memories as I read it. It was a little disconcerting to read that the guys were a bunch of coke heads. I don't think I started watching MTV till about 1982. The book does a good job describing that era. Martha Quinn comes across exactly as she is/was as a VJ! Nice to know that what you see is what you get. Also fascinating to know that Nina Blackwood plays the harp. Never would've guessed that. Anyway, definitely worth a summer read this year.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Len O'Kelly

    I tore through this in one night. Couldn't put it down. I couldn't get over how much I remembered from the stories the Vjs told. It's also a telling tale of the broadcasting business that I'd like for my students to read. (Of course, they'll have to learn first that the M in MTV was for "music".) The format is a round-table discussion with the four, and you come away with the feeling that they're good friends (although perhaps that wasn't always the case).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    Having fond memories of MTV from its glory days of the 1980s, I was curious about this memoir from four of the original five VJs (video disc jockeys). Big disappointment: apart from some fun anecdotes about celebrity interviews, and how each of them was originally hired, the vast majority of this trip down memory lane was vapid and inane, and I wasn't impressed by the boozing, drug-using, and women-abusing men of the group, and how proud they seemed to be by their own exploits. Not recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Maenle

    What a disappointment. Instead of some real insight into my once beloved MTV, this is an airing of the grievances of the VJS, for the most part, and a recounting of all the coke they did. Who knew Mark Goodman was such a cavalier drug user? Not I, and I would have preferred to remain blissfully ignorant.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelley (Choco Wino)

    A very entertaining book, even though I wasn't familiar with any of the VJs in advance (I grew up loving '80s videos, but didn't have MTV in the early years). It was still a great ride down memory lane even if my memories weren't of them in particular. It also had a few surprisingly touching moments about the VJs' loves and losses. If you like oral histories, this is a good one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

    Fun read. This puts you back in the 80's when MTV was all shiny and new. I also liked all the different viewpoints. It gives the VJ'S prospectives more credibility while at the same time making you feel part of the scene they're living.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    The memories are faded but man they're really coming back.... I enjoyed the memories. The story of the original VJs was quite conceited. How the hell was Mark Goodman the "hunk"? And how dare they dis Kurt Loder?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sammi Fredenburg

    not bad. i like the interactive style of writing. definitely gets into the sausage-making aspect of early MTV video tv.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Niklas Pivic

    "If you grew up when MTV was a logical acronym instead of a cruel joke, you probably had a similar epiphany." This book is a compilation of interviews with the first five (American) MTV VJs, weaving a tale of make-up-as-you-go-along and a lot of laughs and a lot of sorrow. All in all though, they're not (very) bitter, and even though this is a large collection of anecdotes, there are some very honest, wonderful and damn-the-1980s-were-sweet words on all that happened, from the days of when MTV wa "If you grew up when MTV was a logical acronym instead of a cruel joke, you probably had a similar epiphany." This book is a compilation of interviews with the first five (American) MTV VJs, weaving a tale of make-up-as-you-go-along and a lot of laughs and a lot of sorrow. All in all though, they're not (very) bitter, and even though this is a large collection of anecdotes, there are some very honest, wonderful and damn-the-1980s-were-sweet words on all that happened, from the days of when MTV was cobbled together by a few minds, where it was found to be a pillar of racism (where videos were concerned, at the very least) into becoming the behemoth that it is today. A few weeks later, I came home from some other audition, about to go work at the bar. I hadn’t heard a lot of good feedback that summer—I had been in the Bowie video and Annie, and that was about it. Rejection, that’s the actor’s life. I checked the messages on my answering machine. Sue Steinberg had left a message, saying they wanted to offer me the job. It made no sense at all. In a state of total disbelief, I went to meet with Sue. It didn’t appear to be a joke or a mistake: She told me how much they would pay me and gave me an envelope with five hundred dollars cash in it to buy some clothes. Totally overwhelmed, I walked home to Jan. I shuffled across the room like a zombie, collapsed on the bed, and said, “Oh my God, Jan, this is fucking real.” We both cried: I had a steady gig in New York. The weight of the world was off our shoulders. We could buy a new couch. I found out many years later that they cast us as types. According to Sue Steinberg, my niche was that I was the hunk. Which I didn’t necessarily agree with, but thank you for the compliment. J. J. was the benign black guy, Nina was the video vamp, Alan was the jock, and Martha was the girl next door that every executive wanted to fuck. Meg Griffin told me that the day she was supposed to sign her contract, she overheard Bob Pittman on the phone in the next room, only his list was a little different: “We’ve got our black guy, our Jew, our vixen, and our jock.” Alan: One of my first interviews was with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, when they reunited for a free concert in Central Park. I was excited—I used to listen to my big brothers’ Simon and Garfunkel albums and I dug their music. I studied, and wrote questions with the producer. When they sat down, Paul Simon pegged me right off the bat as a twenty-four-year-old pup. Every question I asked, he answered yes or no or “Why do you ask that, Alan?” I was sweating, and Art was embarrassed because Paul was beating up on me so bad. He kept saying, “Come on, Paul, be nice.” Seems like interviewing Frank Zappa wasn't easy at times: Nina: My worst moment was interviewing Frank Zappa. There’s nothing else even close to it in my whole career. Mark: Three months in, Nina hosted a show in New York that was broadcast live, a concert with Frank Zappa on Halloween. Zappa ripped her to shreds and she didn’t even realize it. Nina: He gave me trouble from the rehearsal on. He was just condescending and rude the whole time. I came in wearing a beautiful handmade poncho from Argentina, and he kneeled down in front of me, like he was pretending to be a midget, because I was shorter than he was! He sarcastically called me the “little MTV lady.” I had some experience interviewing the punks in L.A., but they were nothing compared to that obnoxious guy: He asked me to jump up and down on camera. If it happened today, I could put him in his place, but back then, I did not know how to handle it. As soon as the camera went off, I ran into the bathroom, not wanting to come out. I just was not ready for him. Alan: People loved Nina’s vulnerability and her sweet nature. She didn’t do well with people who were being dicks—she got flustered and gave everybody the benefit of the doubt. She wasn’t made to be around people with a mean or cynical spirit. Nina: J. J. probably should have done the interview. Zappa never would have acted that way with him. Mark, possibly. Al and Martha, it would have been the same as me, if not worse. Martha: When I hosted a show with Zappa years later, he was a doll. Maybe he liked that I could quote from the Mothers’ Fillmore album, or maybe he was comfortable because we were shooting at his house up in the Hollywood Hills. I’m sure if he met Nina in different circumstances, they would have gotten along great. Alan: It wasn’t a fair match. Afterward, J. J. said, “He’s a beast for anybody.” I was a big Zappa fan, but when I interviewed him, a few years later, he was a total jerk. “Yes.” “No.” “Why would you ask that, Alan?” “Well, that’s a stupid question.” Two weeks later, he came back to the studio with his daughter, Moon Unit Zappa. She was doing a guest VJ spot and she told him he owed me an apology. He said, “I was just feeling ornery that day.” Mark: When Nina was hired, she was the video vamp, she was a hottie, and she was going to be the number one jock. She was perfect for what they had in mind, and they gave her a great time slot. That Zappa show was a big black mark on her record, and after that, she was on from 4 A.M. to 8 A.M. Everyone else had longer shifts and better times. They really kicked her hard for it. She was so insecure after that, and I don’t think she ever really fully recovered from it. Alan: We all felt really bad about Nina’s fall from grace. Nina: Years later, Mark told me about how it affected my career at MTV, but I was blissfully unaware of it at the time. Nobody in management ever said anything about it to me. Nobody ever said, “Well, next time, if you run into somebody like that, you should do this.” Not that there was anybody else quite as obnoxious as that. I just knew it was a fiasco. I had never been publicly humiliated like that, and it undermined my confidence. I wanted to hide forever. I wish there had been somebody there to support me, or a producer to slap him around. What were they doing? Because I know I was running into the bathroom by myself. Five entertaining things about Billy Joel’s “Pressure” video, which seemed spooky and portentous in 1982 and is pants-wettingly funny now: 1. Billy writhes around in his leather jacket, attempting to simulate electroshock. 2. A car splashes water on Billy’s shoes—replayed repeatedly in slo-mo, as if it’s a presidential assassination. 3. Billy gets pulled into a white shag rug that appears to be made of quicksand. 4. A little kid gets sucked into a TV set, Poltergeist style—accompanied, for some reason, by a wide array of vegetables. 5. Billy appears on a game show, introduced by this on-screen text: “William Joel / Age: 29 / Occupation: Computer Software / Intersts [sic]: fast bikes, cooking, water sports, satellite.” His actual age at the time of the video: 33. Some words of the racism of MTV: Mark: Before Let’s Dance came out, David Bowie did a press junket in a hotel room. It was one of those deals where interviewers file in one at a time. I had interviewed him before, on the radio, but I’m sure he didn’t remember me. I said, “I have some tough questions for you, David—I hope you’re ready.” And he said, “Ha, great, because at the end I’d like to ask you some punishing questions as well.” That comment just blew by me. At the end of the interview, he started asking me why there was such a dearth of black music on MTV. I said, not trying to toe the corporate line but honestly, “Listen, if this was a radio station, we’d be a rock station. It wouldn’t make sense for us to play stuff that isn’t in our format.” The conversation got around to Bowie saying, “Don’t you think there are black kids in the audience who would like to see some of these videos?” I said, “Well, I guess so, but this is what we do, and we have to think about the audience that has cable.” A lot of times we were finding that cable’s heaviest subscribers were in rural areas where they couldn’t get any television reception at all, out in Oklahoma or whatever—not usually your biggest fans of urban music. Bowie was hammering me, and I was trying to defend the network—but it was an awkward position, and I was looking around for some help. Gale Sparrow in the talent department was there, as was John Sykes, one of our big executives, but nobody was stepping forward. Ultimately, they cut that part of the interview out. I think they did air it years later, which is okay with me. What irritated me was that I felt like a pawn. I had no say over what MTV played—I wasn’t an executive. And Bowie knew what the situation was. He knew John Sykes, and he knew a lot of the other principals. He was just using me to bring this issue into the forefront. I felt like an idiot, and I felt used, and I felt insignificant to David Bowie—which I probably was, anyway. It wasn’t my finest moment. As I thought about it afterward, I worried that I looked stupid to Bowie, and to the people around me. And I wondered if there actually was an issue. J. J. and I talked about it. He was a rocker, but what he said to me—which I hadn’t really thought about—was that we were playing white people who were basically doing black music. Even Bowie, to some extent. Why wouldn’t we play black artists doing music in the same style? I also interviewed Ozzy in his trailer. I wanted to smoke pot with him, but Sharon, his wife and manager, was really terrifying. She was in rare form that day, having a huge argument with Bill Graham, and I didn’t want her to focus on me instead. Ozzy was nearly incomprehensible, but also funny and lovable, like a whacked-out uncle. In the middle of our interview, there was a power failure, and every light in the trailer went out. Sitting in total darkness but not missing a beat, Ozzy shouted, “Keep pedaling, Sharon!” Nina: I was lucky that during our time in the public eye, it wasn’t like it is today with all the cameras and TMZ. I wouldn’t have survived that. MARTHA QUINN: “What kind of audiences have been coming to the shows?” BOB DYLAN: “Mostly foreign audiences. In France, we had mostly French audiences. In Spain, we had a lot of Spanish audiences. In Germany, there were German audiences.” MARTHA QUINN: (deadpan) “What about Italy?” Mark: The craziest promo I did was “Asia in Asia,” where you went to see the band Asia play at the Budokan arena in Japan. It was a very, very long flight to Tokyo, and I was sitting next to the winner, this girl from somewhere in the middle of America, who I hooked up with in the bathroom. When I traveled around the country and went to shows, sometimes I would see a good-looking girl, and I could see she was the prettiest girl at her high school, and there was something really charming about that—an innocence that wasn’t there with girls from New York or L.A. This girl was like that: She was cute, she was funny. I got to know her for a couple of hours, and I’m sure a lot of alcohol was involved. We were in first class, so we got free drinks and felt like we were getting crazy, like the rock stars. I said, “Why don’t you go back in the bathroom, and I’ll meet you back there.” We casually slipped into the bathroom—at least, I think we were casual—and started to grope and unbutton and unzip. We tried to have sex, but our balance sucked, and we kept bonking our heads on mirrors and getting leg cramps. It was kind of fun, but incredibly uncomfortable. The mile-high club is great in theory, but not in practice. That was just the beginning of the insanity. We stayed at the Akasaka Prince hotel, which was beautiful. But nobody in Tokyo spoke English, and all the signs were in Japanese, so I felt even more disconnected, like I had wandered into a scene from Lost in Translation. I was there with the MTV crew and executives—the A&R guy from the label knew a geisha house in the Kawasaki district. They said it was the one that the mayor of Tokyo would go to. I wanted to go—not necessarily because I wanted to get laid, but because I wanted to have the experience of a geisha house. And at the end, an executive put the whole thing on his card, which was a great joy to me. MTV picked up the tab for my first hooker! Martha: In the beginning, everyone told us MTV wouldn’t last. As it turns out, they were right—our MTV doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no videos on the channel now: It’s Jersey Shore and Teen Mom and My Super Sweet 16. Recently, I was shopping at my local farm stand, and the farmer introduced me to a teenage girl. He told her, “This is Martha Quinn—she used to be on MTV.” She said, “Really? What show?” Mark: We’re the reason you have no attention span. And you can pin reality TV on us too. You’re welcome.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    It's an interesting stroll down memory lane for those who remember when MTV actually played music and remember the original hosts who made history. While the style of the book is a bit odd it works fairly well. Instead of it being a straight up bio that gets bogged down by too much detail, you get interviews instead. Each interview ties in with a topic and you get the memories instead of a daily rundown of each VJ's life at that moment. While we often wondered what it was like to be on MTV we g It's an interesting stroll down memory lane for those who remember when MTV actually played music and remember the original hosts who made history. While the style of the book is a bit odd it works fairly well. Instead of it being a straight up bio that gets bogged down by too much detail, you get interviews instead. Each interview ties in with a topic and you get the memories instead of a daily rundown of each VJ's life at that moment. While we often wondered what it was like to be on MTV we get a behind the scene glimpse and it's interesting to the say the least. The format is what makes it unique and the personal stories from the hosts are interesting to say the least. While you do get a little dirt, and of course the usual stories about drugs (it was the 80's), but it's nothing that would upset or offend anyone. The problem with the book is that it wouldn't be interesting to anyone who watches the channel now because the music has been gone from the channel for a while now so it's more or less for those who want to remember a huge part of their adolescence. We all can remember how hot Martha Quinn was and let's be honest here, she's still hot. Is the book a must read? Not really and most people would find it boring which is odd given how important MTV used to be.

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