The first rock artist to perform in an "unplugged" mode on MTV was Jethro Tull who appeared on November 17, 1987 as an acoustic trio. XTC performed acoustically in May 1989, and Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora performed "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive" during the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.
The very first MTV Unplugged show was recorded in New York on 31 October 1989 and featured UK band Squeeze, Syd Straw (whatever happened to Syd?), and Elliot Easton, followed by The Smithereens and Graham Parker a couple of weeks later. By the end of 1990 The Allman Brothers Band, Aerosmith, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Don Henley, The Black Crowes, Elton John, and Crowded House had all made appearances on the show.
Whatever happened to MTV? I remember watching MTV for the first time when I was staying in a hotel in Norway in the middle '80s. I couldn't believe it — here was this channel playing back-to-back videos, some better than others — but to watch these mostly expensive, wellshot music videos was a treat. But now, MTV is a long way away from breaking any new bands or new acts. Reality TV is the name of the game.
Over its first year on the air, MTV struggled to win over advertising clients and record labels alike, poor ratings threatened to crush MTV before it could even get off the ground. With their backs to the wall, MTV execs made a power move, calling on the most legendary name in advertising. Soon after George Lois delivered a pitch for a campaign that would send Music Televison into our homes. The slogan couldn’t have been simpler: “I Want My MTV!”
Come on, MTV, bring us something new, you must have some new ideas you could try out on us. We need proper music on TV; at one time we thought you were here to save us, but in a new world of Spotify, X Factor and YouTube, it all seems like a distant dream.
I want my MTV!
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