The One about Rob Tannebaum and Craig Marks’ “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution: Revised with New Interviews”


(Originally Reviewed on October 9, 2012)

I was one of those young kids who grew up with MTV.

I can easily remember those days of watching Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video during the premiere, multiple times throughout the day. I can easily remember watching Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth” and “Girls on Film” and just amazed of how cool they look and wanted to dress like them. Seeing David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and being mesmerized by the video, to watching the Police “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and going out surfing during my grom years and loving the Police and seeing this group of hot young women known as The Go-Go’s singing “Our Lips are Sealed” and jumping into a fountain.

I remember watching Friday Night Videos and wondering if Michael Jackson would beat Def Leppard or Quiet Riot’s “Cum on Feel the Noize”. Or being titillated with videos such from Van Halen’s “Too Hot for Teacher”, ZZ Top’s “She Got Legs” and being introduced to R&B videos with Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie” or New Edition’s “Cool It Now”.

I can easily remember being scared by watching The Scorpions “Rock You Like a Hurricane” or seeing Eurythmics and Annie Lennox with a shaved red head singing “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” and me and my friends hiding behind the couch because we were freaked out about it.

I can remember Music Videos being part of my life, Spring Break MTV being part of my life as teenager and seeing shows such as “Remote Control” and later on, “Beavis & Butthead” and then question the decline of MTV which now became more of a reality TV show channel and less about the music.

Sure, I tuned into MTV once in awhile within the last decade to watch an award show or to see what was the hype of a certain reality TV show but the MTV today, is nothing like the MTV that I grew up with.

Back then, people were proud to say “I want my MTV!” and for those nostalgic of those years will definitely want to read the newly revised edition of Rob Tannebaum and Craig Marks popular book, “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution”.

The book includes so many people who were part of the MTV generation. Included are the following chapters:

PART 1: Pictures Came and Broke Your Heart – “Video Killed the Radio Star” to “Thriller” (1981-1983)

PART 2: I Play My Part and You Play Your Game – “Burning Up” to “Here I Go Again” (1983-1987)

PART 3: Where Do We Go Now – “With or Without You” to “U Can’t Touch This” (1987-1990)

PART 4: Nothing Lasts Forever, and We Both Know Hearts Can Change – “Justify My Love” to “Jeremy” (1990-1992)

What Tannebaum and Marks were able to bring to this book is validity. From bringing in those who worked at MTV behind-the-scenes and made those important decisions, those who were VJ’s at MTV, the music label execs to the artists themselves.

And the way the book is presented is by subject of a certain time period. Instead of written via paragraph after paragraph, important people related to that artist or song would chime in with a quote. And these are not a few quotes, the authors of the book made sure they had as much information as possible.

In fact, I would go so far to say that if you watched any music videos from the ’80s, you will get a ton of behind-the-scenes information. Information that is fascinating, exciting and also shocking!

Here are a few excerpts from the book:

Stevie Nicks on “Gypsy”: “There’s a scene in ‘Gypsy’ where Lindsey and I are dancing. And we weren’t getting along very well then. I didn’t want to be anywhere near Lindsey; I certainly didn’t want to be in his arms. If you watch the video, you’ll see I wasn’t happy. And he wasn’t a very good dancer.”

Dave Holmes about Duran Duran’s “Rio” and Nick Rhodes: The clothes were beautiful, they were on a yacht. It was an escape to a beautiful place with beautiful people, which is what all of television is now. It blew my mind that girls were attracted to Nick Rhodes, because he was so feminine looking. It just didn’t seem right. Up to that point, men hadn’t been erotic.

Dave Mallet on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”: We shot in a bar i the morning and it was one hundred degrees outside. The people in the bar hated us, absolutely hated us. We were Fa**ots from somewhere, and they were horrified that we had a young, attractive Aborigine girl in there, because they thought Aborigines were lower than dirt. She was dancing, and in order to show their hatred they started imitating her. I said, “Quick, film them.” It looked as if they were enjoying themselves. Actually, it was a dance of pure hatred.”

Susan Silverman on Madonna’s first introduction: Madonna came into our office on a skateboard, all sweaty and dirty. I was like, “Shit, what’s with this girl?” She went to see Bob Regehr – a big product manager at Warner Bros. – and left a note on his bulletin board that said, “Sorry I missed you, because I’m going to be a star.”

Cindy Lauper on “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun”: I had women of every race in my videos, especially “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” so that every girl who saw the video would see herself represented and empowered, whether she was thin or heavy, glamorous or not. I absolutely did not use sex to sell my first album, even though I sang a song about female masturbation.

Pat Benatar on “Love is a Battlefield”: So there I was, like, “Oh good Christ, what have I gotten myself into?” I hated it so much, I was crying. I’m happy I did it, but I can’t say there was one moment when it was pleasant. When I do the song live now, I go back by the drums and do the Battlefield” dance for like eight seconds, and the crowd goes nuts.

Tamara Davis on New Kids on the Block: I started hanging out with them, listening to what they wanted to do. They were having a crazy time, sleeping with lots of different girls every night. I was saying, “You guys better have condoms.” They were totally unsupervised and had everything they wanted, as much as they wanted. Even the record company girls were trying to sleep with them.

And there are so many behind-the-scenes quotes from the music videos and directors from many artists and bands, that I was impressed that so much was included in this book.

This is an awesome book and I recommend those who grew up watching MTV or music videos from the ’80s to ’90s to get this book!!! Highly recommended!