Larry Martino

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MTV’s First Day of Broadcasting: August 1, 1981.

At 12:01am on that day, a few lucky households in New Jersey who were hooked up to cable TV, were able to hear that famous opening line: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”

It wasn’t until the summer of 1982 that I was first able to watch MTV, and I was absolutely mesmerized. I had just started my professional radio career, and I thought to myself: “Man, wouldn’t it be great to be an MTV VJ!” I was a DJ (disc jockey), but a VJ (video jockey) sounded much cooler. Alas, that is not the direction by career would take, and looking back, that’s just fine with me.

But, I still admire the pioneering video jockeys during the early days of MTV. No one had ever done that job before. Who do you learn from? Who trains you? What am I supposed to do when I get on set? What do I say? Where do I look? I’m sure they went through weeks of training, but there still were no mentors who had actually done the job before to which they could compare themselves.

Those five pioneers, J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, and Alan Hunter. In 1998, the MTV program “Ultrasound” got the original VJ’s together to reminisce about those early days and tell the story of the launch of the cable channel that changed the face of popular music forever. If you have a half hour to kill, it’s pretty interesting to hear their side of the story. It’s also great to see and hear all of those recording artists who were popular during those early days of MTV in interviews and on stage.

So, without further ado: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”

 

 

 

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Larry Martino is the long-time Afternoon Drive personality on 96.3 KKLZ. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Larry Martino and not necessarily those of Beasley Media Group, LLC.

Duran Duran: Ranking the 7 Music Videos of 'Rio'

Duran Duran released their second album Rio on May 10, 1982. Even decades after its release, Rio can still be found at the intersection of style and substance. It’s pop/rock perfection in a lean nine-track package that can still cause the masses to dance their asses off while also finding time for introspection.

Perhaps the prime examples of the album’s mix of style and substance came with its music videos, which thanks to the launch of MTV, helped catapult Duran Duran to stardom not just in the United State but worldwide.

To celebrate the anniversary of this album and Duran Duran's upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, here are the seven music videos from Rio ranked.

  • 7. ‘My Own Way’

    The video for “My Own Way” was a pretty easy choice for last place. It’s not a bad video, per se, but compared to the rest of the evocative videos that make up this list, a flashy performance video just doesn’t measure up.

  • 6. ‘Lonely In Your Nightmare’ (Version 2)

    Fun fact: There are two versions of the “Lonely In Your Nightmare” music video! While both share the same narrative, “Version 2” features fewer interactions between Simon Le Bon and model Vanya Seager and is, thus, far less sensual.

  • 5. ‘Save A Prayer’

    “Save A Prayer” is the third single from Rio and the second video in the Russell Mulcahy trilogy from the LP, with the other videos being “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio.” The trilogy was filmed with Sri Lanka, with the video highlighting various beach views, Buddhist temple ruins and, of course, John Taylor getting water sprayed on him by on elephant. While that latter part is certainly whimsical, the video, itself, still maintains a sense of melancholy as echoed in the tender song about a one-night stand.

  • 4. ‘Lonely In Your Nightmare’

    The magic of the “Lonely In Your Nightmare” video is the chemistry between Simon Le Bon and model Vanya Seager, and the various points in the video where Le Bon gently sings in Seager’s ear, “Because you’re lonely in your nightmare/Let me in.” It’s a type of heat that still holds up today.

  • 3. ‘The Chauffeur’

    This noir-style music video is too risqué to post due to NSFW imagery, but it’s certainly worth a watch as it is beautifully shot and incredibly sexy without being exploitive. (You can watch it here for yourself.)

    Before Rio, Duran Duran made waves with the music video for “Girls On Film,” which even director Kevin Godley told Yahoo, “I don’t honestly think it would get made today…Let’s face it, it was emblematic of the time, more than anything else.” However, the videos for Rio took a distinct turn. As Yahoo Music Editor in Chief Lyndsey Parker noted in a retrospective in honor of Rio‘s 40th anniversary, “Part of Rio’s appeal for female fans was undoubtedly its pro-woman imagery. Along with the [Patrick] Nagel [album] cover, the band’s bold music video castings…always depicted strong, self-assured women, almost like Nagel ladies sprung to life. This was a welcome contrast from the usual video vixens that starred other exploitative clips of the era.”

  • 2. ‘Rio’

    Finally! A depiction of yachting that doesn’t look like a WASP-y Ralph Lauren ad! For real, if sailing was actually as sexy like what we saw in the video for “Rio,” much more of us would be inclined to take to the sea. (At least this writer would.) Between the cheeky phone scene to John Taylor’s brief fantasy sequence to the sight of Simon Le Bon in a speedo, “Rio” is a picturesque delight.

  • 1. 'Hungry Like the Wolf'

    It’s the song and music video that truly broke Duran Duran in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. Inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark, Andy Taylor would perfectly describe the video in his 2008 memoir Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran as “Indiana Jones is horny and wants to get laid.” One look at stunning model Sheila Ming, and yeah…you can understand the motive. Add in that iconic table flip and you have one of the greatest music videos of all time.