Larry Martino

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Do you remember watching the MTV Video Music Awards the first year they were presented in 1984?

This year’s MTV Video Music Awards will be presented on Sunday August 28th. Now, we have all realized that MTV no longer specializes in broadcasting music videos. They focus on airing reality shows which appeal to  young adults and teens. But in 1984, the first year the awards were presented, the short form music video was a very exciting development in the music industry and very few rock or pop artists could release a single without a promotional video to back it up, thanks to the launch of the MTV cable channel in 1981.

So, with this year’s awards show coming up later this month, I thought it would be cool to take a look back at the MTV Video Music Awards “Video Of The Year” competitions from the first few years.

There was amazing music released in 1983-1984 (the years for which the 1984 awards were presented), including songs from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, Cyndi Lauper’s debut solo album She’s So Unusual, and The Police with their final album before they broke up, Synchronicity.  Those three artists were nominated to win the “Video of the Year” award the first year it was presented, but it was a different recording act who would win the coveted prize.

Michael Jackson was nominated for “Thriller.” How did he NOT win the award? “Thriller” is the most celebrated music video of all time! Were folks sick of giving him awards since he had cleaned up at the Grammy Awards and the American Music Awards? Cyndi Lauper was nominated for the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” music video, another iconic video from the decade. The Police were nominated for “Every Breath You Take,” Billboard Magazine’s #1 single of the year. Then, there was jazz keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock who was nominated for the “Rockit” music video; another creative entry in the field.

But the first MTV “Video Of The Year” award would end up going to The Cars for the “You Might Think” video!! It’s a great video, but was it really better than “Thriller?” You be the judge.




Pretty amazing decision, but there you have it. Check back soon for another look at the MTV Video Music Awards during the decade that channel actually aired music videos.



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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.


8 Times Rock Stars Appeared in TV Commercials

It is not uncommon to hear some of rock’s biggest hits in television commercials, but when the rockstars themselves appear in the ad, that is surprising.

Here are just eight examples of rock stars appearing in TV commercials.

  • Paul Stanley - Folgers Coffee

    For reasons that haven’t been confirmed, the ad from 2000 never aired, but thanks to the wonder that is YouTube, it surfaced, and we’re thankful it did. Frankly, it’s an effective ad, and never has anyone performed the famous Folgers tagline jingle with such gusto!

  • Slash - Capital One Banking

    This Capital One Banking ad featuring Slash premiered in July 2022.

    The ad shows a band holding auditions for a new guitarist, and loe and behold, Slash shows up. Viewers see Slash — top hat and all — performing his iconic opening riff to the Guns N’ Roses classic “Sweet Child O’ Mine” while other potential guitarists look on in horror knowing they will not be picked to be in the band.

    The ad’s description on YouTube reads, “With no monthly fees or minimums and no overdraft fees, banking with Capital One is the easiest decision in the history of decisions. Even easier than choosing Slash to be in your band.”

    A few seconds into his “audition,” a member of the band then tells Slash, “Stop. You’re in,” and the guitar god responds, “Oh, cool!” with a smile.

  • Vince Neil - Dollar Loan Center

    Vince Neil appeared in an ad for short-term loan provider Dollar Loan Center in May 2022. The ad is rather baffling for a number of reasons, from how Neil even got involved to the fact the ad is centered around Dollar Loan Center’s “Loan Approval Machine,” which happens to evoke The Cult’s classic tune “Love Removal Machine.” Whether that latter statement was the point of whoever came up with the ad’s concept, it makes casting Neil in the ad all the more confusing because…well…The Cult and Motley Crue are two very different bands.

  • Steven Tyler - Kia Stinger

    This Super Bowl ad took Steven Tyler back in time thanks to the Kia Stinger.

  • Eddie Money - Geico

    Who could forget Money as the best worst travel agent in this Geico campaign?

  • Lita Ford -

    She’s barely recognizable, but that conservatively dressed music teacher is Lita Ford in an ad for job site Indeed!  Amazing the difference a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, a bun and a floor-length skirt makes!

  • Alice Cooper - Staples

    The Godfather of Shock Rock appears in this Staples ad to clarify the lyrics to “School’s Out” to a very annoyed young girl who is clearly not looking forward to going back to school.

  • John Lydon - Country Life Butter

    Appearing in a commercial seems like the most un-punk thing to do ever, but that’s what John Lydon did in the late 2000’s when he appeared in an ad for Country Life Butter.  He would later say he used the money earned from the ad to fund a tour for Public Image Ltd., because he was having various issues with his record label.