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.

In 1986, one of my favorite music videos of the 80s was up for the top prize. I’m referring to “Take On Me” by a-ha. It was certainly up against some tough competition from Talking Heads with their video for “Road to Nowhere,” “Cry” by Godley & Creme, and one of the most iconic, memorable, and parodied music videos of the decade, “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer.  No one will ever forget those non-smiling fashion models who had no idea how to play their instruments, acting as the backing band for the very fashionable Palmer.

But, it was NOT one of the songs or artists we’ve already mentioned which beat out one of the most creative and technically brilliant music videos in “Take On Me.” This video blew my mind when crude comic book sketches became animated, and then interacted with live actors. Instead, it was another technically innovative video which took top honors. The song “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits ended up claiming the “Moonman.”

Watch them both and decide for yourself…




Do you think “Money For Nothing” won the coveted prize of “Video of the Year” because MTV’s logo was seen throughout much of the video? I can’t say for sure, but I think a-ha’s video was much for creative and memorable.

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.


33 Rock/Pop Music Videos with Over 1 Billion Views on YouTube

Since MTV doesn’t really show music videos anymore, YouTube is the place for those who want to watch music videos to their heart’s content.

Some music videos — both classic and recently released — have caught on more than others and have racked up 1 billion views and more.

For your viewing pleasure, here are 33 rock/pop music videos with at least 1 billion views on YouTube.

(Note: View numbers listed are as of January 30, 2023.)

  • Scorpions - 'Wind of Change' (1 billion views)

  • Bon Jovi - 'Livin' On A Prayer' (1 billion views)

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - 'Californication' (1.01 billion views)

  • Audioslave - 'Like a Stone' (1.04 billion views)

  • Evanescence - 'Bring Me To Life' (1.13 billion views)

  • Cyndi Lauper - 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' (1.14 billion views)

  • Metallica - 'Nothing Else Matters' (1.20 billion views)

  • Whitney Houston - 'I Will Always Love You' (1.35 billion views)

  • AC/DC - 'Thunderstruck' (1.22 billion views)

  • Rick Astley - 'Never Gonna Give You Up' (1.34 billion views)

  • Bon Jovi - 'It's My Life' (1.21 billion views)

  • The Cranberries - 'Zombie' (1.31 billion views)

  • a-ha - 'Take On Me' (1.60 billion views)

  • Guns N' Roses - 'November Rain' (2 billion views)

  • Nirvana - 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (1.60 billion views)

  • Queen - 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (1.57 billion views)

  • Linkin Park - 'In The End' (1.48 billion views)

  • Coldplay - 'Paradise' (1.66 billion views)

  • Imagine Dragons - 'Radioactive' (1.42 billion views)

  • 4 Non Blondes - 'What's Up' (1.46 billion views)

  • twenty one pilots - 'Heathens' (1.98 billion views)

  • Guns N' Roses - 'Sweet Child O' Mine' (1.47 billion views)

  • Linkin Park - 'Numb' (1.92 billion views)

  • Imagine Dragons - 'Believer' (2.36 billion views)

  • Coldplay - 'Hymn For the Weekend' (1.82 billion views)

  • Imagine Dragons - 'Thunder' (1.93 billion views)

  • Europe - 'The Final Countdown' (1.08 billion views)

  • Coldplay - 'The Scientist' (1.08 billion views)

  • Michael Jackson - 'Billie Jean' (1.29 billion views)

  • System of a Down - 'Chop Suey!' (1.23 billion views)

  • twenty one pilots - 'Ride' (1.35 billion views)

  • Coldplay - 'Adventure of a Lifetime' (1.39 billion views)

  • twenty one pilots - 'Stressed Out' (2.62 billion views)

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