Celebrating the OG MTV VJs

As regular readers of TG Daily know, we’re big fans of the good old days of MTV.

It’s a cliché that’s often repeated, but many of us miss the days when the channel actually played music, and it really felt fresh and innovative when it first exploded.


MTV was something myself, and millions of others, looked forward to every day, and the variety of music and groundbreaking videos was really something to behold in the early eighties. 

While the book I Want My MTV covers the development of the channel up to 1992, I personally feel the channel wore out its welcome well before then, but like Adam Ant said in the book, “You can’t have a firecracker going off forever.”


It’s clear we’re not the only ones that are still nostalgic for the channel’s glory days, because now the original VJs are going to have their say in VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave, a book that’s hitting store shelves on May 2013 from Atria. 

Like I Want My MTV, VJ is an oral history, which means it’s all quotes connected together to tell the narrative, although Gavin Edwards of Rolling Stone is listed as co-author with Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn.


Again, for me and many others, a big turning point was when the original VJs quit or were pushed out by MTV, and in many ways, it was like MTV lost its face without them. 

Indeed, things have to progress and change, and we’ve seen videos change with the music, but a great DJ can last on radio for years, why not a VJ? (And did we really need Pauly Shore, Riki Ratchman and Jersey Shore to replace them? Seriously, is this progress?)


So I’m curious to read the story of MTV from the point of view of the first original presenters, it’s just too bad that JJ Jackson, who passed away in 2004, isn’t here to be a part of it. That’s another thing you didn’t get with the chucklehead VJs like Riki Ratchman is that guys like Jackson really knew the music, and had a real rapport with the artists.


A lot of phenoms in rock n roll are supernovas, probably even more so with the information age moving so fast, and the original VJs were there at a great time in history that didn’t last long, but we still remember it very fondly.