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MTV, royal weddings and space...1981 started it all

As we pause and remember the last 30 that changed the landscape of music, a moment of silence for the “radio star”. Thirty years ago, MTV ( hit the cable airwaves and changes how music was to enter our lives. From that first video "Video Killed the Radio Star" ( ) to the sights and sounds of Lady Gaga, we have recorded the history of American Pop Culture.

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The music video has been used in many ways the last thirty years. It has aided in bringing aid to the problems in the world “We Are the World” (, extended the hand of friendship between races “Black or White” (, and caused new cultural controversy (anything by Lady Gaga).

But the music video was only a part of the new generation. It allowed the voice of the youth to be heard like nothing else since the Vietnam protests of the 60s and 70s. And like the video, many things were coming into a new light in America.

During the 1980 presidential campaign, we heard the words of the old guard in Jimmy Carter. Running for reelection and coming out of a recession that saw the gas lines stretch for miles and failed rescue operations of foreign soil, Carter was the last thing America wanted. On the horizon came an actor, rather appropriate for the era that brought mini musical movies to television.

America was being told "Make America great again. Ronald Reagan hit the presidential scene in 1980, and in MTV’s first year, became took office and made Americans feel good to be American. At the time of his inauguration, we saw the release of those taken hostage in Iran. This crisis brought to late night television the program Nightline. Another item that resounds today is Reagan’s words from his speech. With the bailouts, debt ceiling crisis, and unemployment we see today, his words ring true “Government is not the solution to our problem, Government is the problem”.

As we mark the anniversary of MTV, we also mark the anniversary of the Shuttle. It started in 1981 and just returned from its final voyage. Although the shuttle program started in the 70’s with the Shuttle Enterprise, the 1981 launch of the Shuttle Columbia marked man’s return to space since the ending of the Apollo program. ( )

The internet was first mentioned in 1981 (despite the claims of Mr. Gore) and the personal computer started to become a home appliance. ( IBM’s first PC and Windows Dos program started to allow students to find more reasons to skip school. The news was readable from this new internet system, and the Indianapolis Star was one of the first eight newspapers to use the new system.

This year we saw the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. It was 30 years ago America watched Prince Charles wed his mother, Lady Diana.( It shows that despite the war of the 1700’s, America still has a fascination with the British Monarchy.

As we remember 1981, it seemed to be a turning point for America. For the 80’s generation, it will always be a pivotal point for the youth of then that helped shape the culture of today.


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