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List of First Videos Played on VH1

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The amazing first music videos ever played on VH1

The amazing first music videos ever played on VH1

Decades before running such shows as Basketball Wives, RuPaul's Drag Race, and America's Top Model, VH1 was known as MTV's sister channel. Debuting on January 1, 1985, VH1's veejays included radio veterans Don Imus, Scott Shannon, and Frankie Crocker, as well as Sha Na Na’s Jon “Bowzer” Bauman.

At first, VH1 or Video Hits One was aiming for an older audience than MTV's viewers. During the network’s debut cablecast, Imus described their playlist as "music from the past, from the present, that you want to hear all day every day…" The following videos were shown in VH1's first hour, and some trivia has been added for each one.

First Hour of Videos Played On VH1

1. "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Marvin Gaye

2. "Missing You" by Diana Ross

3. "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'" by Daryl Hall & John Oates

4. "Nobody Told Me" by John Lennon

5. "Shaking You" by Olivia Newton-John

6. "After All" by Al Jarreau

7. "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson

8. "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder

9. "I Knew You When" by Linda Ronstadt

10. "Always Something There to Remind Me" by Naked Eyes

11. "Centipede" by Rebbie Jackson

12. "I’m Alright" by Kenny Loggins

13. "Joanna" by Kool & The Gang

1. "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Marvin Gaye

Album: A Musical Testament: 1964-1984

Released: 1983

Genre: Contemporary R&B, R&B/Soul

Song Facts for "The Star-Spangled Banner"

In 1983, Marvin Gaye was in the middle of a big career resurgence, with "Sexual Healing" doing well on the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart. Thus, he was chosen to sing the National Anthem before the February 1983 NBA All-Star Game at the Los Angeles Forum. With just a pre-recorded drum and keyboard track accompanying him, Gaye gave one of the most memorable and soulful renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," seen here. By the way, 15 years earlier, Gaye also performed the National Anthem before Game four of baseball's World Series.

2. "Missing You" by Diana Ross

Album: Swept Away

Released: 1984

Genre: R&B

Song Facts for "Missing You"

This was the first official music video played on the network. Lionel Richie wrote and co-produced this tribute to Gaye, released as the third U.S. single taken from Miss Ross's Swept Away album. "Missing You" reached the top ten on Billboard’s U.S. singles chart, and number one on the magazine’s R&B chart. It would be followed at the top spot by another tribute song to Motown artists who had passed away, "Night Shift" by Richie’s former band, The Commodores. The "Missing You" music video included footage of Gaye along with other late Motown stars who had passed away, including Ross’s fellow Supreme Florence Ballard and Paul Williams of The Temptations.

3. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by Daryl Hall & John Oates

Album: Voices

Released: 1980

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"

John Oates takes the Bill Medley vocals while Daryl Hall sings Bobby Hatfield’s portion in a cover of The Righteous Brothers 1965 hit. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" has also been recorded by Dionne Warwick, Cilla Black, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, and more artists. The Hall & Oates remake, released as a single in fall 1980, was the last song recorded for the platinum selling Voices album. Voices also featured the U.S. number one hit "Kiss on My List," the top five single "You Make My Dreams," and "Everytime You Go Away," which Paul Young recorded five years later.

4. "Nobody Told Me" by John Lennon

Album: Milk and Honey

Released: 1984

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "Nobody Told Me"

Lennon had intended for fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr to record "Nobody Told Me" for his Stop and Smell the Roses album, but the drummer didn’t do so. Lennon’s rendition of the track was the first single taken from the Milk and Honey album, released three years after his murder. Milk and Honey followed the same arrangement as Double Fantasy, with songs alternating between Lennon and Yoko Ono. "Nobody Told Me," with its nod to The Shirelles tune "Mama Said" in the chorus, was a Top Ten U.S. and U.K. hit. U.S. talk show host Dick Cavett and Oscar winning actor Jack Palance are seen briefly in the video, in footage taken from the 1972 film, Imagine.

5. "Shaking You" by Olivia Newton-John

Album: Two of a Kind soundtrack

Released: 1983

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "Shaking You"

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta reunited onscreen for the first time since "Grease" with the 1983 comedy/fantasy film Two of a Kind. The film was not a winner at the box office or with critics, but the movie’s soundtrack did produce a hit with Newton-John's "Twist of Fate." The ballad "Shaking You" was part of that soundtrack, produced by David Foster. It was also included in a collection of four music videos supporting the movie.

6. "After All" by Al Jarreau

Album: High Crime

Released: 1984

Genre: Vocal Jazz

Song Facts for "After All"

David Foster is associated with two songs in a row on this list! He wrote "After All" with Jarreau and Jay Graydon. But, the smooth vocals of Jarreau are the main attraction here, from a singer whose 1980s hits included "We're in This Love Together," “Mornin'," and the theme from TV’s Moonlighting series. He also was a Grammy winner in the jazz, pop, and R&B categories. By the way, his album High Crime, featuring "After All," was released at the end of October 1984. Three months later, Jarreau joined with over 40 musicians to record the charity single, "We Are the World."

7. "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson

Album: Night and Day

Released: 1982

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "Steppin' Out"

Joe Jackson's initial albums (released in the late '70s and early '80s) were varied in terms of their musical styles. On his first two records, he was an "Angry Young Man" new-waver, like Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. That was followed by a reggae, ska, and jazz release, and then a collection of swing/big band covers. In 1982, Jackson saw his biggest success with the keyboard/percussion oriented disc, Night and Day. It contained the Record of the Year Grammy nominated “Steppin' Out,” which sold 250 thousand copies in the U.S. Steve Barron directed this music video, as well as the videos for Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," A-ha's "Take on Me," Dire Straits's "Money for Nothing," and many more.

8. "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder

Album: The Women in Red Soundtrack

Released: 1984

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "I Just Called to Say I Love You"

The tune from the Gene Wilder comedy movie soundtrack was a worldwide smash hit for Wonder in 1984. Surprisingly, it was his first number one single in the U.K. Wonder also received an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category for "I Just Called…" dedicating the award to Nelson Mandela. The concert sequences (as seen in the music video) were filmed at a Wonder show in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Kelly LeBrock played "The Woman in Red" in the movie?

"The Woman in Red" soundtrack album

"The Woman in Red" soundtrack album

9. "I Knew You When" by Linda Ronstadt

Album: Get Closer

Released: 1982

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "I Knew You When"

Penned by Joe South (known for the song "Games People Play"), "I Knew You When" was a single from Ronstadt’s 1982 album, "Get Closer." The song had previously been recorded by Billy Joe Royal, Donny Osmond, Wade Flemons, and South himself. Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne plays piano on Ronstadt’s version (he's also seen in the music video). Ronstadt’s rendition also appeared on both the U.S. Billboard pop and country singles charts and was a top 40 hit in Australia.

10. "Always Something There to Remind Me" by Naked Eyes

Album: Naked Eyes

Released: 1983

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "Always Something There to Remind Me"

In 1981, Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher formed the synth pop group Naked Eyes in Bath, England. Both had previously been members of the group Neon, which also included the future Tears For Fears duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. With the Fairlight CMI sampling synthesizer prominently featured, Naked Eyes had a hit with their version of Bacharach and David’s "Always Something There to Remind Me." The group recorded its first album at Abbey Road Studios. Naked Eyes split up after their second album with Byrne moving to California, where he performed on session recordings by Wonder, Rita Coolidge, and others. Fisher would become one-half of another musical team, Climie Fisher, known for their hits "Love Changes (Everything)" and "Rise to the Occasion."

11. "Centipede" by Rebbie Jackson

Album: Centipede

Released: 1984

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "Centipede"

Maureen "Rebbie" Jackson, eldest sibling of music's Jackson family, released her debut album, "Centipede," in 1984. Michael Jackson wrote and produced the disc's catchy title track, which became Rebbie Jackson's only Top 40 hit. The music video's "cast" includes a tiger, cobra, and of course, a centipede. Plus, you have 1980s special effects, with lightning bolts shooting from Rebbie Jackson's hands. She would record three more albums. The last one was issued in 1998.

12. "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins

Album: Caddyshack soundtrack

Released: 1980

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for "I’m Alright"

Like "I Just Called to Say I Love You," "I'm Alright" is another song from a film soundtrack. This time it's the theme for the Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray comedy, Caddyshack. The music video was taken from an August 1980 concert in Loggins' hometown of Santa Barbara, California. Additionally, the promo is part of the 1981 "Kenny Loggins Alive" home video. The "I'm Alright" music video played on VH1's cablecast, but didn’t contain footage from Caddyshack (so the movie's pesky gopher is nowhere to be found). Loggins co-wrote and performed the theme for 1988's Caddyshack II motion picture, too.

13. "Joanna" by Kool & The Gang

Album: In the Heart

Released: 1983

Genre: R&B

Song Facts for "Joanna"

in February 1984, "Joanna" just missed the top spot on both the U.S. and U.K. singles charts. It peaked at second place. The music video is set in a diner, focusing on the owner Joanna, who is the restaurant’s cook and waitress as well. We also see brief sequences of Joanna reminiscing about her days as a dancer at New York’s famed Cotton Club. The video was filmed at the Colonial Diner in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Kool & The Gang's home state. The group's former lead singer, James "J.T." Taylor, is prominently featured in the video.

© 2020 Marshall Fish

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