The Ten Biggest Dallas-Related MTV Moments
As you've no doubt figured out by now, MTV turned 30 years old today. Indeed, that's a formidable amount of time -- enough, for sure, for almost any entity to leave a mark.
And, for sure, MTV has made plenty of marks. But beyond its groundbreaking debut as a music-centric cable station and past, even, its establishment as a standard-bearer in the world of reality television, the station's also had a strong effect on Dallas. A number of local artists got their big national break when MTV decided to play their music videos. On the other hand, MTV also helped run a few Dallas-bred acts into the ground. Either way: There's no denying the fact that MTV's 30-year run hasn't gone unnoticed here in North Texas.
So, on that note, we decided to slog through the station's entire 30-year history to look back in the biggest Dallas-related happenings in MTV history. Check out our picks for the best after the jump.
10. Play-n-Skillz on MTV's Made. As producers, brothers and two of the
many thorns in Lil Wayne's side, Play-n-Skillz have helped put Dallas
on the hip-hop map. And this year, they were featured on an episode of Made, a
makeover show that turns ambitious teens into what they want to be
"made" into -- i.e. singers, athletes, etc. For their episode as coaches, Play-n-Skillz were
given the task of turning two teen girls into marketable pop singers, which,
understandably, kind of drove them up the wall. The episode aired last month,
which shows that, no matter how relevant MTV is in the world of music,
they're still paying attention to us here in Big D.
9. Meat Loaf, "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)." Meat Loaf was born in Houston, but he grew up in Dallas and attended UNT. The above head-scratcher of a video for his song "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" helped launch Meat's 1992 comeback. It featured Meat as a Phantom of the Opera -type character. Not since Bonnie Tyler and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" has a music video been so epically, cheesily theatrical.
8. Pearl Jam Unplugged. This was the performance that helped break Pearl Jam into the mainstream, while similarly contributing to the national rise of the Seattle grunge sound. So, you ask, why are these guys on this Dallas-intensive list? Well, because they've got some serious Dallas ties, courtesy of former drummer Dave Abbruzzese, who joined right after they finished recording their legendary album Ten . Before joining Pearl Jam, Abbruzzese was a Deep Ellum mainstay; he grew up in Mesquite, and played with legendary local hard rockers Course of Empire as well as his own band, Dr. Tongue. He drummed with Pearl Jam throughout their heyday, and left after Vitalogy , at which point he returned to Dallas, where he lives to this day.
7. Don Henley, "Boys of Summer." This video, by current Dallas resident and former Eagle Henley (born in Gilman, Texas, but we're claiming him for better or worse), is the only video by a remotely Dallas-based artist to win an MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, which it did in 1985, the second year of the VMAs' existence. We think it's worthy, if only because of Henley's super-fluffy, gravity-defying hair. Clearly, his trusty can of mousse deserved a nod in the special effects category.
6. MC 900 Ft Jesus, "If I Only Had a Brain." Directed by a pre-"Sabotage" Spike Jonze, this whimsical video exploded on MTV after being featured on Beavis & Butthead . Although MC 900 Ft Jesus only released one more album before fading into obscurity, he is one of the few artists to remain in Dallas after attaining mainstream success. Fun fact: MC 900, born Mark Griffin, played trumpet in Englebert Humperdinck's big band before veering into the hip-hop arena.
5. Pantera, "Walk." The rise of Arlington's most noteworthy headbangers marked an unlikely shift for MTV -- and for music in general. Metal was decidedly uncool in the mid-'90s. Grunge had taken over the airwaves, and, other than Metallica, few metal bands were banking on anything other than previous success. Meanwhile, Pantera was growing in popularity under the radar; their 1992 album, Vulgar Display of Power , took a couple years to catch on, but when it did, the world couldn't get enough. Their 1994 followup album, Far Beyond Driven , entered the Billboard charts at No. 1, forcing the Cobain-obsessed hard rock world to wonder: Where did these guys come from, and how did they suddenly become the biggest rock band in the world? The video for "Walk," the fourth single from Vulgar Display , is a live video that shows the band at the height of their powers. At the time, you couldn't turn on Headbanger's Ball without hearing Dimebag Darrell's distinctive 12/8 "walking" riff.
"Is this chicken? Or is this fish?"
4. Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. This MTV reality show, which ran for a
soul-crushing four seasons, came to define the public image of
Richardson native Jessica Simpson. Jessica's confusion when confronted
with a can of tuna became a major pop-culture milestone: "Is it chicken
or is it fish?" was the phrase on everyone's lips in 2003. The show
cemented Nick and Jessica's places as pop culture fixtures, and
contributed to MTV's turn from a music-based network into the reality TV
black hole that it is today. Fun fact: The show was originally pitched
in the '90s and slated to star Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie
Presley, but the couple backed out before filming began, at which time
the concept was shelved until Simpson and Lachey picked it up.
3. Vanilla Ice, "Ice Ice Baby." The dude born Rob Van Winkle claimed to be from the 'hood, but we here in DFW know better: Ice is from the leafy suburb of Carrollton, which is hardly the 'hood. But when he shaved some interesting shapes into his hair and released this tune in 1991, you couldn't turn on MTV without seeing Ice busting out his dubious funky chicken dance moves. The world at large seems to want to forget how megahuge this song, and the accompanying video, really was, but let's face it: "Ice Ice Baby," the first hip-hop song to top the Billboard charts, was a major pop culture moment. Plus, the video features Ice dancing in front of the Dallas skyline. Fun facts: Ice's compadre DJ Zero went on to cut a couple albums with MC 900 Ft Jesus, and Ice's drummer, Clint Barlow, now owns Trees.
Hey, hey, it's one of the Monkees!
2. Michael Nesmith's Pop Clips. Although Nesmith was, like Meat Loaf, born in Houston, he grew up right here in Dallas, graduating from Thomas Jefferson High (again, like Meat Loaf) and thus giving us the right to claim him as our own. After The Monkees split, Nesmith began experimenting with video; he developed a show called Pop Clips for Nickelodeon in the late '70s, which played music videos. Time Warner bought Pop Clips in 1980. Then, in 1981, they changed the name from Pop Clips to "Music Television" (later shortened to "MTV") and developed the concept further, creating an entire network for music videos. Don't ever dog on your parents when they start waxing poetic about the Monkees; without them, there would be no Jersey Shore. Fun fact: Nesmith was a major innovator in the music video field; he won the first-ever Grammy for Best Music Video in 1981 for an hour-long experimental odd-fest entitled "Elephant Parts."
1. Beavis & Butt-head. Created by Lake Highlands' Own Mike Judge, the legendary cartoon has a distinct Dallas flavor. (Don't tell us that Highland High School isn't based on Judge's alma mater, Lake Highlands High.) Rumor has it that Judge once drew his cartoon alter egos on the wall of the mens' room at Club Dada, and the graffiti stayed on the stall wall for years. Great news, meanwhile: Beavis & Butt-head are slated to return to MTV this fall, complete with new episodes. Time will tell whether or not this works, but we've got high hopes.
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