The Week In Music: Ladies And Gentlemen, MTV Is 30

MTV celebrates 30 years of music (and reality) television
  • Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/
    Original MTV VJs (l-r) Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, and Alan Hunter
August 05, 2011 -- 9:23 am PDT

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll." With these six words, followed by the Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star," Music Television officially opened for business on Aug. 1, 1981. MTV blew out the candles on its 30th birthday on Monday on Wall Street with GRAMMY-winning artist Usher representing to help the network ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. "I'm really happy to not only be a part of the stock exchange, but MTV, [which] has remained relevant for over the last 30 years and will continue to evolve," said Usher, who was just 2 years old when the network launched. With MTV celebrating such a milestone, it's hard not to reflect on what has been quite the 30-year ride — low-budget videos to "Thriller"; hair metal, rap, grunge and boy bands; Madonna prancing onstage in a wedding dress at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 to her kiss with Britney Spears at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards; the televised Live Aid benefit concert; "Unplugged"; entertaining comedy such as "Celebrity Deathmatch" and "Beavis And Butt-Head"; genre-specific programs such as "Headbanger's Ball," "120 Minutes" and "Yo! MTV Raps"; game shows such as "Remote Control" and "Singled Out"; "Dial MTV" and "Total Request Live"; reality TV in the form of "The Real World," "Laguna Beach" and "Jersey Shore"; and the network's many personalities, including Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, Downtown Julie Brown, Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren, Rikki Rachtman, Cindy Crawford, Jesse Camp, Carson Daly, Snooki, and Lauren Conrad. And that's just scratching the surface. As MTV moves forward, can the network withstand the natural aging process to remain cool and current? You know the old cliché, don't trust anyone over 30. We're not sure if this applies to networks so the jury will remain out. For now, let's test your MTV knowledge: Do you know the second video that aired on MTV? Come back next week to see if you know your MTV trivia.

In other birthday news, just how does a GRAMMY-nominated rapper celebrate his 21st birthday? If you're Soulja Boy, you go out and buy yourself a private jet…or not. According to a report, news that the rapper was going to gift himself with a $55 million private jet for turning the big 2-1 turned out to be false. Instead, Soulja Boy celebrated his birthday by throwing a modest $300,000 bash in Miami. "MTV [is going to] be doing my birthday party," Soulja Boy told 'em. "MTV is going to be doing it just like I did my swag 18th party. It's going to be my first time being 21. So I'm just gonna do me." His first time being 21? How many times is Soulja planning on turning 21 and "doing himself?"

Whether for personal enrichment or professional pursuits, learning an instrument can be both fun and puzzling at the same time. If you're a musician who is big on the latter type of enjoyment, you might be interested in the first-ever 27-string guitar. Invented by Tennessee native Keith Medley, this particular guitar is akin to playing three instruments at once. "Building this guitar turned out to be the easy part," said Medley. "The hard part has been learning to play it." We are inclined to agree. Learning how to play a guitar with only six strings can be dicey, but a guitar with 27 strings would be tough for even Eddie Van Halen. According to best-selling author Malcolm Galdwell, the path to excellence in any pursuit lies through 10,000 hours of practice. At three times the instrument, advanced calculus tells us that mastering a 27-string guitar would mean putting in 30,000 hours in the practice room, or roughly 3.5 years. While you ponder such a time-consuming musical commitment, you can get a taste of the fruits of Medley's creation here.

She may not be musically tamable, but Miley Cyrus is keeping busy on the film front. The former "Hannah Montana" actress is set to star in and produce an as-yet untitled comedy film along with her mother, Tish Cyrus, under the pair's Hope Town Entertainment company. The film, which will reportedly tackle the "high-concept" topic of religion and involve a broken promise made to God, is just one item on the busy to-do list for the girl with the Gypsy Heart. In 2010 Cyrus starred in the romantic film The Last Song, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, and she currently has two other comedy projects on the horizon, So Undercover and LOL. Will the young Cyrus be able to stay focused, or will she give it up for a "Party In The USA"? With her mama on board, order is likely to be maintained.

Looking for the latest hairstyle? Maybe something with lots of color, like Nicki Minaj? Or Katy Perry's new peroxide blond locks? Or maybe a hot indie Mohawk? Well, don't go see Buenos Aires-based barber Gerardo Weiss. His current specialty? Beatles cuts. Weiss, who has plastered his shop with photos of the Fab Four, will cut most any of the styles the members of the Beatles wore throughout their band and solo years, but his favorite is Paul McCartney's mid-'70s Band On The Run-era mullet. "I'll carry the Beatles in my soul, my spirit, my blood for the rest of my life," Weiss said. Apparently in his scissors, too.

Have you ever wanted to live like a country music star? With artist names such as Big And Rich and Johnny Cash, who wouldn't? It turns out country music stars have been quite active on the real estate front recently, so you may just find a famous home on the market. If you have a pretty penny, that is. Yahoo has compiled a list of some of the more cozy (read: lavish) country properties that are up for sale or recently sold. Taylor Swift's former 1925 historical Nashville estate carries a cool price-tag of nearly $1.5 million. The GRAMMY-winning starlet also has a 4,000-plus square-foot penthouse in Nashville and a $3.5 million crib in Beverly Hills, Calif. Other notable country pads include Alan Jackson's 19,000-square-foot former home in Jacksonville, Tenn., (with a garage large enough to house a collection of 20 vehicles) that sold for $28 million; Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman's cuddly $3.34 million honeymoon residence in Beverly Hills; and Dixie Chick/Court Yard Hound Emily Robison's San Antonio loft that sold for $1.5 million. These are some hefty price tags, but don't let that discourage you from pursuing a lifestyle of the big and rich just yet.

LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock is tops on the Billboard Hot 100 and the iTunes singles chart.

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