The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star

The first ever video played on MTV was appropriately Video Killed the Radio Star. The song peaked at #40 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK and #6 in Canada in 1979. I’ve always liked this song but it took a few listens. It was written by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, and Bruce Woolley.

The Presidents of the United States of America also did a version of this song in 1998 that I like.

Here is a quote from Trevor Horn…  “It came from this idea that technology was on the verge of changing everything. Video recorders had just come along, which changed people’s lives. We’d seem people starting to make videos as well, and we were excited by that. It felt like radio was the past and video was the future. The was a shift coming.”

From Songfacts.

Trevor Horn wrote this after reading a science fiction story about an opera singer in a world without sound (she was rendered obsolete). Said Horn: “Before I started Buggles I was a sort of loser record producer, I spent four years producing records for various people without ever making any money out of it or having any success at all. Mainly I just produced unsuccessful records because I couldn’t seem to lay my hands on a good song. Eventually, I got so fed up doing things that weren’t successful I decided that if I couldn’t find a good artist and a good song then I’d write it myself and become the artist, so I wrote this song called ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ with Bruce Wooley. I know the name’s awful, but at the time it was the era of the great punk thing. I’d got fed up of producing people who were generally idiots but called themselves all sorts of clever names like The Unwanted, The Unwashed, The Unheard… when it came to choosing our name I thought I’d pick the most disgusting name possible. In retrospect, I have frequently regretted calling myself Buggles, but in those days I never really thought much about packaging or selling myself, all that really concerned me was the record.”

This was the first video to air on MTV. The network launched August 1, 1981, and this provided the first evidence that MTV was going to make it.

The song was a big hit in England in 1979, but pretty much unknown in America, where it peaked at #40 in December 1979. When MTV went on the air, it was on only a few cable systems, but record stores in those areas started selling lots of Buggles albums. Radio stations weren’t playing the song and almost no one in the US had heard of the Buggles, so it was clear that MTV was selling records – an early indication of the network’s influence.

 

 

 

Video Killed The Radio Star

I heard you on the wireless back in ’52
Lying awake intently tuning in on you
If I was young it didn’t stop you coming through
Oh-a-oh

They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine on new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see

Oh-a-oh
I met your children
Oh-a-oh
What did you tell them?

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh-a-a-a oh

And now we meet in an abandoned studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the jingles used to go:

Oh-a-oh
You were the first one
Oh-a-oh
You were the last one

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car
We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Oh-a-a-a oh
Oh-a-a-a oh

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car
We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart
Put the blame on VTR…

You are the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star

Oh-a-oh, oh-a-oh…

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

8 thoughts on “The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star”

  1. I always think of this song- in relation to MTV and being the first ever video. but it’s a pretty good song. Of course it was a year or two into MTV before we got it. When we did it was on a Friday and I watched it until I feel asleep late on Friday and then every waking minute over that weekend. After a while the fascination wore off but those days of MTV I’d bring back in a snap if I could- now it’s garbage 24/7/365 on that station.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would go over to relatives to watch it…it was exciting and I watched it day and night for a while… Martha Quinn and the rest… When it turned bad it turned really bad.

      I like the song a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I like that song too! Seemed, to me, that ’79-80 were such exciting times because there were really new sounds out there like this, Gary Numan, even Blondie back in the day seemed quite a radical departure from the radio norm

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This song still plays on the radio. I hear it where I work at almost daily. I really enjoyed their music when they joined Yes. The album Drama is still one of my top 5 favorites by Yes. Here’s some info from Wikipedia:
    Drama is the tenth studio album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 18 August 1980 by Atlantic Records. It was their first album to feature Trevor Horn as lead vocalist and keyboardist Geoff Downes, following the departures of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman after numerous attempts to record a new album in Paris and London had failed. Drama was recorded in a short amount of time as a tour was already booked prior to the change in personnel. It marked a departure in the band’s musical direction with songs more accessible and aggressive, and featuring the use of modern keyboards and a vocoder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I think of Yes I think of Chris Squire. What a bass player he was… John Entwistle and him could play great runs.

      I’ll have to check out more of the Trevor Horn Yes

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s