Live recordings of the MTV early years are free to watch, thanks to an Internet Archive collection called ’80s MTV VHS Recordings 1981 to 1989.
Music video buffs can relive the glory days in chronological order, beginning with the famous moon-landing countdown.
One passionate VHS devotee has uploaded a stack of original MTV content, including outdated commercials and The Buggles’ 1981 debut.
“The first couple years of Music Television really was the wild west, where just about any band that had videos could get them played,” reports Brooklyn Vegan.
Originally touted as The World’s First 24-Hour Stereo Video Music Channel, MTV made its mark with content from Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, and Phil Collins. During its earliest broadcasts, the screen would sometimes turn black while a host inserted a new VHS tape.
The anonymous Internet Archive user says the content features his personal collection from 1981-1989. “I’ve been collecting recordings of full, unedited, WITH commercials & especially the VJs for years,” the uploader says.
“I’ve found these videos from old websites, torrent sites, sharing things, The Original MTV VJs facebook page, and of course the Archive.”
In the organised collection are programs like Spring Break 1987 with Beastie Boys, Twisted Christmas with Dee Snyder, and even the Live Aid concert in 1985. It’s compatible with Apple TV or Chromecast, so viewers can escape down vintage rabbit holes on an even bigger screen.
The complete collection is being updated regularly and is available via Internet Archive.