About the Show
Friday, September 13, 1985
It was 1985, a year that saw Coca Cola drop the ball (honestly, drinking New Coke was like making out with Star Jones -- no lie), Wrestlemania debut at Madison Square Garden, Mike Tyson score his first professional knockout (back when he seemed like an angry athletic leviathan, rather than a muscular lunatic infant with an overactive thyroid), as well as Live Aid -- at the time, the largest concert ever produced (more on that later).
While significant in their own right, none of the aforementioned events resonated culturally like the second MTV Video Music Awards. Some may say there's a bit of bias in this statement, but we at MTV stand by our guns on this one. The evidence:
Producers decided to up the ante for the second VMA ceremony, bring on meteorically rising star Eddie Murphy to helm the proceedings. Consider this: already a breakout Saturday Night Live player, Eddie was coming off an explosively funny HBO comedy special (Delirious), and a string of successful films (48 Hrs., Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop). Following a turn as presenter at the first VMAs, getting him to host the soiree was indeed a big score.
And host he did. Murphy provided some of the most memorable MTV Video Music Awards host moments of all time. Whether he was taking a stroll through the ladies room or searching the streets of New York for a co-host, Eddie was over-the-top hysterical and set the standard for what a VMA host should be.
As for the Moonmen, Don Henley proved that he didn't need a flock of fowl behind him to rock, taking home four statuettes, including Video of the Year, for his hit "The Boys of Summer." Tina Turner built on her 1984 VMA performance of "What's Love Got To Do With It" by walking away with the Best Female Video award for that very song.
The Bob Geldof-organized famine relief concert Live Aid, held just a few months prior, brought a Special Recognition Award that inspired presenter Joan Baez to force the crowd into what many consider to be the first recorded instance of the dreaded "awkward standing ovation." Keeping with the philanthropic theme of the times, USA for Africa's instant-classic "We Are the World" won Best Group Video (and with everyone from Michael Jackson and Tina Turner to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, it was some group), as well as the Viewer's Choice Moonman.
Truly, it was a year to remember.