About the Show
Saturday, September 06, 1986
Broadcasting LIVE from New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, and New Haven, Connecticut (how freakin' RANDOM!), the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards was like a kick-ass birthday party to which the whole world was invited. For the third one of these things, we were aiming to do something BIG.
Instead of going outside for a host, MTV turned to our stable of VJs, who by this time were established celebrities in their own right. That put Mark Goodman (rockin' a mullet for the ages, one that can only be described as "Redneck Chic"), Martha Quinn, "Downtown" Julie Brown, Alan Hunter and Dweezil Zappa in charge of the whole shebang.
Due to the overwhelming scale of the production, there were, understandably, a few missteps. Along the way, viewers saw VJs miss cues, look into the wrong camera and look shell-shocked from time-to-time. Yet, the VJs pulled through and held together the most ambitious VMAs to date.
On the awards front, the 1986 Video Music Awards could have been renamed the 1986 a-ha Is The Greatest Band On The Planet Awards. Yes, the Norwegian pop group dominated the field, racking up seven Moonmen, including Best New Artist and Viewer's Choice for their animated smash, "Take On Me."
Tina Turner continued her winning streak with the Best Stage Performance award for her duet with Bryan Adams, "It's Only Love." And with a song that name-dropped MTV, Dire Straits took home the Video of the Year award for "Money for Nothing" (the first video ever played on MTV in the U.K. -- use that knowledge to impress your friends).
Almost doubling the bill of a year prior, the MTV VMA performances were as varied and eclectic as could be imagined. Mr. Mister proved that Catholic liturgies can rock with "Kyrie," The Monkees reunited for the 896th time to perform "I'm a Believer" and The Hooters performed ... well, does it really matter what the Hooters performed?
Additionally, Pet Shop Boys whipped the crowd into frenzy with "West End Girls," Tina Turner verbally slapped down those with a Y chromosome with "Typical Male," and there were performances by INXS and 'til Tuesday.
Of the moment and somewhat insane, all told, it was certainly not a typical awards show.