About the Show
Thursday, September 02, 1993
Landmark! Epic! Awesome! In 1993, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the MTV Video Music Awards in grand style. In that decade, we saw the premiere of Seinfeld, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Genera Hypercolor t-shirts and lots (and lots) of bad haircuts. There were 3,650 days of ... eh, the point has been made.
Actor Christian Slater was selected to host the '93 VMAs (apparently Jack Nicholson's day rate was too expensive), which returned the show to familiar territory at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. And what a show it was. From an appearance by a wanted man to a geriatric comedian groping a drag queen, the 1993 VMAs had it all.
Pearl Jam was the belle of the ball. The Seattle-based band performed "Jeremy" a year earlier on the VMAs and came back to collect and armful of Moonmen for its Mark Pellington-directed clip: Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Direction and Video of the Year. Interestingly, it wasn't long after this success that the band gave up making videos entirely. The Eddie Vedder-fronted group also performed "Animal" during the show, one of only a few songs performed during a VMA show that never had a representative video on MTV. To top it off, after "Animal," grunge Godfather Neil Young joined the band for a run through his "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World." Surely 1993 was definitely PJ's VMA year.
The Viewer's Choice Moonman went home with Aerosmith, who were honored by fans for "Livin' on the Edge," the only video from the band's Get a Grip album to not feature Alicia Silverstone (who starred in the band's next three videos: "Cryin'," "Amazing" and "Crazy").
Stone Temple Pilots won the Best New Artist award for "Plush," totally contradicting the notion that the toxic cocktail of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes is bad for you. (Update: Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are indeed VERY, VERY bad for you.)
One of the most memorable/uncomfortable moments in MTV Video Music Awards history played out on the stage in 1993. See, we enjoy odd pairings at the podium. Case-in-point: the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tony Bennett. This one produced some laughs as the two parties enjoyed each other and the juxtaposition their presenting skit played out for the audience.
A presenters duet of RuPaul and Milton Berle, on the other hand, didn't go quite as well. The two didn't get along backstage, and when Berle -- a legendary actor and comedian who dressed as a woman way back when it was still funny -- groped Ru's, um, breasts onstage for a laugh, a miffed RuPaul dug in his heels and sniffed, "So you used to wear gowns, but now you're wearing diapers." You could cut the tension with a rubber chicken.
But in the end, murder was the case that brought the LAPD to the house. Rapper Snoop Dogg presented the Best R&B Video award with Dr. Dre and George Clinton, a bold decision considering he was wanted in connection with the week old drive-by murder of an L.A. gang member. Snoop managed to sneak out of the venue, but turned himself in to police later that night; he was later aquitted. (Disclaimer: No gang members were harmed during the making of this broadcast.)
In other performances, Madonna opened the show, performing "Bye Bye Baby," while others belting out their hits included Sting, Soul Asylum, Naughty By Nature, Spin Doctors, R.E.M.., Janet Jackson and, in a rare solo appearance as a singer, U2 guitarist The Edge.
Now, just try to disagree with us. THAT is a show!