About the Show
Thursday, September 08, 1994
After seven years on the West Coast, the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards returned to the scene of the crime, their birthplace, Radio City Music Hall in New York City. And despite our absence, Gotham welcomed us home with open arms.
The 1994 VMAs marked the first time a female comedian hosted the show, as Rosanne Barr was chosen as Mistress of Ceremonies. Not surprisingly, Rosanne made light of her recent, very public divorce from Tom Arnold in her opening monologue. Asking Radio City's famed Rockettes dance troupe, "Which one of you is sleeping with my husband?" They replied, "Who isn't?" before removing their headdresses to reveal that they were, in fact, men. Take that, Tom!
That happy-go-lucky R.E.M. ditty "Everybody Hurts" took home four awards, including Moonmen for Breakthrough Video and Best Director. While the band attempted to accept the latter trophy, Nathaniel Hornblower (aka Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys) stormed the stage proclaiming Spike Jonze should have won for directing the Beasties' "Sabotage." In addition to screaming, "This is an outrage! This is a farce," he also claimed that he had the original idea for Star Wars.
But that wasn't even the weirdest moment of the night. No, friends, that one came at the show's very opening and belongs to one of the weirdest celebrity couples of all time: Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Taking the stage to substantial applause, Michael said, "And just think, nobody thought this would last" before awkwardly MAKING OUT WITH LISA MARIE! We all threw up just a little bit in our mouths, and proceeded onward. (It's also notable that it indeed did not last, as Lisa Marie filed for divorce in 1996. She later wed Nicholas Cage, proving she simply has really bad taste in men.)
MTV gave Lifetime Achievement Award to The Rolling Stones, prompting Keith Richards to exclaim, "Lifetime award? I've still got 187 years in me!" As of now, it looks like that might be the truth.
Counting Crows ("Mr. Jones") won Best New Artist award, and Aerosmith won both the Viewer's Choice award and the Video of the Year award for the Alicia Silverstone-staring "Cryin'" video.
The performances were spectacular, as had by now become the norm for the MTV Video Music Awards. We had the Stones, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty on the veteran side; Green Day, Beastie Boys, The Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots reppin' the young punks; and Boyz II Men, Salt-N-Pepa and Snoop Dogg holdin' down the R&B/hip-hop front.
And the Leningrad Cowboys. We've got no explanation for that one. Oh, so what? This show kicked serious ass, left people wagging their tongues and staunchly solidified the must-seeability of the VMAs.