. . . . T h r i l l e r B a b y  o m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  est .  2003
                                    T H E    O F F I C I A L    W E B S I T E 
.  DEVOTED    TO    THE    GENERATION     B O R N    1965 - 1980;   
                                                                                                                                                                                      
.   OFFSPRING  OF  THE  BABY BOOMERS  TH R I L L E R BA B I E S 
                                                                                THE   INTERNET 's   #1  SPOT   FOR   EVERYTHING   1980s  
.  ( ORIGINATING  FROM  THE  EPIC - NOVEL   SIGNATURE  PLACE   by  JOSHUA  CRAWFORD )                                                                                                                                        www/facebook.com/ThrillerBabyNEWS !

 

                                           I N   T H E   B E G I N N I N G .  .  . 
             " And  now  we  meet  in  an  abandoned  studio  . 
  We  hear  the  playback  and  it  seems  so  long   ago
 
. 
              . . . We  can't  rewind,  we've  gone  too  far 
. 
                           Pictures  came  and  broke  your  heart 
.
                                Put the blame on V.C.R.
  .   
                                        The Buggles  .  
 
In The Beginning . . .
The  BIRTH  of  the  WORD :

                    Thriller-Baby (thrill-ur-bay-bee), is a compound word that borrows the ‘Baby’ from ‘Baby Boomer’ … and ‘ Thriller ’ from the highest selling album of all time by a young 24 yr. old Michael Jackson which first appeared in music stores at the tail end of 1982, yet by the end of the decade, was owned by nearly every American household. The word was first created by musician/author Joshua Crawford at the age of 19 for his second novel entitled Signature Place , when Crawford was trying to think of the perfect name for his generation while attempting to document the generation itself (those born between 1965 and 1980) for the sake of the book, which in its early faze, began as merely simple memoirs of the one year Crawford had spent living at a real-life condominium-complex in Midland, Texas at the age of 9, shortly after his parents had divorced, where he noticed that most of the other neighborhood children in the small complex, like him, were also children with freshly divorced single-parents. 

                    When what few pages of the memoirs were first written (starting in September of 1994), they were soon shelved until 1997, in order for Crawford to complete his first novel that he had started at age 15 entitled True (also unpublished), and so that he could devote several years of his life at attempting to ink a record-deal; as he has been playing the piano ‘by ear’ and without the ability to read notes, since the age of 3. After writing his first song when he was 18 and realizing he had quite a gift for it, just 3 songs were recorded in 1993 (the first three he ever wrote), and this demo became what has been called “ the most passed around demo in the entire history of the music business .” Like with both his literary works, however, the demo, often called “ the Play Me recordings” (since Play Me was one of the songs on the demo), eventually was sent out to many record-labels throughout the world … yet got looked over; with the now given estimate that it was perhaps the rising popularity of “grunge music” in the 1990s that might have prevented the young Crawford from entering the entertainment industry at the time.
 
                    A bit of a renaissance-man, as Crawford appears to be talented on many levels, two of the record labels who got most close to signing him, were Clive Davis’ ARISTA Records … and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks records; with Spielberg having particular close ties to Crawford since Crawford had once aspired to direct motion pictures, and had even been invited into Spielberg’s office as an 18 th birthday present. (It was after this invitation, that the aspiring director not only wrote his first song, Sing Along , but ended up writing what now is estimated to be at close to 1,000 songs; the majority of them ballads.) When the deal with DreamWorks never quite got close enough to endure a signing, however, the dismayed and ambitious Crawford, who had already survived incredible odds with life as not only a child of a bitter divorce, but also as a teenager whom had nearly been killed by an overnight and mysteriously unexplained case of Cardiomyopathy that had enlarged his heart nearly 5 times his normal size (when he was just 14 years old before treatment calmed the heart down over the duration of many years), he picked up the old memoirs (by this time, he was 22 years old), and he began to realize that many of his peers, had also come from broken homes, if not all of them. And that society was starting to refer to his generation as “Generation Y”; a mere letter not meant to represent anything, other than the letter after ‘X’, which had already been named for another generation by this point in history. (Generation X, also referred to as ‘the ME generation” since they were graduating from college at around the same time that the “double-income” family was starting to become the popular norm throughout America, was the generation born between 1960-1965). But the generation after X, by 1997, had no name, and was already starting to be referred to as “the spoiled generation”, since like X, they too had been raised amongst two incomed parents, not just one, and thus allowed them ample amounts of materialisms and freedoms throughout their coming-of-age years in the very prosperous 1980s; much in part due to President Ronald Regan’s much talked-about ‘Reaganomics”, and again, the thrust of women into the workforce fulltime, which most likely caused more consumer-spending throughout the nation, leading to a large amount of comfortable middle-class wealth for many young couples.

                    These same years-of-the-yuppies , where the same years that Crawford and his peers not only heavily relied on self-reliance to raise themselves (since either their parents were divorced and the one parent that they lived with, worked … or their parents were happily married, but BOTH worked), but also raised, or tried to help raise, each other, even without realizing it, since most of his peers were also children that were left home alone to take care of themselves at a very early age, due to the nation’s many divorces, double-incomes, and thirst for wealth, if not equal power to the sexes. Power often displayed in both the men and women characters of such hit TV shows at the time, that focused on only the rich, if not the luxury of owning crude-oil-wells; Dallas and Dynasty . (Most ThrillerBabies grew up watching the two shows with their parents religiously, and thus perhaps may have been fed the notion, that indeed, one could have, and own, everything!)

                    Bothered by such a myth on the end of the global consensus in these mid 1990s by the same newscasters that were spellbound by the Bill Clinton/ Monica Lewinsky scandal that rippled the fascination with sex that men with power had, right down to the nation’s own President and what he was doing with cigars in the sacred oval office, Crawford began to re-think his efforts to loosely document his own memoirs, and he started to see a need to document everyone ’s childhood, other than just his own. Including the childhoods of the nation’s fore-fathers that might’ve needed further analyzation themselves by society, in order to understand how they could’ve ever birthed such a massive ‘Latch-Key’ generation.; the Baby Boomers … and even the Big Banders before them.

                    Most importantly, he wanted to give his generation not only a name, but also a voice, to prevent any further generations from being named after a mere letter, and prove that greed and materialism were far from providing the essentials to a child’s development, and weren’t the only thing the 1980s had to offer. He wanted to remind the world, that that same generation of wealth-seekers (the Baby Boomers) were also the same generation that left the dinner-table to the children, in order to search for more single-parents in public places such as trendy bars and nightclubs, or even more appetizing-to-the-moral-majority health-spas. Just what they were searching for at these places (?), remains up for grabs to those that read the book, which was Crawford’s entire goal in writing it; to allow whoever reads it, to “ponder as to how this all happened?” , whether child or parent, since the novel documents both the Baby Boomers … as well as a few of their own parents (the Big Banders) who shaped their ambitious drive in life that propelled the hunger for wealth in the 1980s, let alone, all the ThrillerBabies who grew up watching and witnessing such notions, with the majority of the novel told from their point of view.

                    A 600 page, 3-part “Gone With The Wind” for kids and parents (as Crawford has often called it), Signature Place , currently remains a book that to this very day, has yet to be published, but one that is so intriguing and of high interest to ThrillerBabies themselves (who are now the current parents of America who have children that are around the same age of those in Crawford’s novel with their BabyBooming parents now grandparents TO these children), that most people who do come across the book, usually end up baffled by the time they’re through reading it, that it has been rejected by literary agencies throughout America.

                    Masqueraded as a story about two “widowed men” (a nine year old boy and his twenty-nine year old father) who each lose their mothers to a mysterious death which forces them to change their scenery and leave their California coast surroundings, in order to head for West-Texas where they land at a freshly built condominium complex that yearns to know their secret past, the novel’s true identity gradually gets revealed to be one that historically documents not only America’s 1 st generation of latchkey kids ( the ThrillerBabies) and what they secretly do when all their BabyBooming parents are at work or socializing with other parents at nightclubs and bars, but it also documents the Boomers themselves, and by doing so, compels the reader to question why they strive to hide their own troubled lives in the form of driven ambitious soccer-moms and wounded-by-the-Vietnam-war dads . Thus, one page will describe what the children are doing home alone, while the other will describe what the parents to these children are doing away from home … when they should be at home eating dinner with their starved-for-attention youngsters; causing the book to appeal to both a child, and an adult, much less … even a grandparent. "Generational!" as Crawford has often put it best.

                    The biggest ‘catch’ or ‘twist’ in the book, being that the widowed father is so grief-stricken over the sudden loss of his wife and mother, that he still continues to wear his wedding-ring, which causes all the single (or non-single) moms in his new town, to mistake him for being one of them; someone who’s merely just going through a divorce and is now having a tough time dealing with reality. And when the neighborhood’s many children mistake the new kid in town as having another parent that like them, must not have much to do with him as a “child-of-newly-divorced-parents”, both father and son accidentally get gridlocked into being mistaken for the common divorce of the 1980s in record numbers, when in actuality, they’re grieving so silently over the loss of the female counterparts that once shaped their every idea in life, that they fall out of contact with each other, and their generations get separated because so. With the parents retreating to drugs and alcohol and the pressures of not living up to their Big-Band parents’ ideas of who they should’ve been … and the children going one step further, and unlike their parents, retreating to EACH OTHER.

                    This is all while the world premiere of Mtv is going on of course, which amply displays Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Boy George as the new parents to a easily-influenced generation who spend most of their days confiding in their rock ‘n’ roll that now has a face to match its many singers (thanks to Mtv), but also encountering school-gangs (another representation that the nation’s new youth, perhaps needs some more looking after), and the problems that this gang has with the kids at Signature Place because they seem to “get whatever they want”. (The boy’s father, manages the local Toys R Us of all things; a place where the average kid would dream of working, but will never be able too because they’re far too busy spending their free-time learning how to cook for themselves!)
By the middle of the novel, swing-sets seem like a lost art-form, as trying to “raise each other is now the new form of recreation not by choice, but by circumstance.
It appears as though America’s children have now been forced into parenthood years before they even know what sex is.
And the parents?
Well, it’s even more confusing as we watch them hop around from bar to bar, “ looking for love in all the wrong places ” … when the children seem to be finding love within each other, let alone Michael Jackson and his 14-mintue monster music-video that was aired up to 3 times an hour over the course of the summer of 1984; the year in which Madonna first introduced herself on a global scale, and which the entire novel takes place, right up till the final pages that shockingly reveal how indeed, all these latchkey ThrillerBabies turned out as adults, by flash forwarding their entire lives (AND the lives of their parents and grandparents) to the year 1997, when the youngest of the ThrillerBabies finally graduates.

It’s a compelling read, to stay the least.

And the fact that 1997 would’ve marked 4 years past the point in which Jackson’s Beatlesque fame would start to die down, due to his changing physique and his questionable kindness with children, making the pop-singer seem even MORE lost to the general public than he ever originally was as a child-entertainer who was harshly driven into show business by his dominating father, just as the children who grew up under him at Signature Place were harshly driven into adulthood way beyond their years due to the strong self-reliancy that their BabyBooming parents instilled in them by catapulting the divorce-rate to an all-time high, only seems to add all the more reason to have the children who came of age in the 1980s, so closely identify his Thriller album as the easiest way to identify their own music-loving generation, due to the birth of Mtv in 1981 that refused to air African American musicians … until Jackson hired the director of An American Werewolf In London to direct 14 minutes … that forever changed the way people watched such a unique merger of dance, music, storytelling, and film, all rolled into an energetic 24 year old African-American who made gravity-defying dance moves look so easy, that the world forgot he was even African American, and bought his jacket, his socks, his look, his music, all while wondering where he would take them? Breaking down racial stereo-types for not just America, but for the world. And the many Anglo radio stations throughout it.

                    To this day, over 100 millions copies of Thriller have been sold, mostly by the thriller babies who grew up buying them when Jackson was at his peak. But also to this day, 130,000 copies of the album continue to sell each year. Something unheard of, and still quite perplexing.
Why.
Why does it sell as if it were a new album just hitting the streets.
An artist is considered a good seller if they even break a million or two million copies of a certain album.
And even then, it may only be one album out of the many they record.
But 100 million of just one certain album?
Not even the most analytical babyboomer, who remembers where they were when the Beatles came to America in 1964, or when President Kennedy was shot in 1963could understand that the entire generation in which they birthed, could one day be able to use Where were you and what were you doing when Thriller came out?as its entire focal point for pinpointing the thrilling excitement of what music-videos did for their childhood.
A childhood that was often burdened by the emptiness at the dinner-table that was cushioned with food, but no parent.

And then Thriller came on, and the babies of the 80s were alone no more.
They had a new way to communicate.
They had their music. And every new music-video, meant a new soundtrack to every new day! (The often sought-out and highly coveted Signature Place soundtrack, itself, reportedly spans over 9 CDS/close to 200 songs! A very first in modern history to not only be the single most largest piece of media to feature so many songs, but one that in itself, was written entirely AROUND the songs ... not the other way around! For the complete story on how it was writen, visit www.JoshuaCrawford.com.)
And since everybody liked Thriller , whatever race, color, or creed, they had each other. Because Thriller united them by simply just having fun.
Though if fun were the only ingredient the album had, then it probably would’ve just been a passing trend.
130,000 copies a year, however, is no trend. 
                    Thriller now stands as a time capsule of a childhood that everybody shared, but also the quality that one single piece of music has ... to forever change the evolution of a planet by breaking down any reservations it ever had about races, colors, and creeds. ___________________________________
I N     C R A W F O R D ’ S     O W N     W O R D S
:
                     " Thriller brought the dancefloor into America’s latchkey livingrooms several times a day, for three years, in the form of a nice-looking African American werewolf who could sing, dance, and scare the hell out of you at the same time; Michael Jackson.

                    Beginning with the video’s opening disclaimer by Jackson, stating that he ''did not endorse a belief in the occult'' … to the end-credits, with his yellow demonic eyes that begged you to pop in a VHS tape into your VCR in order to record the most famous 14-minutes in the history of mankind, you not only knew you were witnessing something historic when it aired, you knew you were witnessing something historic every TIME it aired! Mtv, and America, could soon no longer ignore other black artists. If Jackson is to be remembered for contributing to anything, which I’m sure he will, first and foremost will be this alone, even if it was unintended on his part, because he was merely so creative and energetic and had enough wealth at that time to be one of the first musicians to ever turn their songs into mini films aimed for television. As those famous 14 minutes were somehow able to influence an entire generation more than sliced bread ever had with our forefathers; breaking down black stereotypes along the way.
                     
                    We became much more musically-conscience as a planet because of him, and much more self-conscience of what isolation could exist in a creature such as him, to the point where he, himself, was so unlike anything ever created, that he sought friendship and assimilation in a private zoo of animals and children, not adults. I think our appreciation of geniuses was heightened because of him, as was our awareness of how our fascination with geniuses could rip the genius apart, as could the lack of ever having a childhood; something in which he and my generation ironically have in common, which is perhaps the reason why we loved him so much. Perhaps too much. But then again, one can never get too much love if they’ve never had good parenting or a childhood alltogether. It often seemed he was looking for that parenting and lost childhood in us. I don’t thing he got it, because we didn’t know how to raise him due to our own lack of parenting, and instead, were looking to him to parent us; something in which I don’t think he, the genius that he is, will ever be able to comprehend. The fact that he seemed to get more and more lost, the more my generation got older and more uncertain with the world ahead of us, is almost an eerie percussive coincidence in itself. But the fact that he achieved such a high caliber of legendary influence and output of creativity all over the world, all in his life … and not a death, and was known for that alone, all by the age of twenty-five, is just down right inspiring. Some of the other greatest influential artists on this planet, often crumble under pressure, and die too young, with that death generating the fame that causes their work to finally be appreciated; something which they could not achieve while living. Michael Jackson achieved that. And achieved it well; without death. Mortal flesh does indeed grow old. But music never dies. And the fact that he was able to combine the flesh with the dance, the spirit with the music, the emotion with the voice, all while giving it visual picture that told an additional layer of story all together, is quite a rare ingredient that he shared with his sister Janet, and of course Madonna. The line between eccentric and sad grew thinner with his existence. I hope he and the world were able to learn from the other how not to cross that line. I also hope the happiness he gave us with his music, way outshines the sadness he reflected in his physique. I believe it eventually will.  In 1993, nearly 100 million households tuned in to see Oprah Winfrey's LIVE interview of Jackson for 90 minutes during the rare evening primetime hour. Fifteen years later, in 2008, only half that many -- 50 million -- tuned in to watch Barack Obama become the 1st African American to be elected President of the United States.  That statistic, even taking into consideration the inflation of population, is completely shocking. And it only begins to give those who didn't experience the 1980s, just a brief idea to the kind of fame that the man had, because of his great contribution to music and  pop culture, and what it unknowingly did for African Americans who were just starting to be socially integrated upon Thriller's release in 1982. To the point that Mtv wouldn't even air African American music videos for their entire first two years on the air ... until Thriller.                
                    
                    Most legendary iconic artists who die young, are forever a legend and an iconic image because they forever remain young in the public’s mind. Jackson’s physique eventually transformed so far from what it was in Thriller , that it sadly does seem, that the man on the cover of that album, is still 25 years old and is no longer with us. Through his desperate conflicting attempt to alter his appearance (for reasons that obviously had a lot to do with his own persecution he received from his father, who hated the way his 'chid-star-son' looked and never seemed impressed with his son, no matter WHAT he did ... Thriller or NO Thriller), he was able to give us several people in several decades with several different pieces of music. To know he carried that many people inside his mind alone, is perhaps more of an enigma than even he is. But then again, I think that’s what he thought he wanted; or what he thought his father did. He had many faces for the many fazes of his life. But the face that gave us Thriller , will be the one most remembered. You can still see traces of that person in his eyes if you look close enough. I simply couldn’t think of a better word to describe the decade that matched musicians’ faces with their songs that Mtv birthed at the beginning of this decade, other than THRILLING! It really is a word that sums up the highs and often overlooked lows that spawned such desperate-to-have-a-complete-family kids that ate up every new music-video for every new band they had never heard of, until they saw it air. One has to remember, the most popular toy next to the Rubik’s cube for my generation, were these somewhat ugly looking little dolls called Cabbage-Patch-Kids that one couldn’t truly love until they mailed in official adoption certificates that each doll came with. Even I had one. (They were the first dolls that were vogue for even boys to own!) I think that certificate said a lot to us and helped propel the sell of the toy. I think it said that we were a generation who wanted to feel included in something, since being included in our parents’ lives, was obviously not at the top of their priority list. Thriller included us, and made us feel included. Not just the video, but the hit singles it launched, the fads it created, the times it represented, and the stereotypes it just happened to break down along the way. Stereotypes that might’ve taken 20 or 30 more years to break down. Stereotypes that now seem shocking that they ever existed. It was a tough time for us as a society of children of divorce and children of working parents, and a very uncertain one since we were the first generation to ever experience such solitude amongst our own parents, but Thriller sure made it a lot more endurable for a while. I don’t think we’ll ever have another single piece of music that accidentally starts a revolution amongst children like Thriller did. You could tell at the time that Michael Jackson even looked like he was finally having fun. But you could also tell he was simply just being an entertainer. I don’t think he even knew how big the album would indeed be. It was exciting to watch this. And it was even more exciting to watch everything that the album influenced … which was just about everybody. There’s a certain unity when the world finally tosses out something that EVERYBODY can enjoy. I miss that kind of unity. I think my entire generation does. It was our family. And we were so happy to adopt it. 
                 
                    130,000 copies a year is even more proof that new generations continue to  adopt Thriller ; perhaps because they see only a glimpse of what we saw when it first came out. It’s not only the biggest selling album in the history of the world, it’s also the biggest and most iconic image to see the cover of that album, and simply say to our children  and our children’s children, ‘you just had to have been there.’ And therefore, saying even that, reinstates that Thriller was a club for anyone who remembers it. It represented everything that was exciting in the ever technologically-advanced times of the 1980s that spawned so many inventions that shaped our world; the cordless phone (which many thriller-babies and their baby-booming parents, to this day, still refer to as SPACE PHONES), the cell-phone, the microwave oven, the mini-van, the personal computer, the Compact Disc, the Walk-Man, the V.C.R., the Internet. Thriller represents an ultra creative time in civilization that was very much on the ‘cutting edge’ of taking the portability of anything to the next level. No such album will perhaps ever be so powerful that it literally serves as that surrogate-parent to an entire generation to make up for the one that isn’t around anymore. You can only have that epidemic once in the history of mankind. And we were the very first generation to grow up with the majority of our parents completely removed from the households. The timing was just right for Jackson. Mtv had only been out a few years, and without them, Thriller certainly would’ve not been as influential because they aired it twice an hour, 24 hrs a day, for what seemed like two entire years. But without Thriller , Mtv probably wouldn’t have been as influential either. To know and truly grasp that THAT MOONWALK  he did wasn't on any music-video (nor was his trademark GLITTER GLOVE on one hand only), it was merely on a Motown TV Special on a typical weeknight in which every one my age was tuning in to ... just to see if he'd sing his latest hit, "Billie Jean", (That was it! That's all we wanted to see!) and then low and behold, he starts doing this thing with his feet that seemed to be causing the very floor in which he was standing on, to literally start MOVING, and that the moonwalk caught on becasue of that, is just INCREDIBLE. I don’t think generations that came after ours, really know what a music-video should look like, if they even know what a music-video even is anymore unless they visit YouTube ... since Mtv rarely airs them, until they see Thriller. Most up and coming generations aren’t even aware that the 'M' in Mtv once stood for Music-Television which aired music-videos that were almost safe enough for the entire family to enjoy; broadening our tastes for ample amounts of diverse music. So influential was the television network, that restaurants used to show it on big-screen TVs while typical suburban familes ate burgers and pizzas while watching it together, like they do in my novel. But to those of us who were first fed the new channel, you could almost say that for a while, the ’M’ stood for two of the most influential entertainers in the history of a planet’s existence; Michael … and Madonna. Those two thrills aren’t likely to ever be replicated. To know that each of their music-videos first surfaced within just a year of each other, is just mind blowing. And to this day, their music-videos, particularly their early ones, look like cinematic masterpieces compared to the kinds of storytelling that the musicians of the world today have resorted to. I might’ve named us the Madonna generation or something like that, had her first album had a title, but the fact that Jackson’s album was not only a title and a very memorable music-video, in addition to remaining the highest-selling album of all time, but it was a literal ’verb’, it just said it all.

I think Michael Jackson and Thriller showed us, without meaning to, that music was no noun. It was a verb.
And perhaps the most influential verb ever created."

~ Joshua Crawford
 


O
n AUGUST 1st, 1981 a new network aptly titled "MUSIC TELEVISION"  premiered their first music-video.
 1979' s VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR  by The Buggles.
By this point in world society, very few people even knew that such a word music-video existed. Early pioneers for them were called PROMOS, as they were mostly produced by British bands to simply mail out to American record labels overseas as a demonstraition of what their band looked like. (Which explained why some of the early music-videos ever aired, were mostly Brit bands; as British bands were the only ones who had such "promos' as they were called; ushering in a 2nd British Invasion of Music in the 1980s. The Beatles had caused the 1st BRITISH INVASION  in the 1960s.) Acts such as  The Rolling Stones had used such PROMOS as merely promotional material for their albums. And the Beatles had experimented with setting their own songs to some of the footage in their movies such as HELP and IT'S A HARD DAY'S NIGHT. Even Joshua Crawford credits Ricky Nelson as being the first artist to ever really have a major music-video to promote just one single song; Traveling Man. And other than the MGM musicals of the golden age of Hollywood, in addition to the popular musical movies of the 1970s such as SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, GREASE, as well as many early-80s musical movies that had many montages set to music such as URBAN COWBOY, motion pictures were right on the brink of starting to try and tell stories with music, as opposed to just having the music serve as background source music in a particular scene. 
It seems almost phrophetic that the 1980 Alan Parker film FAME, which came out precisely one year BEFORE Mtv did, would usher in something kind of new for audiences.  But the V.C.R. in theses days, was very new and very expensive. Therefore seeing anything like the above mentioned films echoing on their television screens in their own private living-rooms or at their breakfast tables, was far from happening.
Or so they thought!
 
                    Here is what the world, who had never seen a music-video, SAW on August 1st, 1981 at 12:10 am if they happened to be watching SNOW on a selected new cable channel; a sister-newtork to Nickelodeon.  Keep in mind, nothing like this had ever entered the world's living-rooms, unless musicians were performing their songs LIVE on a television special such as The Ed Sullivan Show or Dick Clark's Americand Bandstand, or Solid Gold; a musical variety show that was hosted by singer Dionne Warwick in which most ThrillerBabies remember. (The later 2 shows died in the early 80s, because Mtv stole their audience.) Radio was the main format in which to hear  musicians. And FACEless musicans at that. Mtv placed a face with the name and an additional layer of storytelling in what the song was perhaps trying to say; known as the "image-consciouss" music-video; something that today, is sadly, almost a lost art-form due to current music-video images having very little to do with the song's actual lyrics ... so much so that it can often ruin the appeal of the song itsef.
Talk about a song having a "2nd life", strangely enough, Video Killed The Radio Star was merely a lost and overlooked single in 1979 in America. (It barely cracked the TOP 40 an entire 2 years before it would become the first-ever music-video aired on Mtv in 1981, even though it was the first #1 single for the new Island Records in Canada.
It would later become the millionth video aired on Mtv on February 7, 2000.) 
               Ironically, the lyrics refer to nostaliga of a different decade, other than the eighties; the decade in which an entire generation now equates the song with because of its impact. Losely based on "The Sound Sweep" by J.G. Ballard about a "world without music", the story within the song, refers and reflects on a period of technological change in the 1960s, and the desire to remember the past and the disappointment that the children of the current generation will not appreciate the past. In the 1950s and early 1960s, radio was an important medium for many, through which "stars" were created. And if one looks back to the year 1929, the year in which the film The Jazz Singer became the first motion picture with SOUND, the song can be bled for even more story-telling than perhaps its creators ever intended; as when sound entered motion pictures, many SILENT-FILM-STARS who finally SPOKE UP, had voices that didn't match their seductive looks, and therefore, "VIDEO KILLED THEM" ... as reflected in the movie Susent Boulevard in 1950; a film about a reclusive ageing 'silent-film' actress who never quite got over being killed off by the invention of sound.
On another level, one could even translate the song as the precise fear that motion pictures studios had when television came onto the market in the early 1950s; killing off their movie-going public for a while; something that happened once again, with the invention of the V.C.R. in the late 1970s ... and then yet again with the invention of the DVD in the mid 1990s. As always, however, the movie industy recovered and is always able to gain back its audience by "occasionally" providing us with a film that is so unique, it deserves to be shared in the dark with a room full of strangers. (2008's The Dark Knight signaled a strong return to the beloved box-office as the TRUE way in which to view a film in all its beauty.)
             
            However
one interprets these ageless lyrics by the Buggles, the lyrics, themselves, in a way, astoundingly forshawdowed what the impact of Mtv would literally do to a few "stars" of the early 1980s: Artists such as Christopher Cross (famous for his song Sailing which is featured in Crawford's novel) and Paul Davis (famous for his song Cool Night which is also featured in Crawford's novel) quickly got tossed aside once Mtv revealed what they looked like. Thus this "breaking the mystique of the face behind the song" cut quite a few careers short, even though many of those careers were indeed worthy of pumping out more great music. (Both Cross and Davis are highly respected because of their determination and capability to create extreme melodic music; something that isn't always heard in the music of this early 21st century.)
            
    A series of 5 CDs that captured these unique batch of pre-Mtv stars of the early 80s that's careers were quickly ended once Mtv "killed the radio star", were assembled together by the always reflective RHINO records in 1995. Entitled RADIO DAZE: POP HITS OF THE 80s, these compact discs (which contain some rare early 80s songs that cannot be found elsewhere!) quickly sold out in stores and became highly coveted top-prize collectables for 80s-enthusists ... such as Crawford himself ... who loved "those easy-sounding artists who weren't good-looking enough to be taken seriously, but perhaps had something more to offer than the overly-beautified singers and songwriters of the today world, because you were forced to focus in on the song lyrics themselves and the strong melody that highlighted those lyrics."(Crawford, himself, is known to be a master at his craft in being able to create rather "catchy" melodies out of thin air, and one can easily sense when listening to his music, the influence of those lost early 80s tunes must've taken quite a toll on him as a youngster when his parents were struggling to keep their marriage together.)
            The CDs now go for several bucks, and although they don't contain the much loved hit "Video Killed The Radio Star" by the average-looking Buggles, they do hint around at what kind of music was killing late-1970s disco on the adult-contemporary market, yet was opening the doors for something much bigger before hair-metal and rap took over the later part of the decade; Michael Jackson.

Below the video for VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR,  is THRILLER. Released just a little over 2 years later in early 1984, notice how drastically different the production value and cinematogphry are! And below Thriller, is the most talked about television commerical that aired during the Superbowl of 2008; a mere 25 years after the music-video for Thriller.




Released on December 2, 1983, just 3 weeks before Christmas (which would have everybody talking throughout the Holiday season, if not running to the record stores to buy the album), Michael Jackson and movie director John Landis spent $500,000 (the highest ever spent on a music video at the time) to make a mere 14 minues, that would cause the Thriller album to be embedded into the lives of those that lived in the 1980s forever, as well as propel the world to make it the most successful album ever created; making Mtv a household name in the process, and having an entire generation named after it once Joshua Crawford began writing Signature Place nine years later in a tiny one-bedroom apartment while living on next to nothing, and not even owning a car.
* Notice at precisely 9 minutes and 12 seconds into video (though HERE, time is kept in reverse and it's at 4 minutes and 28 seconds), Jackson and his team of monsters make a simultaneous JUMP into mid-air that is so perfectly in unison, one can draw a near-perfect HORIZONTAL line underneath their feet; with the exception of Jackson, who rises just a few inches above the rest to stand out. This "JUMP", according to director John Landis, was heavily rehersed, but the fact that it happens so in unison to allow a perfect line to be drawn from the left side of the monsters' feet ... to the right side, was a sheer stroke of luck; and is something audiences didn't quite notice until roughly 20 years after the video had already been in existance.

                                      Aired in the middle of the forever historic Super Bowel 42 on February 3, 2008, in which a losing New York Giants to a dominating New England Patriots suddenly scored a touchdown with only 35 seconds left in the game (the biggest edge-of-your-seat shocker in Super Bowl history!), this little commerical featuing supermodel Naomi Campbell and a bunch of CGI lizzards, caught the attention of viewers hours before the Giants ever did; as up until those last 35 seconds, the game had remained limboed in boredom in what many thought to be a sure win on the Patriots, since the Giants were saving their best for last.
Though it was meant to advertise LIFE WATER, it was all the more appealing to ThrillerBabies across the world, because it echoed their 25 year old past as the first generation of majorital LatchKey children, and served as a forunner to the 25th Anniversary of the album that Michael Jackson would soon release on February 11th, where it landed in 2nd place as the highest selling album of the week; a landmark for an album already 25 years old that was simply having a re-release! Fueling even further sales for the highest selling album in history evre more so.
Granted, only the music is heard, but such powerful imagary the lizards had in replicating Jackson's famous dance moves, that no introduction to what the commerical was imitating was even necessary to audiences. As the images spoke for themselves. To those who were born after the 1970s, it was simply one of the most engaging and unique commercials they had ever seen.
To those that were born 1965-1980 however, it held a very special place in their hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

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