On this day 30 years ago, MTV: Music Television went on the air for the first time ever, broadcasting to several thousand subscribers via a northern New Jersey cable system. The first images of the broadcast were a montage of photos and video from the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Apollo 11 moon mission. Over these images were spoken the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll” and a new era in music and entertainment was born.
The altered image of Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon next to an animated MTV flag became one of the most iconic symbols of the decade. Originally, MTV producers intended to use Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” quote, but Armstrong had refused permission.
Take a step back and watch the launch of the network, complete with static bumpers. Rock on!