Watch The Very First Two Hours of MTV Ever Aired, Including The Network’s First Metal Video

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It’s hard to imagine that MTV ever played music videos consistently, but it’s even harder to imagine a world in which the massive network didn’t exist. But when it first aired at midnight on August 1st, 1981, MTV was a truly indie affair, showcasing a mixture of new wave punk and poppy art rock while awkwardly introducing concepts like televised music news. Now, one YouTuber has posted a video of the first two hours of MTV ever aired — and among them is the network’s first metal video.

What young readers will probably think watching this clip of MTV’s first two hours, reported on by Laughing Squid, is, Damn, every rock star used to dress like Elvis Costello back in the day. The network’s stars were all wearing frumpy hats and flowy shirts and sparkly jewelry that one normally associates with art teachers; even Pat Benatar dressed like someone’s aunt (someone’s foxy aunt, without question, but still). In the middle of it all, though, is Iron Maiden‘s video for “Iron Maiden,” which shows the band in full long hair and leather, with frontman Paul Di’Anno barking out the classic track. It’s a cool reminder that metal was part of the bedrock of MTV’s line-up back in the day.

Check out MTV’s inaugural two hours below:

Forty years later, Iron Maiden are still going strong. The band’s new double album Senjutsu is out next month, and they already have European tour dates booked for 2022. Not bad for a band who was there at the birth of MTV!

Catch Iron Maiden at one of the following dates next year:

6/4 – Hyvinkää Rockfest FIN
6/11 – Download Festival ENG
6/13 – Belfast, Belsonic Festival (On-sale April 16) N. IRE
6/16 – Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting BEL
6/18 – Copenhagen, Copenhell DEN
6/20 – Prague, Sinobo Stadium CZE
6/23 – Oslo, Tons Of Rock NOR
6/26 – Paris, La Defense Arena FRA
6/27 – Arnhem, Gelredome (On-sale April 16) HOL
6/30 – Zurich, Hallenstadion (On-sale April 23) SWI
7/2 – Cologne, Rhein-Energie-Stadium GER
7/4 – Berlin, Waldbühne GER
7/7 – Bologna, Sonic Park ITA
7/9 – Stuttgart, Cannstatter Wasen GER
7/10 – Wiener, Neustadt Stadium Open-Air, AUS
7/20 – Bremen, Bürgerweide GER
7/22 – Gothenburg, Ullevi Stadium, SWE
7/24 – Warsaw, PGE Narodowy POL
7/26 – Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank Park (On-sale April 23) GER
7/29 – Barcelona Olympic Stadium SPA
7/31 – Lisbon Estadio Nacional POR


Words by Chris Krovatin