Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles – 1979

Released late 1979, The Buggles’ hit, Video Killed the Radio Star, was the first music video played on MTV in the US.

what’s in a name?

Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes met when auditioning for the backing band of English disco singer Tina Charles. They didn’t make that band and went their separate ways for a while. Cutting a long story short, they came together in 1979 to form The Buggles.

Trevor said he chose the name because,

It was the most disgusting name I could think of at that time.

Meanwhile, Geoff claims the name arose out of a joke and was actually a pun on The Beatles:

It was originally called The Bugs. The Bugs were studio insects—imaginary creatures who lived in recording studios creating havoc. Then somebody said as a joke that The Bugs would never be as big as The Beatles. So we changed it to The Buggles.

first time lucky

Video Killed the Radio Star was the first song the duo recorded. It was sent to Island Records who signed them immediately.

The band released their debut album, The Age of Plastic, in 1980. In addition to Video Killed the Radio Star, three other songs from the album were released as singles: (Living in) The Plastic Age, Clean, Clean, and Elstree.

life after buggling

In 1980, while working as The Buggles, Trevor and Geoff began work on their second album. In the studio next door was the band, Yes. The band had been successful but had just lost vocalist Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

When Trevor and Geoff were asked to join the band, they jumped at the chance.  Geoff still tours with Yes.

video killed the radio star fax

  • Video Killed the Radio Star was released on September 7th 1979 as the debut single of UK band The Buggles. It was from their debut album, The Age of Plastic.
  • The meaning of Video Killed the Radio Star is quite obvious; it looks back at the life of a singer whose career is cut short by television.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star has the distinction of being the first music video shown on MTV in the US. It aired at 12:01am on 1 August 1981.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star was listed at #40 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80’s.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star hit #1 on the UK singles charts on October 20th 1979. It was Island Records’ first #1 single
  • Video Killed the Radio Star also hit #1 in Australia but only made it to #40 in the US.
  • Covers of Video Killed the Radio Star have been released by The Presidents of the United States of America, Ben Folds Five and Alvin and the Chipmonks.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star lyrics.

video killed the radio star – the buggles – 1979 – video


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