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MTV Video Music Awards

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MTV Video Music Awards

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The MTV Video Music Awards were established in 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. Originally beginning as an alternative to the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards is now a respected pop culture awards show in its own right.

The statues given to winners of the award are often called "Moon Men" because the statue is of an astronaut on the moon, one of the earliest representations of MTV.

The eligibility period for the Video Music Awards begins July 1. They are presented annually and broadcast live on MTV. Past broadcasts have been held in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

The 2006 MTV Video Music Awards will be held at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, August 31.


Memorable Moments


  • Madonna's performance at the First Annual MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 is considered to be the first controversial incident in a career that would see many more. She took the stage to sing "Like A Virgin" wearing a combination bustier/wedding gown, which included her trademark "Boy Toy" belt. During the performance, she rolled around on the floor, revealing lacy stockings and garters, and made a number of sexually suggestive moves. While such a performance would probably not raise eyebrows today, it was shocking to a mid-1980s audience. However, Madonna seemed to thrive on the controversy, and it only served to increase her popularity.
  • Controversial comic Andrew Dice Clay's appearance on the 1989 Video Music Awards to promote his new movie, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, earned him a "lifetime ban" from the network when he started performing some of his already-notorious nursery rhymes.
  • After performing on the 1989 VMA's with Tom Petty, Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin was assaulted by Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil, leading to a verbal battle between Vince and Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose when Axl stood up for Izzy.


  • Conflict between Poison's Bret Michaels and C.C. DeVille culminated in a fistfight at the Video Music Awards in 1991, provoked by DeVille's live performance which was perceived as inept. DeVille was fired and replaced by Pennsylvanian guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen.
  • The 1991 VMAs included the first public appearance by Paul Reubens after his lewd-conduct arrest earlier that year. Taking the stage in costume as Pee Wee Herman, he received a standing ovation, after which he asked the audience, "Heard any good jokes lately?"
  • In 1992, MTV had requested Nirvana perform their smash hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit," while the band themselves had indicated they preferred to play their new songs, "Rape Me" and "tourette's". This did not go over well with network executives, who continued to push for "Teen Spirit." Finally, offering a compromise, MTV executives offered the band a choice to play either "Teen Spirit" or "Lithium," which the band appeared to accept. However, at the actual performance, Nirvana began to play, and Kurt Cobain played the first few chords of the song, "Rape me" much to the horror of MTV execs. The band did finally return to their regular performance of "Lithium." Near the end of the song, frustrated that his amp had stopped functioning, bassist Krist Novoselic decided to toss his bass into the air for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, he misjudged the landing, and the bass ended up bouncing off of his forehead, forcing him to stumble off the stage in a daze.
    • Axl Rose challenged Kurt Cobain to a fight during the 1992 Video Music Awards, after Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love, egged him on.
      • When Cobain was trashing the band's equipment at the end performance, drummer Dave Grohl ran to the mic and began yelling "Hi, Axl!" repeatedly.
  • Guns N' Roses' hit ballad "November Rain" became the most requested video on MTV, eventually winning an MTV Video Music Award for best cinematography in 1992. During the awards show, the band performed "November Rain" with singer Elton John. Because of the dispute Axl had with Cobain, moments before the "November Rain" performance, Cobain spat on the keys of what he thought was Axl's piano. Cobain later revealed that he was shocked to see Elton John play on the piano he had spat on.
  • Pearl Jam and Neil Young took the stage in 1993, and gave an amazing performance of Young's classic "Rocking in the Free World." It was a solid mixture of classic and contemporary rock, and it helped to solidify Pearl Jam as being a step above other bands of the time. This followed a Pearl Jam only performance of their song "Animal"... one of the few songs to ever be performed that never had a video on MTV.
  • RuPaul caused a bit of controversy at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards when he was given the opportunity to present an award with legendary actor Milton Berle, who performed an altogether different type of drag early in his career. The two had conflicts back-stage, and when Berle inappropriately touched RuPaul's breasts, RuPaul ad-libbed the line "So you used to wear gowns, but now you're wearing diapers." The press picked this up as a crack in the "love everyone" message RuPaul presented, and depicted the incident as a young newcomer treating a legend poorly. Eventually the hullabaloo faded.
  • At the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards on September 8, Madonna was announced to present the award for Video of the Year. She came out arm-in-arm with an unannounced David Letterman, to a wild ovation. At the microphone, Letterman told her, "I'll be out by the car. Watch your language," and then left. Madonna has made several appearances on Letterman's show since, the two now treating the incident with humor.
  • On September 4, 1996, the four original members of Van Halen made their first public appearance together since their infamous break-up in 1985, presenting an MTV Video Music Award. Their appearance was greeted with a twenty second standing ovation, and fueled widespread speculation about a reunion tour. After the ousting of vocalist Sammy Hagar on Father's Day 1996, the original line-up of Van Halen, featuring vocalist David Lee Roth, recorded two new songs for a highly anticipated greatest hits album, entitled Best Of Vol. 1. Backstage, after presenting an award to Beck, the reunion soured bitterly, and reportedly, David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen nearly came to blows. During media interviews, Roth advised Van Halen not to talk about his personal issues, such as his impending hip replacement surgery. Van Halen claims that Roth said, "tonight is about me, man, not your fucking hip!" Van Halen, infuriated at what he perceived as Roth's egotism, lunged at Roth and told him, "if I ever see you again, you'd better be wearing a cup, pal!" Van Halen also fumed about Roth's behaviour while presenting an MTV Music Award to Beck, calling it "disrespectful," and "embarrassing." Several weeks later, the public learned that Van Halen would not reunite with Roth, to much outrage. Roth released a media statement apologizing to fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a publicity stunt to sell more copies of the greatest hits album, and that he had been led to believe that he was rejoining Van Halen. The following day, Eddie and Alex Van Halen released a media statement, stating that they had been honest with Roth, and never led him to believe that he had been re-hired. Many were infuriated by this situation, and largely took Roth's side in the argument. Subsequently, Van Halen's popularity declined.
  • In 1997, Puff Daddy released his debut album No Way Out, featuring the successful tribute single "I'll Be Missing You", dedicated to the recently murdered Notorious B.I.G. The song featured Puff Daddy, Biggie's widow Faith Evans and R&B group 112. The song sampled the melody of The Police's hit song "Every Breath You Take." All these artists performed the song with former Police vocalist Sting during the 1997 Video Music Awards.
  • The odd pairing of presenters Martha Stewart and Busta Rhymes at the 1997 Video Music Awards. They presented the best dance video award to the Spice Girls for their music video "Wannabe."
  • While accepting the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist Video of 1997 ("Sleep To Dream"), Fiona Apple appealed to her audience not to be enamored of celebrity culture. Referring to the MTV/Music Industry she proclaimed "this world is bullshit" and quoted Maya Angelou: "Go with yourself." Though her comments were generally greeted with cheers and applause at the awards ceremony, the media backlash was huge; host Chris Rock made a derisive comment about her speech, which only added to the backlash. Some considered her remarks hypocritical, seeing a contradiction between her appearance in a risqué music video in only her underwear, and her telling young women to ignore celebrity culture. However she was unapologetic: "When I have something to say, I'll say it."
  • At the 1998 Video Music Awards, actress Rose McGowan arrived with then-boyfriend Marilyn Manson wearing a see-through dress, no bra, and a thong.
  • Lil' Kim showed up at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards with an entire breast exposed and only a tiny piece of fabric over the nipple. Kim's outfit became even more controversial later that night, when she appeared on stage with Mary J. Blige and Diana Ross to present an award, and Ross reached over, cupped her hand under Kim's exposed breast and jiggled it while both laughed heartily. It was later described as Ross getting to second base with Kim on national television.


  • At the 2000 Video Music Awards, the award for Best Rock Video went to Limp Bizkit. As Fred Durst was making his speech, Tim Commerford, the bassist for Rage Against the Machine, climbed onto the scaffolding of the set and threatened to jump. Fred Durst responded by saying Limp Bizkit was "the most hated band in the world." The show soon went into a commercial break. Commerford, along with his bodyguard, was sentenced to a night in jail, though he later claimed the stunt was intended as a joke.
  • Also at the 2000 VMAs, Britney Spears gave a memorable live performance of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and her own hit "Oops!... I Did It Again" in medley form. While she began her segment in a black suit, she shocked the media while, at only the age of eighteen, ripped that off to display a revealing, flesh-colored stage outfit.
  • The next year, at the 2001 Video Music Awards, Britney Spears again shocked the nation when she took the stage to give a performance of her then-new single, "I'm a Slave 4 U". Along with dancing in a very revealing outfit while wet, the performance is probably most remembered for featuring the singer 'charming' a flesh-colored snake. A media frenzy ensued, and involved criticisms against Spears by the PETA organisation.
  • Also at the 2001 awards, Michael Jackson made a surprise appearance at the end of 'N Sync's performance and, surrounded by members of the group, performed some of his trademark dance moves to the beatboxing of member Justin Timberlake.
  • Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog appeared at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards and had a confrontation with Eminem (which MTV later removed from rebroadcast airings). Eminem also had a confrontation with Moby, who had called the rapper's music misogynistic and homophobic. Eminem challenged Moby to a fight while he was on stage with which the audience gave a downpour of boos.
  • Eminem also had an embarrassing moment accepting his award for Best Male Video (Without Me) at the 2002 VMAs, from the hands of Christina Aguilera, who he had dissed in 2000's video "The Real Slim Shady." Aguilera herself had some attention from the media because of her very revealing outfit. It is said by MTV that Christina and Eminem finally stopped their feud in the backstage, hugging each other.
  • At the 2002 VMAs, Axl Rose unveiled the new lineup of Guns N' Roses. The band's set was the show's finale, and although the performance was meant to be kept a secret (host Jimmy Fallon frequently aluded to a major event that would occur at the end of the show before finally donning a G'n'R t-shirt when he introduced the band), some New York radio outlets announced the performance earlier in the day. The band, which included nine members and was fronted by a dreadlocked, gravelly-voiced Axl Rose, played a set consisting of "Welcome to the Jungle," "Madagascar," and "Paradise City."
  • At the 2003 Video Music Awards, Madonna provoked the public once again by portraying a groom and kissing her brides, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, on stage. The gender role-reversal and lesbian theme instantly made front page headlines. The three singers performed a medley of her early hit, "Like A Virgin", and her then latest release, "Hollywood", with a guest rap by Missy Elliott. The design resembled Madonna's performance of "Like A Virgin" at the 1984 VMAs: the same wedding cake set, wedding dresses and "Boy Toy" belt worn by Madonna in 1984 now adorned Aguilera and Spears.
  • The MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2005 were held three days after Hurricane Katrina, a Category 1 hurricane at the time, hit just north of Miami, Florida on August 25, 2005. Local residents in the area were without power and could not watch the broadcast. Hurricane Katrina passed through Florida before hitting along the Central Gulf Coast August 29 near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana as a Category 3 storm.
  • At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Beavis and Butt-head appeared in a couple of Viewers Choice award skits, saying to "Vote to put Beavis and Butt-head back on MTV!" This may be a sign that the show is coming back soon, but was more than likely a promotional appearance for the November 8, 2005 retail release of The Best of Beavis and Butt-Head Volume One: The Mike Judge Collection.
  • At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Fat Joe made a disparaging comment about G-Unit during a performance: "I'd like to tell the people home I feel so safe tonight with all this police protection courtesy of G-Unit. . ." Later in the show, after G-Unit's performance, 50 Cent addressed the crowd with a profanity-laden criticism of Fat Joe — much of which was edited before being shown on television. Kanye West was shown, making sure nothing else would happen.
  • The 2005 MTV Video Music Awards was the first to have a performance in Spanish, when Shakira performed her hit song "La Tortura" featuring Alejandro Sanz. It was also the first time that a Latin video was nominated at the awards.

MTV Video Music Award Host Cities

September 14, 1984 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler
September 13, 1985 -Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Eddie Murphy
September 5, 1986 - Palladium, (New York City, New York)/Gibson Amphitheatre (Los Angeles, California)
September 11, 1987 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Julie Brown
September 7, 1988 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Arsenio Hall
September 6, 1989 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Arsenio Hall
September 6, 1990 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Arsenio Hall
September 5, 1991 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Arsenio Hall
September 9, 1992 - UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Dana Carvey
September 2, 1993 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Christian Slater
September 8, 1994 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Roseanne Barr
September 7, 1995 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Dennis Miller
September 4, 1996 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Dennis Miller
September 4, 1997 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Chris Rock
September 10, 1998 - Gibson Amphitheatre, (Los Angeles, California) hosted by Ben Stiller
September 9, 1999 - Metropolitan Opera House, (New York City, New York) hosted by Chris Rock
September 7, 2000 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans
September 6, 2001 - Metropolitan Opera House, (New York City, New York) hosted by Jamie Foxx
August 29, 2002 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Jimmy Fallon
August 28, 2003 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York) hosted by Chris Rock
August 29, 2004 - American Airlines Arena, (Miami, Florida) No official host
August 28, 2005 - American Airlines Arena, (Miami, Florida) hosted by Sean "Diddy" Combs
August 31, 2006 - Radio City Music Hall, (New York City, New York)

Award categories

Best Video of the Year
Best Male Video
Best Female Video
Best Group Video
Best Rap Video
Best R&B Video
Best Hip Hop Video
Best Dance Video
Best Rock Video
Best Pop Video
Best New Artist
Best Direction
Best Choreography
Best Special Effects
Best Art Direction
Best Editing
Best Cinematography
MTV2 Award
Breakthrough Video
Viewer's Choice
Best Video Game Soundtrack

The following awards are no longer given out.

Best Concept Video
Best Stage Performance
Best Overall Performance
Best Post-Modern Video
Best Long Form Video
Most Experimental Video
Best Alternative Video
Best Artist Website
Best Video from a Film

External links

Home | Up | American Music Award | Brit Award | Grammy Award | MTV Video Music Awards

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.