Monday's lost and found: Michael Nesmith is Cruisin'
While we long for the days of early MTV, there were other video show options available in the early ‘80s. Basic cable viewers had to wait until June 1983 for WTBS’ Night Tracks if your cable provider did not have MTV yet. Those without cable had to wait until July 1983 for NBC’s Friday Night Videos. I myself, cut my teeth on HBO’s Video Jukebox for a couple of years until MTV came to my side of town later in 1983.
The origins of Video Jukebox began in the late ‘70’s when HBO started playing individual videos between movies and promos. In December 1981, HBO premiered their half-hour show with first video honors fittingly going to Michael Nesmith’s Crusin’. Most know about Nesmith’s glory days with The Monkees and that his mother invented Liquid Paper. Some know that he had one of the very first regional video shows called Pop Clips that would later morph into MTV.
Cruisin’ was recorded in late 1979, but the video was not released until 1981. It is a classic video with the boardwalk tale of Lucy, Ramona and Sunset Sam in all his California tan glory.
In its early days, Video Jukebox would play many interesting songs that were not being played on my local Top 40 radio station. The next few weeks we’ll dig up some of those lost classic videos that educated many of us HBO subscribers. By 1984, Video Jukebox started drifting towards more of the hits and finally succumbed to MTV in 1986.
- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger