Was it just four short years ago that the first MTV Awards drew every big name in the music biz, still so giddy with the innovation and marketing potential of music television that they wore tuxedos to the inaugural do at Radio City Music Hall? Time has flown. For this year’s show in L.A., the names dressed, with few exceptions, way down. They were comfortable at least for an evening as tedious as, well, as an hour of the music channel.
Oh, celebs like Eric Roberts, Teri Garr, Melanie Griffith were there. But then the show began. Host Arsenio Hall tried in vain to jump-start the audience with a nasty swipe at Lionel Richie and the knock-a-bout with wife Brenda. Later a muddled performance of “Bad” by Michael Jackson was piped in via satellite. INXS, one of the few groups to show up for their (five) awards, temporarily revived the crowd with a rendition of “New Sensation.” Guns n’ Roses, the rowdy newcomers who copped the Best New Artist Award, extended a spirited “Welcome to the Jungle,” and Aerosmith proved they’ve still got punch. That was it for the evening’s inspired moments. More fun than the show was ogling the famous types who blew in. With that in mind, check out the following pages.