Thirtysomething: MTV enters its third decade

Thirty years ago today, music as we know it changed forever. Rather than the television overlords taking their cues from the kids, who in turn took their cues from the radio, MTV programmers skipped the middle man entirely and appointed itself as the arbiters of cool, the pied pipers of pop culture, and began spoon-feeding the starving masses. All week, beginning with this rundown of

MTV's top five greatest on-air moments

, we'll be reflecting on the station's highlights over the past three decades. In the meantime, here's how it all began at 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981. Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.

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