Throwback Thursday: The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”

Throwback Thursday: The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”

In September of 1979, British duo The Buggles released their debut single, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The song was written by the two members of the group, Trevor Horn and Geoffrey Downes, and Bruce Woolley, who was actually a member of the group at the time but would end up forming another group, Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, before The Buggles released any music. The composition of “Video” Killed the Radio Star” was based on a chorus riff Woolley came up with, and he would go on to record another version of the song with his new group.

“Video Killed the Radio Star” is a quirky yet poignant observation of technology and its impact on popular music. It’s not clear how literally the title was supposed to be, but it definitely foretold what the industry would eventually look like. Music videos were quickly becoming standard practice, and by 1981, there would be a TV station called MTV that played nothing but music videos. Fittingly, the very first video played on the network was the one for “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Despite its iconic status today, “Video Killed the Radio Star” barely cracked the top 40 in the US. Elsewhere, it was a major hit, topping the chart in the UK, Spain, and over a dozen other countries.

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