Timeline of the MTV VMAs

The 2012 MTV VMA logo

Each year, MTV holds the highly popular Video Music Awards, better known as the VMAs. The infamous ‘moon trophy’ is given out in a number of different categories including ‘Video of the Year’, ‘Video With a Message’ and ‘Best Editing’. This year’s event celebrated the diverse range of genres currently popular amongst young audiences with performances from Frank Ocean, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Green Day, Pink, Alicia Keys and One Direction.

Whilst the 2012 award show ran through fairly drama-free, in the past it has been known to play host to some fairly controversial moments. This year’s host, Kevin Hart, used his opening monologue as an opportunity to warn the audience he is likely to make mistakes and to prepare themselves for the unexpected. After talking about some of the well-publicised mistakes of the year, including Kristen Stewart’s affair and Chris Brown and Drake’s New York bar brawl, Hart said:

“People here have made mistakes before, Kanye West, Lil’ Mama coming on stage when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys were performing, Britney Spears and Madonna, when they kissed, Russell Brand hosting… twice. The point is guess what people tonight I will make tons of mistakes and I suggest you prep yourselves”

This timeline will run through some of the key dates and performances featured on the VMAs as well as some of the more controversial events to happen over the 28 years.

1984 – The first VMA ceremony is held at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.

1988 – Michael Jackson appears at the award show for the first time with a pre-recorded performance of Bad.

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin is assaulted by Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil.

1991 – A fistfight occurred backstage between Poison’s Bret Michaels and C.C. DeVille due to ongoing conflict about DeVille’s cocaine addiction. On-stage DeVille began playing the wrong song and his guitar lead disconnected during the performance. He was fired as a result.

1992 – MTV requested that Nirvana play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit‘, despite the fact the band wanted to play their new song ‘Rape Me’, eventually MTV and the band settled on ‘Lithium’ as their performance. However, Kurt Cobain sang the first few lines of ‘Rape Me’ before playing ‘Lithium’. Furthermore, during the performance, bassist Krist Novoselic threw his bass as it stopped functioning, hitting him on the forehead.

During the 1992 awards show Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain challenged each other to a fight. Cobain spat on a piano on stage, believing it to be the one Axl Rose would be playing, only to find Elton John to come out and perform with Guns N’ Roses.

1994 – Newly married Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley walk out on stage to a standing ovation.

1995 – Hole perform in their first major televised performance since the death of Kurt Cobain and bassist Kristen Pfaff. Courtney love dedicated the song to them both as well as other friends who had died, including River Phoenix.

1996 – Van Halen make their first public appearance together since their break up in 1985.

1997 – Foo Fighter’s Pat Smear announced he was leaving the band and presented his replacement Franz Stahl. He would re-join the band as a touring musician in 2006.

2001 – Britney Spears’ performance of ‘I’m a Slave For You’ receives criticism from animal rights group PETA for it’s inclusion of a live Burmese Python and a tiger.

2002 – Eminem challenges Moby to a fight on-stage as he is booed whilst accepting an award.

2003 – Madonna performs ‘Like a Virgin’ and ‘Hollywood’ with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Madonna dressed as a groom and kissed her two ‘brides’ on-stage.

2007 – Britney Spears sings ‘Gimme More’ for the first time following her well-publicised personal problems. The performance is given negative reviews due to her miming and disheveled appearance.

Kid Rock and Tommy Lee start a physical fight whilst Alicia Keys is performing on-stage.

2008 – Russell Brand hosts the award show for the first time and shocks American audiences with his controversial jokes.

2009 – Kanye West runs on-stage whilst Taylor Swift is accepting an award for ‘Best Female Video’ and proclaims that Beyoncé should have won. When Beyoncé wins an award later on, she invites Swift to give her speech again. Swift would perform a song about the situation, ‘Innocent’, the following year.

2011 – Lady Gaga appears at the show dressed as her alter-ego Jo Calderone. She performs ‘You and I’ with Brian May.

Beyoncé announces her pregnancy on the red carpet and makes reference to it during her performance of ‘Love on Top’

Album Review: Taylor Swift – Speak Now

The album cover for 'Speak Now'

Taylor Swift is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest singer-songwriters. At only twenty years old she wrote the album Speak Now entirely without any co-writers and within the first week of sales she sold one million copies in the US alone. Here is a summary of each track on the album:

1. Mine – This was chosen as the first single off of the album and bears some similarity to Swift’s previous single Love Story although this song follows a much more realistic narrative. Swift described the song as being about her tendency to run from love. The music video premiered on August 27th.

2. Sparks Fly – After singing this during her Fearless Tour, Swift decided to include the song on the new album. It tells the story of initial attraction between a couple that shouldn’t necessarily be together. Lyrically, it is a departure from Swift’s previous songs as it is more mature than the other songs on the album but definitely one of the stand out tracks.

3. Back To December – This is Swifts apology song to former boyfriend Taylor Lautner who she met on the set of their film Valentines Day and another personal favourite of mine. Again, the lyrics are very telling and heartfelt in which she admits she treated him badly.

4. Speak Now – The title track of the album tells the story of a girl bursting in on a wedding. Swift stated that it was about a friend who told her her long time crush was engaged and her response was “well are you going to speak now”. It serves as a more upbeat song after Back to December.

5. Dear John – Perhaps the most controversial song on the album, Swift sings about her short-lived romance with John Mayer. With lyrics such as “don’t you think I was too young to be messed with, the girl in the dress, cried the whole way home” their age difference is clear. Her honesty on the track is sure to worry Mayer.

6. Mean – Swift has never made it a secret that she used to be bullied. This is her anti-bullying song with lyrics that, perhaps, are the things she wish she could have said at the time. Despite the serious nature of the song, the upbeat melody makes it the perfect song to follow on from Dear John.

7. The Story Of Us – Another song rumoured to be about John Mayer, The Story of Us takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the fallout of a relationship and a couple being on the brink of splitting up. It is another stand out song on the album as, like Mean, the upbeat melody stands out against the ballads on the album.

8. Never Grow Up – This song is the advice Swift would give to a newborn baby and the story of how she has grown up and the things she would change if she had the chance. It is similar to her previous song The Best Day.

9. Enchanted – Personally, this is my favourite song on the album. It tells the story of how Swift met a boy and afterwards couldn’t get him out of her head and questioned whether he had a girlfriend and, in my opinion, is beautiful lyrically.

10. Better Than Revenge – This song deviates from Swift’s usual “good girl” approach to song writing and with lyrics such as “she’s an actress, she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress” it may shock younger fans. It’s rumoured to be about Camilla Belle, who based on the lyrics, should stay well clear of Swift.

11.Innocent – Based on the infamous Kanye West incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in which West stormed the stage while Swift accepted her award claiming she wasn’t deserving of the award, Swift uses this song as a message to say that the air is clear and everyone makes mistakes. She performed it at the 2010 MTV VMA awards.

12. Haunted – Another song telling of the end of a relationship, Haunted departs from previous songs by Swift and has a more orchestral-rock vibe. While it is a good song, in my opinion, it can get lost within the album and is not quite as good lyrically as the others.

13. Last Kiss – This song, about Swift’s break up with previous boyfriend Joe Jonas differs greatly from her song Forever and Always which was also based on their break-up. Last Kiss is very honest about the heartbreak she suffered through through their split and will be endearing to any listener of the album.

14. Long Live – A dedication to all those who have been involved in Swift’s career so far, this song is seen as Swift’s “thank you” song to her fans, tour crew and management team. It also serves as a time line of how her career has developed.