There’s something magical about The Muppet Show. Sure Muppet mayhem returned last year with The Muppets, but there once was a time when Muppets mingled with celebrities and rock stars on a weekly basis.
The Muppet Show lasted five seasons, from 1976 to 1981, but has lived on in syndication off and on since. Thanks to YouTube, we can reminisce about performances past, including these by Debbie Harry. The Blondie frontwoman appeared on The Muppet Show in 1980, at the height of Blondie’s career. In addition to performing hits “Call Me” and “One Way or Another,” Harry sang the infamous “Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog. Pretty sweet, indeed.
For years, dance specials and musical variety shows were the world’s music television. In the 1960s and early ’70s they were almost unavoidable. If you were a popular musician, there was likely a chance you were on a variety show or even given your own, like the Jacksons, Sonny and Cher, and Porter Wagoner.
By the end of the 1970s there was a shift – variety shows were losing their cool. Perhaps that explains why The Muppet Show started to gain momentum in 1976; it was something familiar, a variety show, but had a twist, puppets with personality.
The same year The Muppet Show stopped production, MTV launched. The 24-hour music video channel went on to change the way people consumed music and pop culture. Three years later, Canada had its own music channel, MuchMusic.
Over the last decade, the wave of reality TV shows hit music television. Much like variety shows of old, most pop stars and celebrities are getting reality TV offers. Being let into a musician’s “real world” isn’t a replacement for music videos, per se, but it appears to be what audiences want. With hundreds of thousands of videos online, surely we don’t need or rely on music television in the way that we used to, so what does it mean anymore?
What does music television mean to you?
Were you raised on MuchMusic? MTV? Do you still watch it?
Do you think it is still relevant, but is for a certain age group?
Post your comments on the blog or tweet @CBCRadio3.
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on Jun 19, 2012