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The Boston Globe

Television

They gave us our MTV

In 1981, they were our first tour guides into the flashy new world of music video. In some cases they were our first crushes. They were an amalgam of archetypes that grew to be our buddies: the all-American class clown, the girl next door, the vampy rocker chick, the hunky brooder, and the smooth-talking, old-school hipster. And they got a generation of kids chanting, “I want my MTV.”

In “VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave,” out now, the music channel’s original “video jockeys” Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn, with help from writer Gavin Edwards, provide an oral history of what it was like in the early years of video killing the radio star. Years in the works, the book chronicles everything from doing cocaine with David Lee Roth, to Live Aid, to bickering and bonding with one another. It’s a fascinating, often funny read. (Sadly, their fifth cohort, and former WBCN disc jockey, J.J. Jackson, passed away in 2004, but his big spirit is peppered throughout the book with excerpts from other sources and within his fellow VJs’ remembrances. “VJ” is dedicated to him.)

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