Since the 30th anniversary of MTV is upon us, the question of “What was the first video played on MTV” now loses its cachet (sp?) as a bar trivia question, with the answer being, of course, The Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star.
And, of course, the song is now taken as gospel, that video really did kill the radio star… but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything about which radio stars were killed by video. Hence the discussion.
I’m sure there are a few, but IMHO, the #1 example of this, with a bullet, is poor old San Antonio native Christopher Cross.
This guy was huge. I mean, he was a freakin’ monster. His debut album was (at the time) the biggest selling album of 1979*, had 4 top-20 hits (with Sailing going to #1 and Ride Like the Wind going to #2), and because of it, Christopher Cross is the only solo artist to have won the top-4 Grammy awards in the same year: Song, Record, Album, and New Artist (and for good measure, he also won Best Arrangement, for Sailing).
And because the guy just couldn’t get enough, he goes out in 1981 and grabs himself not just an Oscar but also a Golden Globe for his song The Best That You Can Do, from the movie Arthur (co-written with Burt Bacharach, but Cross sang as well as co-wrote). This song, too, went to #1.
So in two years, the guy goes from being a nobody to having 2 #1’s, 3 more top-20’s, 5 Grammy’s, 1 Oscar, 1 Golden Globe, and the best-selling album of 1979.
In 1983, he releases his second album, Another Page, which is nowhere as well received as the first. There’s only one top-10 song on here, Think of Laura, which made it to #9 largely on the basis of its General Hospital connection.
That was it. 99% of people never heard from the man again. Why?
And while Mr. Cross isn’t an ugly man, he is rather goofy looking in that Jason Alexander kind of way. And “goofy everyman” wasn’t a look the new MTV was after.
I’m sure he fuckin’ hates MTV. I would if I were him. I also would’ve cut down on the Twinkies and not worn so much pink, but that’s just me… and it wasn’t like androgyny wasn’t a thing in the '80s, just not overweight adrogyny. That had to wait for the internet.
Who else lost their way in the transition?
(I have another in mind, but want to see if others mention this act…)
*The Wall by Pink Floyd has since outsold it.