The chances are that if you’re over 40, you know exactly where you were when MTV launched on August 1, 1981. Most of us were still living at home while our lives were hung in the balance somewhere between learning how to ride a bike and planning for our first year of college.

We had no idea what was coming when MTV went on the air, or what we had been missing. But when it happened, it was all we could talk about for months. MTV was bigger news than mom’s shiny new microwave or dad’s ridiculously huge speakers that occupied a corner of the living room.

Music Television launched from New York City at exactly 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time. In those first few moments, the station aired footage of Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle Columbia. But it was John Lack, co-founder of MTV, that grabbed our attention: “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said in a voice over. “Rock and roll.”

His words and his vision changed everything. Before MTV, music wonks had to wait for disc jockey Casey Kasem’s weekly American Top 40 radio show to discover new music. And if you lived in rural America — those quaint little towns that played polka music between news updates — you had to wait another week to hear music from the “real world” again.

The first video MTV played was the British band Buggles. America went crazy. MTV’s 24-hour music format brought music to the masses and finally enabled us to see the bands we loved; how different they looked from what we imagined through the radio.

We’ve done a bit of hunting today and dug up MTV’s original introduction plus the first 30 videos it aired that day. Enjoy.

# 1 – Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”

# 2 – Pat Benatar – “You Better Run”

#3 – Rod Stewart – “She Won’t Dance With Me”

#4 – The Who – “You Better You Bet”

#5 – PH.D – “Little Susie’s On the Top”

#6 – Cliff Richards – “We Don’t Talk Anymore”

#7 – Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”

#8 – Todd Rundgren – “Time Heals”

#9 – REO Speedwagon – “Take It On The Run”

#10 – Styx – “Rockin’ the Paradise”

#11 – Robin Lane and the Chartbusters – “When Things Go Wrong”

#12 – Split Enz – “History Never Repeats”

#13 – .38 Special – “Hold On Loosely”

#14 – April Wine – “Just Between You And Me”

#15 – Rod Stewart – “Sailing”

#16 – Iron Maiden – “Iron Maiden”

#17 – REO Speedwagon – “Keep On Loving You”

#18 – Michael Johnson – “Bluer Than Blue”

#19 – The Pretenders – “Message Of Love”

#20 – Lee Ritenour – “Mr. Briefcase”

#21 – The Cars – “Double Life”

#22 – Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight”

#23 – Robert Palmer – “Looking For Clues”

#24 – Shoes – “Too Late”

#25 – Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

#26 – Rod Stewart – “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

#27 – Rupert Hine – “Surface Tension”

#28 – Split Enz – “One Step Ahead”

#29 – Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”

#30 – Pat Benatar – “I’m Gonna Follow You”