The MTV Video Music Awards have been celebrated for 40 years, acting as a time capsule for pop culture in the modern era. From Michael Jackson and Madonna to Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, music’s biggest stars have been celebrated for the year’s most visually captivating achievements since 1984. Gold Derby senior editor Denton Davidson and contributing editor Charles Bright recently sat down for a retrospective on the award show’s most memorable performances, biggest winners, egregious snubs and shocking moments. Watch as we dive into four decades of VMA history above and add your own favorite moments in the comments.
SEE Watch every MTV VMAs winner for Video of the Year
Did you know that The Cars won the very first Video of the Year prize for “You Might Think,” taking down MJ’s “Thriller” (!!), “Rockit” by Herbie Hancock, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and “Every Breath You Take” by The Police? In fact, despite the Lifetime Achievement Award being named after the King of Pop, he never won Video of the Year — or even Best Male Video for that matter.
Eminem has taken home the most Male Video of the Year honors with three (“The Real Slim Shady” in 2000, “Without Me” in 2002 and “Not Afraid” in 2010). On the women’s side it’s a three-way tie between Madonna (“Papa Don’t Preach” in 1987, “Take a Bow” in 1995 and “Ray of Light” in 1998), Beyoncé (“Crazy In Love” in 2003, “Naughty Girl” in 2004 and “Hold Up” in 2016) and Taylor Swift (“You Belong With Me” in 2009, “I Knew You Were Trouble” in 2013 and “Blank Space” in 2015).
Beyond the statistics we also talk through some of the greatest performances from stars like Prince, Britney Spears, Lauryn Hill, Beastie Boys and more. We hash out why Neil Young‘s “This Note’s For You” may be the most controversial Video of the Year winner of all time and discuss some of our other favorite moments in VMA history. The 2023 VMA Awards will be held Tuesday, September 12.
Be sure to make your MTV Video Music Award predictions so that music executives and top name stars can see how they’re faring in our odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. And join in the fierce debate over the VMAs taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.