David Bowie rocks the first-ever VMAs in 1984 with ‘Blue Jean’
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a moment when David Bowie once again proved he was a master of the pop performance with his rollicking rendition of ‘Blue Jean’ at the first-ever VMA show in 1984.
The VMAs, MTV’s near-annual event to celebrate the best of music promo videos, is still set to take place in New York this year despite the ongoing fears around the current health crisis. While it remains to be seen whether the event will be with or without an audience, we thought we’d look back at the very first event and Bowie’s stunning performance.
Since the show began, some 36 years ago, it has been held in multiple locations across the US—it’s become a little passe of late but in 1984 it was brand new and everybody wanted to be there.
The show that year was hosted by Bette Midler and Dan Aykroyd, two stellar Hollywood names and saw some truly strange awards handed out. Take, for example, perhaps the most unusual moment when The Cars beat out Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ for video of the year with ‘You Might Think’. It’s an almost unthinkable scenario.
Luckily, Jackson’s epic was named ‘Viewer’s Choice’ with a spot for Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ video winning ‘Best Female Video’. The male counterpart to that award was picked up by the Starman himself, David Bowie, for his video for ‘China Girl’. The real moment of pleasure for Bowie would come with his performance, however.
As well as Madonna causing headlines with her writhing performance of ‘Like A Prayer’, there were also shows by Huey Lewis and The News, Tina Turner, ZZ Top and Rod Stewart. When Bowie picked up the Video Vanguard Award the singer was finally given the room to do what he does best; perform.
The clip was pre-recorded and was shot by Julien Temple, a highly-regarded man of rock, and features Bowie in a corner of London’s Soho providing a rocking version of ‘Blue Jean‘. It proved that not only was he still king of this new format of music videos but that he’d been the king of them before MTV had even discovered the things.
Watch David Bowie perform ‘Blue Jean’ for the VMAs in 1984.