CMT Aired Its First Music Video 38 Years Ago Today

Faron Young’s “It’s Four in the Morning” aired at 6:19 pm CT

It was 38 years ago today (March 5, 1983) that CMT aired its first country music video.

Two years earlier, MTV had launched on Aug. 1, 1981 with the Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star,” ushering in a new way of promoting pop music and launching an era of dynamic, photogenic music stars such as Madonna and Michael Jackson. The 1980s would revolutionize what it meant to promote music, allowing artists to give more depth and nuance to their music through video and, often, the ability to create visual spectacles—such as Michael Jackson’s landmark, nearly 14-minute video for “Thriller.” That video first aired in December 1983 and became both a pop music sensation and a benchmark for all music videos that followed.

On March 5, 1983, country music fans got their foray into the fledgling music video landscape, when CMT (then called CMTV) aired its first music video—Faron Young’s “It’s Four in the Morning”— at 6:19 pm CT. Like many of country music’s earliest promotional videos, the clip is simply Young performing the song.

Before launching into the song, he turns to a member of his band and says, “Are you ready, lovely?” Though he’s addressing a bandmate, in retrospect, it feels like he was also addressing a generation of country music listeners who were ready to experience their favorite music in a whole new way—through sight and sound.

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