August 31 – Much Music (And Videos) On The Tube

Canada could watch their music too! A few long years after the U.S. capitalized on the video phenomenon with MTV, Canada got its own music video channel- Much Music. It began this day in 1984, with a Rush video – “The Enemy Within”.

Up until then, government regulations kept MTV out and meant Canucks could only see music videos on short weekly shows like the New Music. Not surprisingly, the station (then run by CHUM, Toronto’s most popular AM hit and FM rock radio stations at the time) was an instant success, winning millions of subscribers. While it helped the careers of already-established artists like Duran Duran, Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner, and helping ’80s acts like Howard Jones and The Fixx become popular in the Great White North, it also was mandated to play a certain percentage of Canadian content, which gave a boost to new Canadian acts like Men Without Hats, Honeymoon Suite and Blue Rodeo. Among their popular VJs were Erica Ehm, J.D. Roberts- who went on to be “John Roberts”, the American news anchor- and Chris Ward, who wrote “Black Velvet” for Allanah Myles – which was a pretty big video hit on the station, we might add.

Unfortunately, much like its U.S. counterpart, it grew tired of music videos and currently operates simply as “Much” – no music!- and has a schedule heavier on comedy than music, with many stand-up routines and reruns of Married with children and Seinfeld.

11 thoughts on “August 31 – Much Music (And Videos) On The Tube

  1. Chris Ward wrote a book on MuchMusic that was quite good. Actually if you find the podcast called No Sleep Til Sudbury the host Brent Jensen just interviewed Erica Ehm. She talks openly about her Much years.
    Tomorrow I’m posting a review of a book titled I Want My MTV and it was an amazing read! How’s that for hype Dave?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. that book by Ward would probably be quite good. I actually had a couple of his singles back in the 70s,when I think he was still a DJ at CHUM Toronto, but also a singer. Then the MuchMusic and the relationship with Myles… don’t know what he’s up to these days.
      Did you get to see “the New Music” up there? Pre-Much Music it was my essential fix for new music and music videos… I STILL remember obscure bands like the teardrop Explodes and Tenpole Tudor being on there, when you’d not hear of anything by them anywhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    I wonder what the regulations were? I have watched it on satellite before and it was somewhat like MTV/VH1…at least when I watched it. It may have been later on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Canada, for whatever reason, was reluctant back then to let in the American cable companies like MTV and HBO, I guess wanting to promote homegrown ones like Much Music or the Canadian editions of HBO and Bravo. I thought it rather sucked actually, although when Much Music was running in the 80s, it was good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t like the regulations… at very least I thought they could have done what they did on cable with US broadcasts. That was, if a show was being simulcast on US and Canadian networks (as often was the case – say CSI on CBS being shown at same time in Canada on CTV) if you tuned into the US network, they’d superimpose the Canadian ads . Kinda annoying but it helped Canadian business I guess. I would have thought that they could have allowed in HBO and such and just had a stipulation that American advertising be replaced with canadian, or that a minute an hour be given to Canadian public service messages or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Just looked at their schedule , it’s better than a few years back when it was all reality shows (Bachelor Island, Naked Bachelors, The Naked Apprentice Bachelor, etc, :p ) but still, only music you’ll get on it is if Elaine’s dancing on Seinfeld ….

      Liked by 1 person

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