1989 MTV Video Music Awards

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1989 MTV Video Music Awards
Date Wednesday, September 6, 1989
Location Universal Amphitheatre
Country United States
Hosted by Arsenio Hall
Website www.mtv.com/vma/1989/
Television/radio coverage
Network MTV

The 1989 MTV Video Music Awards aired live on September 6, 1989, honoring the best music videos from April 2, 1988, to June 1, 1989. The show was hosted by Arsenio Hall at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.[1]

This year's show featured the first major restructuring that was done to the Video Music Awards, as four new "genre" categories (Best Heavy Metal Video, Best Rap Video, Best Dance Video, and Best Post-Modern Video) were added alongside the International Viewer's Choice awards. Also, the award for Best Concept Video was retired this year, and the eligibility cutoff date was moved two months down from April to June, making this a 14-month eligibility year.

Notable Nominations[edit]

In terms of the awards themselves, meanwhile, Madonna and Paula Abdul were the night's biggest with four awards each, while rock group Living Colour was the second biggest winner, taking home three moonmen that night. On the other hand, Michael Jackson was the most nominated artist of 1989, receiving nine nominations for two of his videos: six for "Leave Me Alone" and three for "Smooth Criminal." Despite all the nominations, though, Jackson only took home one award for Best Special Effects.

The award for Video of the Year, meanwhile, went to Neil Young's controversial video for "This Note's for You", making this the first time since The Cars' win in 1984 that an act takes home the main award without winning any other one. Unlike The Cars, though, Young's video did not have any other nominations that night except for Viewer's Choice, which until 1994 had exactly the same nominees as Video of the Year. The Viewer's Choice award, however, went to another video that also stirred up controversy: Madonna's "Like a Prayer."

Memorable Moments[edit]

The ceremony is notable for comedian Andrew Dice Clay's stand-up routine that included adult versions of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, leading MTV executives to ban him from ever appearing on the network again.[2]

Def Leppard's performance of "Tear It Down" would be the last live appearance of guitarist Steve Clark before his death on Tuesday January 8, 1991.


Winners are in bold text.

Video of the Year[edit]

Neil Young – "This Note's for You"

Best Male Video[edit]

Elvis Costello – "Veronica"

Best Female Video[edit]

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up"

Best Group Video[edit]

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Best New Artist in a Video[edit]

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Best Heavy Metal Video[edit]

Guns N' Roses – "Sweet Child o' Mine"

Best Rap Video[edit]

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – "Parents Just Don't Understand"

Best Dance Video[edit]

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up"

Best Post-Modern Video[edit]

R.E.M. – "Orange Crush"

Best Video from a Film[edit]

U2 with B.B. King – "When Love Comes to Town" (from Rattle and Hum)

Breakthrough Video[edit]

Art of Noise (featuring Tom Jones) – "Kiss"

Best Stage Performance in a Video[edit]

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Best Direction in a Video[edit]

Madonna – "Express Yourself" (Director: David Fincher)

Best Choreography in a Video[edit]

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up" (Choreographer: Paula Abdul)

Best Special Effects in a Video[edit]

Michael Jackson – "Leave Me Alone" (Special Effects: Jim Blashfield)

Best Art Direction in a Video[edit]

Madonna – "Express Yourself" (Art Directors: Holgar Gross and Vance Lorenzini)

Best Editing in a Video[edit]

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up" (Editor: Jim Haygood)

Best Cinematography in a Video[edit]

Madonna – "Express Yourself" (Director of Photography: Mark Plummer)

Viewer's Choice[edit]

Madonna – "Like a Prayer"

International Viewer's Choice Awards[edit]

MTV Europe[edit]

Roxette – "The Look" [3]

MTV Internacional[edit]

Chayanne – "Este Ritmo Se Baila Así"

MTV Japan[edit]

Kome Kome Club – "Kome Kome War"

Video Vanguard Award[edit]

George Michael




  1. ^ [1] Past VMAs – 1989. Retrieved October 12, 2007
  2. ^ [2] The 2010 VMA Countdown: Andrew Dice Clay Earns Himself A Lifetime Ban. Retrieved August 6, 2011
  3. ^ "YouTube – komekome『MTV Video Music Awards』". Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-03-22.