VH1 turned 30 on January 1. The channel's original purpose was to play music videos, and throughout its history, it created several programs that brought music videos to its audience in new and exciting formats.
One popular show in the '90s was Pop Up Video, a show that annotated music videos on television.
Pop Up Video, one could argue, was the original live-tweeting, and maybe even the original explainer journalism. With a popping sound, a little thought bubble appeared on the screen — only big enough to hold maybe 120 characters — and gave viewers background on the videos they were watching. Pop Up Video ran on VH1 from 1996 to 2002, then returned for a single year in 2011.
During a 30 minute episode four or five videos would be shown. Here are 9 of the best videos, as a way to celebrate VH1's 30th birthday:
Michael Jackson's "Black Or White"
Michael Jackson's 1991 video for "Black or White" features dancers from all over the world, along with Macaulay Culkin and Cheers's George Wendt. When it first aired, it was simulcast on VH1, MTV, BET, and Fox.
The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army"
Jack White and Meg White formed the dynamic rock-group The White Stripes in the early 2000's. They were married, but later tried to pass as brother and sister. (Don't worry, the pop-ups explain it.) This video stems from the show's 2011 relaunch and, thus, has the whole story about their relationship.
Goo Goo Doll's "Name"
The Goo Goo Dolls buried "Name" in the middle of an album because it was "softer" than their other work. Nevertheless, it went on to become a huge hit. This video was also disliked. Another version was later made with more shots of the lead singer.
The pop-up video for Madonna's hit single "Vogue" tells a famous Madonna as mother tale. Madonna loved her back-up dancers, on stage and in this video, and they, in return, treated her as their mother. But haven't we all treated Madonna as our mother at one time or another?
Lisa Loeb's "Stay"
Lisa Loeb's breakthrough song not only has pop-ups that tell you that the crew for this shoot was 40 people, but also draw myriad connections between Loeb and Ethan Hawke, who directed the video.
R.E.M's "Losing My Religion"
This video was banned in Ireland for homoerotic imagery. (We know this because the pop-up told us.) This video also shows that pop ups can inform us about anything, even when the video just features some dudes standing around.
Jewel's "Who Will Save Your Soul"
A pop up in this video tells us that Jewel "thinks of bathrooms as sanctuaries where the soul is truly alone with itself." You're welcome.
a-ha's "Take On Me"
Hidden inside the pop-ups for a-ha's "Take On Me" is a great love-story about the lead singer falling in love with the music video dancer!
Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends"
This is another video from the 2011 relaunch. As if Billy Joe Armstrong's eyeliner wasn't enough reason to rewatch this video, the pop-ups give great facts about Armstrong's love life and the month of September. Thank you, VH1.