Bands like Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi sold millions of records on the back of heavy rotation 24/7.
And then there was the outstanding Headbanger’s Ball with its heady mix of video clips, live footage and interviews.
In fact MTV did real rock a real service in its early days.
Then came the decision to all but drop guitar bands and heavy music in favour of R&B, dance, hip-hop and the like. Suddenly MTV’s output was weaker than a bottle of Spanish lager and even the creation of VH1 and VH1 Classic failed to fill an obvious void.
Of course channels like Scuzz slowly emerged to pick up the slack and there’s plenty of rock and metal out there without needing to make the switch to MTV.
But the biggest music channel of all still carries plenty of clout with industry tastemakers, record label and promoters.
And so this year’s deliberate rebranding of the one-time MTV2 channel, creating the does-what-it-says-on the-tin MTV Rocks, is a significant step forward for fans of guitar music.
The fact that MTV feels it necessary to get the word ‘Rocks’ into the rebrand is a triumph in itself. And even the content reflects an acceptance that our favourite music is back bigger and better than ever before.
Check out the current playlist on the station’s newest channel and you’ll find 30 Seconds To Mars, Paramore, Bullet For My Valentine, All Time Low and Muse.
And even the clips from Vampire Weekend, Mumford and Sons and Eminem make better viewing than the majority of MTV fare elsewhere.
Indeed, if it takes the odd poppier, more popular track to underpin real rock and metal then we’d rather have that than nothing at all.
The fact that MTV dropped our favourite genre as quickly as they built it up 20 years ago still rankles.
But if the biggest music channel in the world has finally accepted rock and metal can no longer be ignored, albeit after almost two decades of burying their heads in the sand, then we’ll take that.
Pay MTV Rocks a visit and tell your friends. The best chance we’ve got of making an even bigger mark on this entertainment behemoth is by supporting this pivotal rebrand.
Rather MTV Rocks than MTV hip-hops, pops, raves or whatever.