The song is famous as its video was the very first one played on MTV, a cable channel which now ironically no longer shows videos in any quantity (reality shows killed the video star...). The song seems to be set in the Fifties and Sixties, when television and other technologies were overcoming radio. Indeed, Trevor Horn of The Buggles has said the song was inspired by the J. G. Ballard story "The Sound-Sweep," in which a boy finds an opera star hiding away in a sewer. With technologies changing ever more swiftly, the song seems even more pertinent today than it was when it was released in 1979.
TCM Classic Film Festival 2016 Coverage
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