See also our "Five Most Embarrassing Moments in VMA History."
Since 1984, the MTV Video Music Awards have featured the best, worst and shocking moments in music history. Over the past decade or so, with one major exception, the awards have been super lame and at times embarrassing as we showed you yesterday, but since the formerly venerable show will be held here in L.A. once again, here are some of the best moments that the iconic show has had to offer.
Honorable Mention: Madonna
"Like A Virgin" 1984
Can't forget your roots and in this case, her Madgesty's highly provocative performance of her then-biggest single had everyone up in arms, which set the tone of the inaugural award show for years to come. Let the video do the talking here.
Now, onto the list.
5. Snoop Doggy Dogg
"Murder Was Tha Case," 1994
Instead of calling himself Snoop Doggy Dogg, on this night, Mr. Broadus should have renamed himself Balls Mahoney. Facing Murder 1 didn't deter the soon-to-be rap icon from putting on one of the most memorable spectacles that the VMAs had ever seen (to that point). Staged with a full funeral scene, Snoop emerged from a coffin and absolutely killed the VMAs in 1994. For better or worse, people have tried to copy this moment but have often failed. However, this landmark moment in hip-hop at the VMAs set the tone for the genre in the years to come.
4. Pee-Wee Herman
The comedian faces the music, 1991
Shortly after his first sex scandal, when he was arrested in a X-rated Florida movie theater for exposing himself (read: jerking off) a mere 10 days later, the comedian kicked off the VMAs by saying "Have you heard any funny jokes lately?" then absolutely killed it. It was the lewdest and crudist the comedian had ever been, at least in public, and the audience couldn't get enough of it. People only knew Pee-Wee as the weird, awkward man-child, but this cemented his place in pop culture as a true comic. Due to this stereotype-killing performance, Pee-Wee Herman not only made up for that odd night in a Tampa-area theatre, but garnered a new found respect from the MTV generation.
3. Britney Spears
"Baby One More Time," 1999
There are only two words to summarize this one: whoa, mama. I remember being a mere high schooler when I saw then the "innocent" Spears bring the heat. Every teenage-boy-turned-twenty-something remember this day. Right?
2. Pearl Jam and Neil Young
"Rockin In The Free World," 1993
What happens when you were merge rising grunge icons with the Godfather of Grunge? You get one of the greatest performances in VMA history. Legend has it that the Seattle rockers told the VMA producers that Young would show up, and he did, eventually. Fifteen minutes before the band was slated to take the stage, Young rolled in on his Harley and together, they played one of the most memorable collaborations in the award show's history.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
And the number one moment in VMA history ...
1. Kanye West Meets Taylor Swift, 2009
Yep, this may be too soon, but it is definitely the most talked about moment in VMA history. We all know the story. Kanye had a little too much "sippy sippy" on the red carpet and proceeded to interrupt cute lil Taylor Swift's speech, which had all of the Miss Manner types in the media up in arms. Poor Swift, she had no idea she was walking into a bee's nest and it probably scarred her for every acceptance ceremony forever. Yes, he's an asshole and yes he's a conceited jerk, however, I give the man credit. Though it may not have the appropriate forum, he spoke his mind and didn't give a shit about the ramifications.