For everyone who had cable as a kid, MTV's 120 Minutes was a lucid, televised dream that brought alternative, strange, and sometimes messed-up music into the lamp-lit confines of your living room, usually after your mum had gone to bed.
For two hours each evening, the network would broadcast music videos, interviews and live performances from a wide array of artists – from Blur to Bad Religion to Butthole Surfers – while a generation of younglings sat back on the sofa, either ruining their minds with the passive stench of weed smoke, or just silently gorging Doritos; their eyes prized open by the sight of the most forward-thinking creatives of their time – the kind that wouldn't appear in your average music magazine or radio show. In essence, 120 Minutes was a YouTube k-hole before YouTube even know it existed. It was proto-internet. And it looked a bit like this:
The show is dead now, having been taken off air in 2013, presumably because: the Internet. However, given that 120 Minutes now has an iconic place in the hallowed halls of music history, though, one guy (named TylerC) has taken it upon himself to document every episode, by organizing the tracks from each show into neat little YouTube playlists. So if you want to find out exactly what band were playing on MTV the week you were born, or just wanna hear two hours of everything guest presenter Lou Reed thought constituted good music in 1998, then you can. It's all available on this site, which has documented 956 episodes.
As a little side note, our Head of Music was a channel manager at MTV 2 when the show was on, and you can look through his proudest moments from the show's history here, too.
Or, if you wanna cut to the chase, watch a full episode of the show from 1988 below.