Top 12 MTV VJs

Last week, MTV hired its first TJ. What's a TJ? A "Twitter Jockey." She will be reporting pop culture news to her followers. We're assuming that just like MTV, she'll be totally ignoring music videos until it's time for the VMAs.

While we wish the new TJ well, we would rather celebrate the MTV we know and love and the VJs from that era. Here are our Top 12 MTV VJs:

12. Mark Goodman
11. Carson Daly
10. Riki Rachtman
9. Adam Curry
8. John Sencio
7. "Downtown" Julie Brown
6. Kennedy

5. Nina Blackwood
When MTV hit the scene, I was about 12 years old. You know what's going on when you're a 12-year-old girl, lots of horrible things like trying to figure out what boys like and other things like trying to figure out what boys like and really that was about it. So when I overheard my brother talking about how hot Nina Blackwood was with her blond scrunchy hair and smokey eye makeup, I did what any self respecting 12-year-old girl who hadn't a clue would do: I scrunched my hair and melted my eyeliner with a lighter and did my best to emulate Nina. Unfortunately, the only way I was ever going to mimic her raspy voice was by joining the cheerleading squad or by picking up a pack of filterless Lucky Strikes a day habit. I chose cheerleading. But it didn't work.

Her voice is completely unmistakable even to this day, as is her look: a blend of punk rock/hair band rolled into one sultry package. As much as I think all the original MTV VJs were pioneers, Nina is the one that I remember the most. I had this image in my mind and I could totally hear her voice but I wanted to see if my memories hadn't gone the way of my youth, so I hunkered down this morning and did what any self-respecting 41-year-old woman would do: I googled her which lead me to her Wikipedia page. Lo and behold, she hosts a Sunday morning radio show: Nina Blackwood's New Wave Nation on KBZT, described as "the best Brit pop, Ska, New York punk, or California underground - New Wave Nation has it all. Shows include rare interviews, weekly features, and music that makes you say 'Oh Wow'."

And you can listen to it live. And I did. I was pleasantly surprised by the music she played and she sounds exactly like I remember: sultry, sexy and totally rock 'n' roll.

P.S. She also was in the August 1978 issue of Playboy! --A Vapid Blonde

4. Matt Pinfield
My music tastes were shaped by two things: high school and MTV. I think it was the spring of 1982 when we got cable and MTV and I remember seeing a really young U2 singing "Gloria" while floating on a barge in Grand Canal Basin in Dublin. I saw the future of music change right then. But what really grabbed me was I could see the DJs - or VJs if you will. There they were: knowledgeable (for the most part), excited to be there, and enjoying everything they were doing. As the station evolved, however, that knowledge and enthusiasm gave way to eye candy, models-turned-VJs-turned-models and gimmicks. MTV lost its way.

But in 1995, things at MTV seemed like they might have remembered who brung them to the dance, as it were. A new host appeared on the scene: Matt Pinfield. Bald, raspy-voiced, and with something of a Cabbage Patch Kid-after-a-Vegas-bender look to him, Pinfield hosted MTV's alternative show, 120 Minutes. And I watched because he hosted. He was a Dennis Miller of alternative music: obscure punk references, master of the b-side and deep album cut, with way out of left field commentary that was dead on. It was like he actually cared about the music; cared about the bands in the studio with him. Shared their passion. My passion. Our passion. He was a throwback to early DJs and VJs who just loved music and just wanted to share that love with the audience. Most of all? He just looked happy to be there. And I think he really was.

Since there may be some justice in the world, Pinfield is still working, unlike some of the bands he interviewed or introduced videos for back in the day. Ruby anyone? How about Schtum? If you are so inclined, you can hear him on 102.9 in NYC hosting morning drive. --Mr. Big Dubya

3. Karen Duffy
At first we were like, who's that? She was a new face and we were accustomed to the Quinns and Currys of the world. She was the standout of the next generation. She didn't even need her full name. She simply went by "Duff." And she immediately caught our attention. Her delivery was droll. If you weren't paying attention you'd almost think she didn't want to be there. But in her eyes was a mischievous exuberance that drove us wild. Duff was a glam punk chick who was tough and non-threatening at the same time. She was there to guide us through MTV's teenaged years, when they took their first steps towards non-music related programming. And we were thankful that Duff--Karen Duffy, as we would later come to learn--graced our screens every day. --Daddy Geek Boy

2. Dave Kendall
Just to give you an idea of the lasting impression Dave Kendall has made on my life, i'll have you know that my kids imitate his accent while pretending to introduce his show on Sirius/xm, Party 360. "This is DAVE KENDALL!" they all scream, and then we all collapse into hysteria.

His stint on MTV's 120 Minutes was brief but had huge impact for us anglophiles who got all dreamy eyed as soon as we heard him speak. 120 Minutes was the show I stayed up to watch just to catch new bands that may not have had videos on heavy rotation during the day, and it was worth the bleary eyes and foul demeanor the next morning. Turns out that Dave started his career as a journalist and wrote numerous reviews and articles for prestigious publications before being hired by MTV to create and eventually host the show he's best known for.

Unbeknownst to me he spent the better part of seven years as a writer and producer there while picking up VJ duties and perhaps planning full world domination, you never know with these multitasking types.

These Days you can find him kicking off the weekend madness on Sirius XM's First Wave on his show Party 360. --Dufmanno

1. Martha Quinn
In 1982, I was in seventh grade, and officially in the grip of hormonal hell: skinny and awkward, with goofy hair that always stuck out the wrong way. Full set of Terminator braces. I wasn't yet the Mayor of Acne Town (that was a couple years away), but still. The situation was dire.

Every afternoon when I got home from school, I had the house to myself until my parents returned from work. I was supposed to spend the time doing my homework. Instead, I watched MTV. And that's when I fell in love with Martha Quinn.

For me, she was the polar opposite of Nina Blackwood, the other girl in the original VJ lineup. Where Nina had the rocker chick hair, the raspy smoker's voice and the vibe of a Mötley Crüe groupie, Martha was the earnest, ever-smiling, Noxema-scented girl next door. Sure, at the Prom, Nina would probably let you get to second base behind the gym -- but it was Martha you wanted to slow dance with when the DJ finally played Spandau Ballet.

Martha was the sweetheart. She was the one who seemed genuinely excited about the music she was talking about. When you listened to her talk about the latest video by Men at Work, you could easily imagine that she had their poster up on the wall in her bedroom at home.

Once MTV infiltrated the other homes in my neighborhood, half the girls at my school cut their hair into that tomboyish sweep, and started wearing oversized T-shirts with legwarmers. They still refused to give me, Mayor of Acne Town, the time of day... but it was ok. The real Martha always did. --Didactic Pirate

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We showed you ours, now shows us yours! Who was your favorite MTV VJ? Have your say in the comments!

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