Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.
#59: Robyn Hitchcock “Madonna Of The Wasps”
The single most frustrating thing about 120 Reasons To Live is that Robyn Hitchcock can’t really, truly be counted among them. At least not in the standard format: Best we can figure, Warner Bros. has disallowed YouTube to feature music videos from some of its acts. Strangely, you can find R.E.M.’s clips on YouTube, but good luck finding Aztec Camera’s “Oblivious.” Or, for that matter, anything from the ’80s or ’90s by Robyn Hitchcock, arguably the program’s most central figure. During the show’s prime, Hitchcock guest hosted, he performed live, he was omnipresent and impressively smart and quick-witted. What Alec Baldwin was to Saturday Night Live, Hitchcock was to 120 Minutes. There is small consolation in all this in that his music videos were never great; here’s Hitchcock performing “Madonna Of The Wasps” on Letterman instead. Robyn Hitchcock isn’t the best songwriter of his generation—he’s simply the most interesting.