120 Reasons To Live: The Timelords

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.

#1: The Timelords “Doctorin’ The Tardis”

What better way to kick off the Wayback Machine than with a 1968 Ford Galaxie and a Doctor Who-themed novelty single? London acid-house duo Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty mashed up the theme music from sci-fi program Doctor Who and Gary Glitter’s “Rock And Roll (Part Two)” simply to prove the point that they could have a U.K. number-one single. It worked, topping the charts in 1988 and eliciting howls of derision from music critics unable to indulge a guilty pleasure. That same year, the Timelords issued a book titled The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way), a treatise on achieving a hit single without any money or musical talent; Drummond and Cauty went on to form the KLF and become one of the most commercially successful acts of the early ’90s. In 1992, the KLF deleted its entire catalog and, two years later, burned £1 million on an island off the coast of Scotland. But we digress. “Doctorin’ The Tardis”—the TARDIS is the name given to the time machine in Doctor Who—was testament to 120 Minutes‘ oddity-based programming criteria, no matter whether the music in question was a strictly underground affair or a blatant (but fun) gimmick.

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