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Video Killed the Radio Star was the first to be shown on MTV, when the music channel debuted on 1 August 1981, at 12:10 A.M. On February 27, 2000 it also became the millionth video to be aired on MTV. At 2:57 in the video, Hans Zimmer can be seen playing a keyboard. Debi Doss and Linda Jardim, who provided the female vocals for the song, can also be seen in the video.
The lyrics refer to a period of technological change in the 1960s, the desire to remember the past and the disappointment that children of the current generation would not appreciate the past. In the 1950s and early 1960s, radio was an important medium for many, through which "stars" were created.