The MTV Video Music Awards will take place August 25 in New York City. It will also mark the ceremony’s 30th anniversary. While details about who’s going to show up are still slim, the nominees were recently revealed by the network. While the ceremony has cooled down over the past couple of years, it used to be known as the event where anything could happen. There are countless moments from the VMA’s that people still talk about today. Here are just some of the most amazing and shocking moments in VMA history.
Like a virgin? -1984
This is the moment that people still talk about to this day. A young, fresh faced Madonna tumbling about the floor in a white wedding dress, moaning to her hit “Like a Virgin.” Everything about this performance is iconic from the “Boy Toy” belt to the song itself. This moment tops all other VMA moments because it makes the diva as bold, ambitious, and always looking for new ways to shock the media. Thanks to this moment it’s hard to hear the song without thinking of Madonna rolling around on the floor.
MTV gets punk’d by Nirvana-1992
In 1992 Nirvana could do no wrong, but it was not an easy night for the band. Backstage Cobain almost got into a scuffle with Axl Rose when he told Cobain to “shut your b**** up” referring to Courtney Love. Kurt turned to Love, said exactly that to her, and laughed it off. Rose was already angry with Cobain for refusing to open for Guns N Roses on their 92′ tour. Drama continued when Nirvana hit the stage as they played the first few lines from “Rape Me,” the song they originally wanted to play, but were told not to by MTV. Before the producers could cut to commercial they switched over to “Lithium” where Krist Novoselic tosses his bass in the air only to have it land on his face.To put the icing on top of the cake, Dave Grohl repeats “Hi Axl!” while the band walks off stage.
The Kiss- 1994
1994 was a strange year for Michael Jackson with one of the most bizarre moments being his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley (obviously not pictured). Many in the press said it was a publicity stunt to distract the media from the allegations he received at that time. As a way to prove the media wrong, the King of Pop decided announcing his love publicly was the best idea. He infamously said “And they thought this wouldn’t last” before he awkwardly planted one on her.
Michael Jackson proves he’s still the King of Pop-1995
As already stated the previous year wasn’t so kind to the King of Pop, so the world was shocked when he walked out on stage for a record 15 minute performance that included a medley of his hits including “Beat It,” “Don’t Stop til You Get Enough,” “Black or White,” featuring Slash, and “Billie Jean.” But the highlight of the evening was when he donned his infamous fedora and performed “Dangerous,” which managed to poke fun of the rumor that he and sister Janet were the same person by him lip synching some of her lyrics. It’s still one of the most memorable and best performances in VMA history.
All about Courtney-1995
One of the craziest moments from the 1995 VMA’s didn’t happen during the event, but afterwords. Kurt Loder was chatting with Madonna about her VMA award when Courtney Love starts throwing her compacts at the two. While Loder encourages her to come up, Madonna clearly does not want to talk to Love as she vocalizes “Courtney Love is in desperate need of attention.” Loder invited her up much to Madonna’s dismay and they began to awkwardly talk about their shoes until and whatever else runs through Courtney’s mind. Even Kurt Loder was at a loss for words. It’s almost painful to watch, yet it’s one of those moments you have to see over and over again.
Marilyn Manson exposed- 1998
Marilyn Manson have provided some of the most outrageous and some would say disturbing moments in music and it wasn’t any different at the 1998 VMA’s. During his rendition of his hit “Dope Show” he took off his elaborate jacket to reveal his latest look with included prosthetic breasts, much like the ones pictured above. Viewers at home were stunned as they wondered whether or not he or she was really an alien. To add to the shock factor the suit also had openings that exposed Manson’s then ambiguous genitalia and his butt. Manson has donned many looks since then, but this is his most memorable. Fun fact: Johnny Depp is rumored to own the prosthetic boobs.
Diva vs Diva-1998
Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston were always rumored to not like each other. They decided to poke fun at the gossip in 1998 by showing up to the VMA’s in the same dress. They commented how much the dresses were “One of a kind” before they both stripped off the bottom portions to show up each other, only to end up in matching outfits again. They ended the charade in an embrace to show the world there was no bad blood between them.
Lil’ Kim bares it all-1999
1999 will always be one of the best VMA ceremony in MTV history and a part of the is due to Lil’ Kim’s revealing outfit. That night she rocked a purple jumpsuit that covered all but one of her breasts, which only donned a shell pasty. The outfit on it’s own was shocking enough, but when she presented the Best Hip Hop Video award with Diana Ross, the diva shook things up literally by jiggling Kim’s boob. It was one of those moments where you say to yourself “Did I really just see that?” And it’s still one of the most talked about outfits years later.
The many faces of Madonna- 1999
Proving that Madonna can take over any occasion, the VMA’s paid tribute to the diva even though she was there to present Paul McCartney. She’s received a lot of tributes in the past, but this one is notable due to a number of different drag queens strutting their stuff in iconic Madonna costumes, such as her iconic cone bra. When she finally took to the stage, she looked them all up and down and said “It takes a real man to fill my shoes.”
Raging against Limp Bizkit- 2000
In 2000, Limp Bizkit won the award for Best Rock Video, which didn’t please Tim Commerford, bassist of Rage Against the Machine. While the band were accepting their award, Commerford climbed on scaffolding of the stage, with Fred Durst urging him to “stage dive, dude.” It’s still not clear why he pulled the stunt and it didn’t achieve much, except for a night in jail, but it proved that the VMA’s was one award show where anything could happen.
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? -2000
For the 2000 VMA ceremony, Eminem gave one of the most notable performance not only of the night, but in VMA history. The rapper began “The Real Slim Shady” surrounded by his own clones. They all then march inside the venue and led Slim Shady to the stage where he stops the song and performs “The Way I Am,” which he dedicated to his critics. The rapper has been known for great, passionate performances, but this will always be among his best.
Nsync’s sixth member?- 2001
As if doing a comical, colorful performance of “Pop” wasn’t enough to get fans excited, Nsync had the best kept secret of the 2001 VMA’s: The King of Pop. That’s right, Michael Jackson graced the stage and suddenly everyone forgot about those other five guys. All eyes were on Jackson as he pulled as his amazing dance moves, while Nsync looked on in awe. It’s hands down one of the boy band’s best performances and it’s a shame Jackson can’t surprise audiences with his spontaneous appearances anymore.
Eminem vs Triumph vs Moby- 2002
Even though the rapper was up for several awards and even went on to win quite a few of them, he was still having a rough night. First, Triumph the insult comic dog tried to conduct an interview with him about his treatment of Moby and after getting clearly annoyed, he threw some papers at the puppet and walked away. Things got even worse when he went up to accept his award. Not only was it presented to him by Christina Aguilera , who he was feuding with at the time, but he also got booed by Moby in the audience. Em’s response? “Keep on booing, little girl. I will hit a man with glasses.” After that, the audience began joining in, until the began cheering again. Eminem later poked fun at the drama in his video for “A** like that.”
Justin goes solo- 2002
Justin Timberlake shook things up when he announced he was recording a solo album. It received great reviews and all eyes were on Justin at the 2002 VMA’s which marked his first solo performance without his Nsync brothers. The performance of “Like I Love You” went off without a hitch and it was pretty clear that he was comfortable onstage without his brethren. Now, we can’t imagine any awards ceremony without his presence.
Britney + Madonna= Stunned Timberlake
Proving that she is the queen of shock, Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera , recreated Madonna’s iconic 1984 VMA performance of “Like a Virgin.” But the thing that had everyone buzzing the next day was the kiss Madonna shared with Britney. She killed Aguilera too, but for some reason the one with Spears was notable, as Christina would bulk about later on. The best part of this scene is when the camera pans to Justin Timberlake, who has Britney’s ex at this point, to show the stunned, confused look on his face.
Green Day take over- 2005
This was an amazing year for the trio, as their rock opera album “American Idiot” got them several moonmen that night. They’ve always been MTV favorites and even though they gave one of the best performances at last year’s ceremony, it’s their pyro filled performance of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” that stands out in everyone’s mind. It rocked the stadium so hard, the crowd was pressed to give them a standing ovation. It’s still great proof that they are one of the best live acts out there.
Britney Bombs- 2007
Britney Spears has had several of the most talked about VMA moments, from her tango with a snake to her stripping down to a nude body suit, and she turned heads again in 2007 but for an entirely different reason. After a disastrous year of head shaving and divorces, Spears opened the show with her new single “Gimme More,” but she was clearly distraught, couldn’t keep up with the record, looked awkward in her too revealing outfit, and didn’t even know the choreography. All the back up dancers spinning gracefully around weren’t enough to distract everyone from this trainwreck performance.
Russell Brand angers everyone- 2008
In 2008 MTV made the bold decision to get British comedian Russell Brand, who was then unknown to American audiences. While most of the viewers wondered who he was, the others took offense when he told viewers to vote for Obama, made fun of the Joanas Brothers’ purity rings, and referred to former president Bush as a “retarded cowboy.” But MTV must’ve liked what they saw because they brought Brand back on to host the 2009 VMA’s. He then went on to poke fun of the event on his stand up tour.
Janet honors her big brother- 2009
In 2009 we lost one of the biggest and most talented names in music, Michael Jackson. As a way to pay tribute and to have one last duet with him, Janet Jackson put together an amazing and heartbreaking tribute to her brother. She performed “Scream” alongside a projection of Michael and while it was exciting, it was still a reminder of the talent we had lost just months prior to the ceremony.
Kanye West steals the spotlight-2009
West is no stranger to sharing his opinions regarding other musicians, but people decided they had enough of his delusions in 2009. A then lovable Taylor Swift was accepting her first ever VMA when West took to the stage, took the mic from her, and said “I’m really happy for you Taylor and I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.” Everyone from Pink, who was ready to fight West, to Beyonce herself, her allowed Swift to re-do her speech was appalled at his behavior. He later on apologized in his own way.