"Video Killed the Radio Star" was, indeed, the first video played on MTV... However, the video that presently runs at the top of this web page is NOT that video! This one only shows the band members standing around singing it. The original MTV video began with a young girl listening to an old radio -- then she's transported to a laboratory with Trevor Horn (wearing a white lab coat) and a woman in glittering tights who come flying out of a plastic tube. All mesmerizing stuff telling a story--like so many great MTV videos--not just showing the band playing. Sadly, that classic original video is hard to come by now.
This was the first video to air on MTV. The network launched August 1, 1981, and this provided the first evidence that MTV was going to make it. The song was a big hit in England in 1979, but pretty much unknown in America. When MTV went on the air, it was on only a few cable systems, but record stores in those areas started selling lots of Buggles records. Since radio stations weren't playing this and almost no one in the US had heard of the Buggles, it was clear that MTV was selling records and was an early indication of the network's influence. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=681