In July of 1988, almost immediately after their world première of Neil Young’s “This Note’s for You” — a song and video in which various high profile musicians are mocked for endorsing brands such as Pepsi and Michelob — MTV placed a station-wide ban on the video due to “problems with trademark infringement.” In response, Young offered to re-shoot the video; however, MTV claimed the lyrics were just as problematic. Furious, he wrote the following open letter to the station’s executives.
The stand-off was big news, and MTV eventually reversed the ban. “This Note’s for You” went on to win Video of The Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.
(Source: Adweek, July 1988; Image via NME.)
6th July, 1988
MTV, you spineless twerps. You refuse to play “This Note’s For You” because you’re afraid to offend your sponsors. What does the “M” in MTV stand for: music or money? Long live rock and roll.