1989 MTV Video Music Awards

The 1989 MTV Video Music Awards aired live on September 6, 1989, honoring the best music videos from April 2, 1988, to June 1, 1989. The show was hosted by Arsenio Hall at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.[1]

1989 MTV Video Music Awards
DateWednesday, September 6, 1989
LocationUniversal Amphitheatre
CountryUnited States
Hosted byArsenio Hall
Television/radio coverage

This year four new "genre" categories (Best Heavy Metal Video, Best Rap Video, Best Dance Video, and Best Post-Modern Video) were added, alongside the International Viewer's Choice awards. Also, the award for Best Concept Video was retired this year, and the eligibility cutoff date was moved two months down from April to June, making this a 14-month eligibility year.

In terms of the awards, Madonna and Paula Abdul were the night's biggest winners with four awards each, while rock group Living Colour was the second biggest winner, taking home three moonmen that night. On the other hand, Michael Jackson was the most nominated artist of 1989, receiving nine nominations for two of his videos: six for "Leave Me Alone" and three for "Smooth Criminal", but only took home one award for Best Special Effects.

The award for Video of the Year, went to Neil Young's controversial video for "This Note's for You", making this the first time since The Cars' win in 1984 that an act takes home the main award without winning any other one. Unlike The Cars, though, Young's video did not have any other nominations that night except for Viewer's Choice, which until 1994 had exactly the same nominees as Video of the Year. The Viewer's Choice award, however, went to another video that also stirred up controversy: Madonna's "Like a Prayer."

The ceremony is notable for comedian Andrew Dice Clay's stand-up routine that included adult versions of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, leading MTV executives to ban him from ever appearing on the network again,[2] and Def Leppard's performance of "Tear It Down" would be the last live appearance of guitarist Steve Clark before his death on Tuesday January 8, 1991.


Winners are in bold text.

Video of the YearEdit

Neil Young – "This Note's for You"

Best Male VideoEdit

Elvis Costello – "Veronica"

Best Female VideoEdit

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up"

Best Group VideoEdit

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Best New Artist in a VideoEdit

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Best Heavy Metal VideoEdit

Guns N' Roses – "Sweet Child o' Mine"

Best Rap VideoEdit

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – "Parents Just Don't Understand"

Best Dance VideoEdit

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up"

Best Post-Modern VideoEdit

R.E.M. – "Orange Crush"

Best Video from a FilmEdit

U2 with B.B. King – "When Love Comes to Town" (from Rattle and Hum)

Breakthrough VideoEdit

Art of Noise (featuring Tom Jones) – "Kiss"

Best Stage Performance in a VideoEdit

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Best Direction in a VideoEdit

Madonna – "Express Yourself" (Director: David Fincher)

Best Choreography in a VideoEdit

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up" (Choreographer: Paula Abdul)

Best Special Effects in a VideoEdit

Michael Jackson – "Leave Me Alone" (Special Effects: Jim Blashfield)

Best Art Direction in a VideoEdit

Madonna – "Express Yourself" (Art Directors: Holgar Gross and Vance Lorenzini)

Best Editing in a VideoEdit

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up" (Editor: Jim Haygood)

Best Cinematography in a VideoEdit

Madonna – "Express Yourself" (Director of Photography: Mark Plummer)

Viewer's ChoiceEdit

Madonna – "Like a Prayer"

International Viewer's Choice AwardsEdit

MTV EuropeEdit

Roxette – "The Look" [3]

MTV InternacionalEdit

Chayanne – "Este Ritmo Se Baila Así"

MTV JapanEdit

Kome Kome Club – "Kome Kome War"

Video Vanguard AwardEdit

George Michael




  1. ^ [1] Past VMAs – 1989. Retrieved October 12, 2007
  2. ^ [2] The 2010 VMA Countdown: Andrew Dice Clay Earns Himself A Lifetime Ban. Retrieved August 6, 2011
  3. ^ "YouTube – komekome『MTV Video Music Awards』". Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-03-22.