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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, California.

This year's show featured the first major restructuring that was done to the Video Music Awards, as 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 that year and the eligibility cutoff date was moved two months down from April to June, making this a 14-month eligibility year.

Notable NominationsEdit

Meanwhile, in terms of the awards themselves, Madonna and Paula Abdul were the night's biggest 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". Despite all the nominations, though, Jackson only took home one award for "Best Special Effects".

Meanwhile, 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").

However, the Viewer's Choice award went to another video that also stirred up controversy: Madonna's "Like a Prayer".

Memorable MomentsEdit

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.

Def Leppard's performance of "Tear It Down" would be the last live appearance of guitarist Steve Clark before his death on January 8, 1991.

NominationsEdit

(Note: Winners are in bold text.)

Video of the YearEdit

Neil Young – "This Note's for You"

Nominees

Best Male VideoEdit

Elvis Costello – "Veronica"

Nominees

Best Female VideoEdit

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up"

Nominees

Best Group VideoEdit

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Nominees

Best New Artist in a VideoEdit

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Nominees

Best Heavy Metal VideoEdit

Guns N' Roses – "Sweet Child o' Mine"

Nominees

Best Rap VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Dance VideoEdit

Paula Abdul – "Straight Up"

Nominees

Best Post-Modern VideoEdit

R.E.M. – "Orange Crush"

Nominees

Best Video from a FilmEdit

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

Nominees

Breakthrough VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Stage Performance in a VideoEdit

Living Colour – "Cult of Personality"

Nominees

Best Direction in a VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Choreography in a VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Special Effects in a VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Art Direction in a VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Editing in a VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Best Cinematography in a VideoEdit

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

Nominees

Viewer's ChoiceEdit

Madonna – "Like a Prayer"

Nominees

International Viewer's Choice AwardsEdit

MTV EuropeEdit

Roxette – "The Look"

Nominees

MTV InternacionalEdit

Chayanne – "Este Ritmo Se Baila Así"

Nominees

MTV JapanEdit

Kome Kome Club – "Kome Kome War"

Nominees

Video Vanguard AwardEdit

George Michael

PerformancesEdit

AppearancesEdit