Over the last few weeks, there’s been an uptick of newly uploaded videos on the 120 Memories YouTube channel that feature almost-full episodes of the venerated show. There’s a few other channels out there showing partial episodes (usually the host segments but no music videos) like MrBriefcaseTV2 and other users. There’s also the great reference website The 120 Minutes Archive, which provides extensive playlists of nearly every episode*, and links to the videos if they’re available.
* – Back when this site was first being built sometime in 2004 or so, I still had a lot of my old VHS tapes with many of the episodes, so I was able to provide them with a lot of playlist information. A lot of the 1987-1989 episodes have my name listed on the site.
It’s fun watching some of these now, nearly thirty years later…
For instance, I remember watching the above episode as Dave Kendall (at that point still only the producer and doing the countdowns and new releases) featuring a segment on the then-new Sisters of Mercy album, Floodland. Even though he treated it in his usual over-the-top way, dripping with snark and pomposity and just a hint of humor, that segment actually convinced me to go out and buy the album.
I’d say Kevin Seal was my favorite host, considering he played it like the student doing a show on college radio: the barest of preparation, rehearsal or professionalism, but he was having a hell of a fun time doing it. It also helped that he was also the class weirdo out of all the veejays there at the time. Dave Kendall was the station manager, doing what he could with what little he had on hand, more focused on providing awesome music than decent production.
Those early years were definitely lo-fi. They’d become more slick during the early 90s when Nirvana & Co came in, followed by the Ultimate Music Nerd in the shape of Matt Pinfield in the mid to late 90s. But those early years, that era from 1986 to about 1990 when it was still all about whatever was playing on college radio at the time, that was where it worked best. It was the visual equivalent of turning on your favorite college station for two hours after everyone else had gone to bed.