1986 MTV Video Music Awards

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1986 MTV Video Music Awards
DateFriday, September 5, 1986
LocationUniversal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles
Palladium, New York City
CountryUnited States
Hosted byDowntown Julie Brown
Mark Goodman
Alan Hunter
Martha Quinn and
Dweezil Zappa
Most awardsA-ha (8)
Most nominationsA-ha and Dire Straits (11 each)
Television/radio coverage
Produced byDon Ohlmeyer
Bob Pittman
Directed byDon Ohlmeyer
← 1985 · MTV Video Music Awards · 1987 →

The 1986 MTV Video Music Awards aired live on September 5, 1986, honoring the best music videos from May 2, 1985, to May 1, 1986. The show was hosted by MTV VJs Downtown Julie Brown, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, and Dweezil Zappa, and it emanated primarily from both The Palladium in New York City and the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. Other parts of the show, however, took place in various locations such as London, Miami, and New Haven, Connecticut.

The night's biggest winner and one of the year's two most nominated artists was Norwegian group a-ha, which won eight out of eleven awards it was in contention for. Their video for "Take On Me" earned six awards out of eight nominations, including Viewer's Choice, while "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." won two awards out of three nominations.

The other most nominated artist was rock group Dire Straits, whose video for "Money for Nothing" also earned eleven nominations and won two awards, including Video of the Year. Thus, "Money for Nothing" was also the most nominated video at the 1986 VMAs.


MTV announced in June that the 1986 Video Music Awards would be held at New York's Palladium and Los Angeles's Universal Amphitheatre on September 5.[1] Nominees were announced on August 4.[2] The decision to broadcast the ceremony from multiple venues came out of a desire to make the ceremony more casual, as did the decisions to forego a traditional host, present awards throughout the venues instead of at a podium, and loosen time limitations.[3][4] Winners were selected by a group of over 1,700 individuals from the recording industry.[5] The ceremony was preceded by a two-hour MTV VMA 1986 Pre-Game Show special. Hosted by Bob Costas and Huey Lewis, the pre-taped special highlighted the nominees.[4]


List of musical performances
Artist(s) Song(s) Ref.
Robert Palmer "Addicted to Love" [6]
The Hooters "And We Danced"
"Nervous Night"
The Monkees "I'm a Believer"
"Daydream Believer"
'Til Tuesday "What About Love"
INXS "What You Need"
Van Halen "Best of Both Worlds"
"Love Walks In"
(Pre-taped from New Haven, CT)
Mr. Mister "Kyrie"
"Broken Wings"
Simply Red "Holding Back the Years"
"Money's Too Tight (To Mention)"
Whitney Houston "How Will I Know"
"Greatest Love of All"
Pet Shop Boys "Love Comes Quickly"
"West End Girls"
Tina Turner "Typical Male"
Genesis "Throwing It All Away"
(From London)

Robert Palmer, The Monkees, INXS, Mr. Mister, Whitney Houston, and Pet Shop Boys performed from Los Angeles. The Hooters, 'Til Tuesday, Simply Red, and Tina Turner performed from New York.


Winners and nominees[edit]

Winners are listed first and highlighted in bold.[7]

Video of the Year Best Male Video
Best Female Video Best Group Video
Best New Artist in a Video Best Concept Video
Most Experimental Video Best Stage Performance in a Video
Best Overall Performance in a Video Best Direction in a Video
Best Choreography in a Video Best Special Effects in a Video
Best Art Direction in a Video Best Editing in a Video
Best Cinematography in a Video Viewer's Choice
Video Vanguard Award
Zbigniew Rybczyński
Special Recognition Award[8]
Bill Graham
Jack Healey

Other appearances[edit]

  • Adam Whittaker – accepted the Best Editing and Best Cinematography awards on behalf of David Yardley and Oliver Stapleton
  • Grace Jones – accepted the Best Overall Performance award on behalf of David Bowie and Mick Jagger
  • Simon Fields – accepted the Best Direction award on behalf of Steve Barron
  • Rod Stewart – appeared in a pre-commercial vignette via satellite


  1. ^ "MTV video awards". Press & Sun-Bulletin. June 19, 1986 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "a-Ha, Houston top MTV best video finalists". San Pedro News-Pilot. August 5, 1986 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Graff, Gary (September 5, 1986). "MTV turns to street to enliven its awards". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b "1986 MTV awards show to pave new ground". Democrat and Chronicle. August 23, 1986 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Video Music Awards Program To Be Broadcast". Arroyo Grande Times-Press-Recorder. September 3, 1986 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b Masley, Ed (August 23, 2014). "MTV Video Music Awards: 30 memorable moments through the years". AZ Central. Archived from the original on October 11, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  7. ^ "1986 MTV Video Music Awards". Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "1986". Archived from the original on June 9, 2000.

External links[edit]