Triple J: RIP


J.J. Jackson is dead. Jackson helped launch MTV back in the Reagan I epoch of 1981.

Jackson had the most "radio" vibe of the original five VJs, which was oddly appealing in those early days when the channel's near cable-access production values and eclecticism strayed into Dadaism.

Sweet Jebus how time flies.

(via Fark)

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  1. Not only that, but a guy from the Dead Milkmen killed himself last week.

  2. What freaked me out was that JJ Jackson was 62 when he died. What the hell?

  3. >What freaked me out was that JJ Jackson was 62
    >when he died. What the hell?

    Yeah, right?

  4. JJJ, the guy who lent his credibility to the profession of VJ. Look what the suits did with it. Oh well, at least JJJ was the real deal, with a lot more juice than Viacom could ever suck out of him.

    Oddly enough, when I came in from working late this evening, my family had a Nick-at-Nite “Full House” rerun on the tube. The first image I saw on the screen as I walked in the room was the face of Martha Quinn as “Allison.” Before today, I hadn’t seen her on TV in years. JJJ might have told a story like that by way of introducing the Police’s “Synchronicity,” back in MTV’s glory days. Too bad there are no comparable VJs on the mutated MTV these days to pay proper tribute to one of the pioneers who got everything rolling, way back when. The era of VJs was like the era of NASA moon landings: someone had the right stuff to bring it to us for a few years, then abandoned the hard-won ground for no good reason that I could see…

    Maybe the folks at FUSE have enough class to tip their hats to JJJ. We don’t get that channel here in my cable system, so I’ll never know.

    The upside is that JJJ is now bringing the great MTV-that-was to Rock-n-Roll heaven. I want THAT MTV.

  5. Tonight I’ll go home and re-read Alan Licht’s “An Emotional Tribute To Martha Quinn” in tribute.

    When you want that early-80s MTV vibe check out the All-Request Hour on VH-1 Classic. There must be some real hardcore fans watching because they dig deep in the vaults on that show — it’s not just endless repeats of “Wrapped Around Your Finger”. It’d be nice to have a show with as eclectic a selection of more recent material, though.

    Aaaagh, now I’m getting nostalgic about USA’s “Night Flight” and that weekly new age program VH-1 used to run — I better go soak my head for a while.

  6. I remember JJJ from his afternoon slot at FM rock pioneer KLOS (LA) as well as from his closing gig at smooth jazz (using the term loosely?insipid jazz might be more accurate) KTWV, who nailed the coffin shut on LA’s other powerhouse FM rock pioneer, KMET when they bought ’em out more than a decade ago.

    James? apt term, ?Mutated MTV? is a perfect term because, to paraphrase, there is no MTV there?the dish picks up a broadcast, but it ain?t MTV.

    And hey, the greatest jazz DJ of all time died a couple of days before JJJ. Chuck Niles did it for 50 years and was so exceptional that he has a star on Hollywood Blvd.

  7. Night Flight! Wow!

  8. J.J. was always my favorite of the MTV jocks because he had a sense of humor about it all and didn’t seem too concerned about looking hip. That truly made him the hippest of the VJs. J.J. we hardly knew ye.

  9. V-“J”s? As in “Jocks”? As in “the person who programs and controls what gets seen”? Gimme a break. They no more controlled the programming than the janitor. They were personalities, nothing more. At least the music only half-sucked back then. Today’s MTV is for pin-headed weenies.

  10. Night Flight — yes!! Lots of repeats of “Urgh, a Music War”.

  11. The advent of music videos and then MTV has done more to degrade, debase, and lower American culture and intelligence than anything else in the last 50 or so years.

    But JJ did seem like a very likable guy.

  12. Screw the VJs – I want music videos on MTV.

  13. Dink: For the most part, even radio jocks weren’t jocks by the 1980s. Program directors and music directors (often contracted “consultants”) were calling the shots at most music radio stations; in part, you can thank government intervention during the 50s/60s payola scandals for that. MTV was also motivated to “automate” their mix and pre-record their VJ breaks by the economics of television production. Back then, an MTV exec did tell me that they would have been happy to put VJs live on the air, and let them spin their own discs (tapes?) if the operation could easily be distilled down to a one-man “combo” affair, as was common at radio stations of the day. Interestingly enough, in the modern day of mini-cams on robotic tripods, computer-controlled video special-effects and switching, and digital video content on DVDs and hard drives, you actually can have a combo VJ setup, at a very reasonable price. On the other hand, MTV and its corporate siblings have so squeezed the life out of the once promising video music genre, that I doubt there is enough demand to support hundreds of local video music shows or stations across the country or around the world, in the way that the commercial music industry once supported thousands of independent local radio stations.

    Joe and Ernie: I miss “Night Flight” too, especially the “New Wave Theatre” segment. The host of that show-within-a-show, Peter Ivers, also died young, much younger even than JJJ, and under suspect circumstances. You can apparently find episodes of NWT on VHS tape if you look hard enough (Rhino, I think…?) but not on DVD yet. Pity.

  14. Nothing to see there.
    Move along.

  15. Radio star killer: MTV2 has music videos all the time (or at least, all the time I’ve ever watched it). It is almost like the “good old days” of the early 80s MTV — and far preferrable to the primary MTV channel these days, imho — but it still falls a bit flat for me. I think MTV2 would be better with knowledgeable VJs of at least JJJ’s caliber. Indeed, it would be best if it were to go as retro as to include comedy, music, and VJs: the original paleo-MTV concept as pitched by ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith and demonstrated in his long-form video “Elephant Parts.”

    So “my MTV” is really EPTV (Elephant Parts TV); after waiting for over two decades, I finally want MY MTV.

  16. What’s wierd is I have the same initials as J.J. Jackson and ever since I was a freshman in high school people have been calling me Triple J.

  17. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/21/2004 06:03:00
    An ideal person is not a tool.

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