(Debuted July 26, 1980, Peaked #42, 11 Weeks on the Chart)
When MTV began life on August 1, 1981, the first video they played was The Buggles' prophetic "Video Killed the Radio Star." Since that was a hit in 1979, it falls outside of the time frame to be included in this blog. The second video shown by the fledgling network was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run," a song that had peaked outside the Top 40 the previous summer.
"You Better Run" was a track from Benatar's best-selling LP Crimes of Passion. Although her next album Precious Time would become her only #1 album, it's worth pointing out that Crimes of Passion was kept at #2 behind John Lennon's Double Fantasy; were it not for the actions of Mark David Chapman, it would have likely topped the LP chart. While the songs on the set had an odd flow (for instance, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" was followed by the anti-child abuse "Hell is For Children"), it was a great guitar-driven album in a sea of synthesized pop.
While many of us who grew up in the 1980s associate the song with Benatar, "You Better Run" was an early song by The Young Rascals that had been originally released in 1966. It was written by group members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigatti and ironically featured keyboards, which didn't fit with Benatar's image at the time she recorded it. However, her rendition helped establish her as a sassy, hard-edged performer and the video's inclusion in MTV's early days cemented her image even without getting the song into the Top 40.