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120 Minutes is a television show in the U.S.marker dedicated to alternative music, originally airing on MTV from 1986 to 2000, and then on MTV's sister channel MTV2 from 2001 to 2003.

After its cancellation, MTV2 premiered a replacement show called Subterranean. A similar but separate VH1 Classic program, VH1 Classic 120 Minutes, plays many classic alternative videos that were regularly seen on 120 Minutes in its heyday.


The early years

120 Minutes began on March 10, 1986. For the first ten years of 120 Minutes, viewers could see artists as varied as The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Bronski Beat, New Order, The Replacements, The Verve, Weezer, Robyn Hitchcock, Oasis, Blur, Butthole Surfers, Radiohead, KMFDM, Kate Bush, The Ramones, XTC, Morrissey, Kitchens of Distinction, They Might Be Giants, and Hüsker Dü. Nirvana's music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" received a world premiere on 120 Minutes, but soon proved so popular that the channel began to air it during its regular daytime rotation. For a time in the mid-1990s, a companion program called Alternative Nation aired every weeknight on MTV.

From MTV to MTV2

As time went on, and MTV found shows like The Real World immensely profitable, the show found its time slot pushed further back. As this was happening, the show's playlist was becoming more and more mainstream, playing the likes of Sum 41 and Staind, and the show was more frequently preempted (usually without any warning) for reruns of The Real World and Undressed before being removed from the airwaves in the summer of 2000. In 2001, the show returned to the airwaves on MTV2, where it returned to the style of music it was known for.


On May 4, 2003, the show was cancelled with no formal announcement from MTV2. Jim Shearer, the current host at the time, shared the screen with the creator of 120 Minutes, Dave Kendall, as well as Matt Pinfield. The two "classic era" hosts shared their favorite videos from over the years (a full playlist for the final episode can be found here), finally ending with the selection of Siouxsie & The Banshees's "Kiss Them For Me" as the final video aired.

List of 120 Minutes hosts

The following MTV VJ hosted 120 Minutes on a regular basis.

120 Minutes CDs

In 1991, two CDs were released entitled "Never Mind the Mainstream: The Best of MTV's 120 Minutes" volumes 1 and 2 and featured many songs featured on the program. Artists included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Echo & the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, R.E.M., Sinéad O'Connor, Ministry, Depeche Mode, Sonic Youth and Violent Femmes. The title referenced the Sex Pistols' landmark album Never Mind the Bollocks, but fortuitously recalled the title of Nirvana's Nevermind album which was released near-simultaneously.

In 1998, an album was released by Atlantic Records featuring 14 of the best and most memorable live performances on 120 Minutes from the 1990s.

Track listing

  1. Oasis - "Supersonic"
  2. Morphine - "Honey White"
  3. Porno For Pyros - "Kimberly Austin"
  4. Evan Dando - "It's About Time"
  5. P.J. Harvey - "C'mon Billy"
  6. Weezer - "Undone - The Sweater Song"
  7. Violent Femmes - "Kiss Off"
  8. They Might Be Giants - "Particle Man"
  9. Sex Pistols - "Pretty Vacant"
  10. Bad Religion - "American Jesus"
  11. Victoria Williams with Lou Reed - "Crazy Mary"
  12. Björk - "Aeroplane"
  13. The Verve Pipe - "Villains"
  14. Radiohead - "Fake Plastic Trees"

See also


External links

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