If you don't know the song "Video Killed the Radio Star," close your browser and go back to planking or Harlem Shaking or whatever it is the youth of this week are supposed to be doing. For the rest of us, let's take some time to remember the Buggles. They recorded the definitive version of "Video Killed the Radio Star" that became the very first music video to air on MTV. And ... they named themselves the Buggles. That about sums it up. Oh, and they were basically describing the next decade or so in music with this one line:
"Put the blame on VTR
Video killed the radio star"
As we mentioned, despite its reflective title, "Video Killed the Radio Star" was around before MTV became a music video juggernaut. The title was more of a warning, letting us all know that they were coming to take over our world, but the person writing it didn't even know who "they" were at the time.
"They," in this instance, were clearly not the Buggles, because unless we're mistaken, the Buggles stopped being a thing almost instantly (like, they finished filming that music video and then they all died or moved to Asia or something). Point being, people were coming to take over the music industry, and those people were Michael Jackson and Madonna and Peter Gabriel and -- yes, we said Peter Gabriel. The point still being, the visual medium in which the music was represented became nearly as important, and then, for a long stretch, much more important than the music itself. (Thanks for that, TRL.)
To understand the boldness of this prediction, though, you need to remember that music videos had been around for more than a decade before the Buggles claimed they were a game changer. They were known as "promotional clips" or "song videos," and the Beatles had them, along with Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger. So to suggest that music videos would overtake the radio -- even though such established musical icons hadn't made that happen -- was a little bit insane. Especially for a band called the Buggles. Come on.
No, that's not Rivers Cuomo and Dave Mustaine.
But it happened. Suddenly, people weren't waking up early to listen to Sunday morning's American Top 40. They were staying up late to watch Friday Night Video Fights. Rather than taping songs off the radio onto worn-out cassette tapes, kids were taping music videos off the television onto worn-out VHS cassettes. It was ... different, somehow.
The music video's reign today is certainly questionable. They've been mostly phased out of standard programming by reality TV and clip shows, and exist primarily in the form of viral YouTube videos. Fittingly, English sex machine Robbie Williams released an album called Reality Killed the Video Star in 2009. Extra mind-blower: The album was produced by Trevor Horn, founding member of the Buggles.
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Which explains why all of Robbie's sets turned into black-and-white Q*bert boards.
We'll admit right now that tragic nightclub fires seem to happen with some frequency. So maybe it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that a recent nightclub fire in Brazil was "predicted" by a Brazilian country band, even if the fact that Brazil has a country band is kind of shocking. But once more, things get weird when you catalog how terrifyingly accurate they were with their prediction.
Because the details Brazilian country band Teodoro E Sampaio get correct about that tragic nightclub fire make Nicki Minaj predicting the month of her cousin's death seem like a bunch of Miss Cleo psychic hotline bullshit. Here are a few lines from the song in question, "Pegou Fogo Na Zona," released in 2009:
"The nightclub caught fire ...
Threw a bomb at 3 in the morning ...
I've never seen so many women lying there on the floor ...
The accordionist died."
Yeah, you read that right. The accordionist. As in "person who plays the accordion."
The incident that may pop into your mind when you hear "Brazil nightclub fire" happened in January of 2013, more than three years after the lyrics above were penned. It was caused when the lead singer of a Brazilian country band decided that shooting off flares inside an almost sure to be flammable nightclub was a good idea. Unsurprisingly to anyone with a basic knowledge of fire and enclosed spaces, the building was almost immediately set ablaze, trapping and killing hundreds inside.
We know what some of you are thinking, and no, the band that wrote the song was not the same band that set the fire. That would actually make this story a lot less strange and potentially even more criminal. However, the details of the real-life tragedy match up to the song so accurately that we've now double-checked 17 times to make sure the song was actually written before the incident happened. (After an 18th check, we can now assure you it did.) Here are the facts:
1) Yes, that's their real hair.
The "bomb" that caused the fire was, obviously, the flare that some dipshit shot off while no doubt sticking his tongue out and throwing up devil horns. He did so about five songs into their set, roughly around 2:45 a.m. (We realize we're being a little lenient with this particular prophecy since the song said 3 a.m. sharp, but we'd appreciate it if you held onto your skepticism for just a moment.)
In the song, set to a jaunty country rhythm, the singer laments how he's "never seen so many women lying there on the floor," because that's as light-hearted as country music gets in Brazil. We won't get into the gruesome details of the aftermath, but it's safe to say that any police officer at the scene would have agreed that the song gets this part right. And the big bonus omen? The fact that the only band member to perish in the fire was Danilo Jacques, the accordionist. Not the drummer, not the lead singer who caused the fire, but the goddamn accordionist. Just like the song says.
If it was an accordion that shot out flames, that would be another story entirely.
In yet another strange coincidence, the foreboding story in the song is told, as most songs are, from the perspective of the singer. Which makes lyrics like "I was at the police station, explaining what happened" that much freakier when you consider that the singer was the only member of the band playing that night to be arrested in connection with the incident.
OK, just checking one more time, are we sure there's more than one country music band in Brazil?
For more scary foretellings, check out 6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song and 6 Movies That Predicted Disasters With Eerie Accuracy.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out How a Conspiracy to Raise Beer Prices Invented Hipsters.