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Countdown Spectacular (12/12)

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Uploaded on Jun 22, 2011

Although it is not widely recognised, Countdown also had a strong international influence, because it was one of the first TV shows in the world to promote the regular use of the music video as a major part of its programming. Because of its receptivity to music videos (something of a necessity because of the comparative rarity of tours by overseas acts) Countdown proved to be instrumental in the worldwide success of a number of important overseas acts of the period. Madonna achieved her first hit single in April 1984 when "Holiday" was screened on Countdown. Subsequently "Burning Up" reached the top twenty following repeated showings of the video clip on the show; this second song was not a hit in other countries. Other international artists including Blondie, ABBA, John Mellencamp, Meat Loaf, Boz Scaggs and Cyndi Lauper achieved their first hits in Australia, thanks to their video clips being aired on Countdown, and this in turn led to their records being picked up and becoming hits in America and/or Europe.

Many international acts who would otherwise have gone largely unheard on Australian commercial radio, gained important exposure in Australia on Countdown through their music videos; the list includes many UK "New Wave" acts, such as XTC, The Beat, Elvis Costello, The Specials, Lene Lovich, Joe Jackson, and The Cure, and US acts such as The Ramones and The Cars.

Above all, Countdown was crucial to the success of many leading Australian acts, including AC/DC, Olivia Newton-John, INXS, Kylie Minogue, I'm Talking, John Paul Young, Sherbet, Skyhooks, Marcia Hines, Mark Holden, The Angels, Mondo Rock, Men at Work, Icehouse, Australian Crawl, Mental As Anything, Little River Band, William Shakespeare, Renée Geyer, Wa Wa Nee and Jon English.

The program dominated Australian popular music well into the 1980s, although some critics felt that in later years it tended to concentrate on pop-oriented major-label acts and that it failed to reflect much of the exciting independent scene of the time.

The popularity of Countdown was losing momentum by the mid 1980s. Music videos were often shown, rather than the artists performing live in the studio. It was cheaper to produce with videos and this led to Countdown having no significant difference from any other music video program shown on TV during this time.

(extract from Wikipedia 2011)

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