Ahead of MTV’s first Music Video Awards, broadcast Sept. 14, 1984, the network was having difficulty booking top talent. Co-hosts Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler were in their 30s, old for the MTV crowd, and ZZ Top had refused to play — until the network pulled the band’s videos and manager Bill Ham relented.
MTV did, however, secure a largely unknown singer whom MTV’s Chip Rachlin recalls “was a bit difficult.” Madonna wanted to sing a new song, “Like a Virgin,” to a full-grown, white Bengal tiger. The big cat was nixed. Instead, she decided to emerge from a 17-foot tall wedding cake and sing the song in a white wedding dress, a bustier and a BOY TOY belt buckle — a classic Madonna mixed message. But as she descended, one of her white stilettos slipped off. “So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this,’ and I dove on the floor and I rolled around,” she later said. “And, as I reached for the shoe, the dress went up. And the underpants were showing.”
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