(This is the song that suceeded St. Elmo Fire (Man in Motion) as the Billboard Number One Single in September 1985
In 2000, Knopfler appeared on Michael Parkinson’s interview program and explained again where the lyrics originated. According to Knopfler, he was in New York and stopped by an appliance store. At the back of the store, they had a wall of TVs which were all tuned to MTV. Knopfler said there was a man working there dressed in a baseball cap, work boots, and a checkered shirt delivering boxes who was standing next to him watching. As they were standing there watching MTV, Knopfler remembers the man coming up with classic lines such as “what are those, Hawaiian noises?…that ain’t workin” etc. Knopfler asked for a pen to write some of these lines down and then eventually put those words to music.
The songwriting credits are shared between Mark Knopfler and Sting. Sting was visiting Montserrat during the recording of the song, and was invited to add some background vocals. Sting has stated that his only compositional contribution was the “I Want My MTV” line, which was sung to the identical melody of the verse of his own song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, originally recorded by The Police. Sting was reportedly embarrassed when his publishing company insisted on a co-writing credit (and royalties).