J.J. Jackson, One Of MTV's First VJs, Dies At Age 62
03.18.2004 4:40 PM EST
J.J. Jackson says hello on MTV for the first time on August 1, 1981
J.J. Jackson, remembered as one of the first faces of MTV, died Wednesday night in Los Angeles of an apparent heart attack, according to friends and former business associates. He was 62.
Jackson helped define the term "VJ" as one of the first on-air personalities on MTV when the channel launched in 1981. During his five-year tenure with the network, Jackson interviewed some of the top names of the day and was part of some key music milestones. Jackson covered the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert in London and helped to "unmask" Kiss during a 1982 interview. He also hosted the debut episode of MTV's long-running "120 Minutes" in 1986, and brought music titans like Robert Plant
and Pete Townshend
to the then-fledgling channel.
MTV released a statement Thursday evening (March 18), mourning the loss of one of its beloved alumni and reflecting on his immense contribution to the station.
"J.J. Jackson's deep passion for music, his ease and good humor on air, and his welcoming style really set the tone for the early days of MTV. He was a big part of the channel's success and we are sure he is in the music section of heaven, with lots of his friends and heroes. We are fortunate to have had him as a part of the MTV family. He will be greatly missed."
Besides his endeavors in television, Jackson also logged a thick résumé in radio. Prior to his MTV days, Jackson was a rock-radio staple, first at WBCN-FM in Boston, and later at a few stations in Los Angeles. After his VJ days, Jackson returned to radio in the Los Angeles area.
On Thursday (March 18), Paul Goldstein, program director of L.A.'s KTWV-FM, said "J.J.'s tenure with the station ended just six months ago. He was a wonderful man and will be very missed."
More information concerning J.J. Jackson will be available in the coming hours.
&#8212;Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Curtis Waller and Jennifer Vineyard