25 years: Maintain the raaaaaaaage!

It's an Aussie TV institution. ABC's rage marks 25 years on air, the longest-running music video show in the world.

Tonight ABC’s rage marks 25 years on air, the longest-running music video show in the world.

It was first screened on the weekend of Friday, 17 April 1987. The first two music videos shown were “Weirdo Libido” by the Lime Spiders and “(You Gotta) Fight For The Right (To Party)” by The Beastie Boys.

Since then just about every musical genre has featured on the show at one time or another: pop, rock, vocal, hard rock, indie, instrumental, electronic, dance, tribal, country & western, hip hop, reggae, jazz and more.

A who’s who of music glitterati have guest-programmed rage across more than two decades. The show has also featured numerous tributes, including to those we have lost plus wildcard specials, favourite videos, retro specials,

In 2008 producer Narelle Gee told TV Tonight, “Our demographics are all over the place. Everything from the kids who love pop releases on Saturday mornings to an 80 year old who sent us a fan letter.

“There’s such a wide mix of genres that we try and give everybody a little bit of what they like. We’re not very locked into what genres we play, it just depends what part of the show you might find yourself landing.

“The metal fans are always saying ‘play more metal.’ We always have metal at a 3:30 morning timeslot. At 4:00 it’s a little bit of an indie zone, with completely unknown stuff that doesn’t really fit in anywhere. It can be kind of eye-popping, you don’t quite know what might happen. And then around 4:30 we tend to go into urban dance and then into more popular music for the morning.”

John Safran once cheekily attached a video camera to his dog with looping music just to prove that “…even a dog can get a video on rage.”

In 2006 rage dropped its Top Fifty, causing a fan backlash that has never really been forgotten.

“That was massive,” acknowledged Gee, “ It was a management decision that maybe (the Top 50) wasn’t right for the ABC. Certainly the audience weren’t too thrilled with it. We still get people lobbying…”

Tonight Tim Rogers from You Am I will take viewers through a quarter-century’s worth of rage – from the most unforgettable guest programmers and their music videos selections, to special rage memories from prominent musos and well-known Aussies including Peter Garrett, Sarah Blasko, Kram from Spiderbait, Children Collide, Temper Trap, Chris Taylor from The Chaser, The Jezabels, Quan from Regurgitator, The Grates, and Zan Rowe and The Doctor from triple j.

Viewers have been invited to join in the celebration by hosting their own ‘Maintain the rage’ all-night viewing parties and to upload their own party pics and videos to the rage facebook page (facebook.com/rageabc) or twitter (@rageabc). The best party will win a piece of rage history – the iconic rage Red Couch!

The rage Silver Jubilee screens Saturday April 21 at 10.20pm on ABC1.


17 Responses

  1. The ABC aren’t shy about acting as if playing a bunch of music videos is an amazing achievement. In any case, they lost me when they lost the Top 50 – it’s not as if commercial TV is doing that anymore.

  2. Rage they still play stuff that is in the Top 50 ARIA charts, just not in order. Besides, Rage dumping the Top 50 when they did was a good thing. I must have been the only person that didn’t bat an eyelid when it happened. I love Rage because they show a mix of all sorts of styles of music, not just what is popular. I believe that is why it has lasted…

  3. JB – I was the same. I watched/recorded Rage religiously every Saturday morning from 1988 through to 2006. Now, I rarely even turn it on. They lost me when they dumped the Top 50 and turned alternative.

    My understanding was that management dropped the Top 50 when ARIA entered into a commercial agreement with Telstra to air the Top 40 each week on NOVA. As suggested by Narelle Gee, this went against the ABC’s “non-commercial” policy. I heard the “licensing fee” rumour at the time and checked with a friend who worked in the chart department at ARIA, and he/she confirmed that this was not the case – the ABC simply contacted them and told them that they wouldn’t be airing the Top 50 any more. A sad day indeed.

    Still, congratulations, Rage!! 25 years on air is a major milestone!

  4. Although the Top 50 was great, ARIA wanted a license fee and therefore made it non-viable for the ABC to keep showing it. It then became commercialised and Pay TV became the only platform that the Top 50 could be shown on.

    This was something the producers could not be blamed for. It just became a victim of the digital revolution and greedy record companies.

  5. Congratulations rage and everybody making the show. I too hope it never goes away or is changed for the worse. I’ll admit I’d wish they’d get rid of the annoying watermarks and sometimes the classification symbol that seem to show up. I don’t mind the announcement that a segment is rated PG. But why stamp the music videos with the symbol? I too wouldn’t mind the Top 50 back especially the end of year one or a Top 100 . But I often love the music that appears although not everything. Thank you.

  6. First up congratulations on being on air for 25 years.
    But I must say it’s never been the same since the Top 50 was dropped.
    It’s kind of become a TV version of Triple J…..with the odd mainstream hit thrown in the mix.
    But well done team.

  7. Pretty amazing that it’s still going. Def a world-class program.

    @Sydney2K – I don’t recall any “classical” (orchestral) music. Classical-prog rock fusion from Sky is prob the closest.

  8. Now the 25 year anniversary has passed, I’ve no doubt there’s probably a focus group somewhere in the ABC who think it’s time for a “refresh” of the time slot.

    As for the top 50, wasn’t it dropped because ARIA wanted to charge a license fee for using it?

  9. I still miss the Top 50, it was always good to have it on Saturday mornings. I especially miss the end of year top 50, as I use to record them and keep them. It’s funny to go back every now and then and see what was popular back in the 80’s and 90’s. The new Rage 50 doesn’t have the same appeal and I don’t even bother watching that. New management might see the error of the current management ways!!

  10. 2006 is when i stopped watching Rage. As a kid, every Saturday morning i’d be up early to watch the Top 50. Then they axed it, and i stopped watching. So thanks for ruining something good Rage.

  11. It has been a most interesting and excellent journey over the years so far. I hope it will still be there after another 25 years. As far as music shows go, it’s one of high-quality by a global standard and it is very comprehensive. No other music show like it exists. I’ve been grateful to have been exposed to so much music on Rage and for being able to rediscover old favourites.

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