MTV launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," spoken by John Lack, and played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia (which took place earlier that year) and of the launch of Apollo 11. Those words were immediately followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching classical tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over photos of the Apollo 11 moon landing, with the flag featuring MTV's logo changing various colors, textures, and designs. MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a conceit, associating MTV with the most famous moment in world television history. Seibert said they had originally planned to use Neil Armstrong's "One small step" quote, but lawyers said Armstrong owns his name and likeness, and Armstrong had refused, so the quote was replaced with a beeping sound. At the moment of its launch, only a few thousand people on a single cable system in northern New Jersey could see it. Kenneth M. Miller is credited as being the first Technical Director to officially launch MTV from its New York-based Network Operations facility.
The first music video shown on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. The second video shown was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run." Sporadically, the screen would go black when an employee at MTV inserted a tape into a VCR. Video of the launch of MTV was uploaded onto YouTube in 2009, with the original commercials, and the "black screens" between videos. The "MTV lettering" differed on its first day, and included record label information like year and label name.
MTV on Wikipedia