Seven Artists Who Became Popular on MTV’s ‘Total Request Live’

MTV is bringing back late 1990s phenomenon ‘Total Request Live’ next week. The new series will feature a rotating line-up of hosts, as well as social media correspondents, presenting a daily countdown of the hottest music videos as voted on by the viewers live. Ed Sheeran and Migos have been confirmed to perform on the first episode Monday (October 2), while Playboi Carti, Noah Cyrus and PRETTYMUCH will perform Tuesday.

‘Total Request Live,’ usually shortened to ‘TRL,’ was a staple of MTV’s programming line-up and its longest-running live show. Over its initial 11 year run, the show became a breeding ground for new artists and introduced the world to many artists that we still talk about today. It gave rise to new genres such as boy bands, bubblegum pop princesses and nu metal, and gave a renewed voice to pop punk. The show’s original host, Carson Daly, became one of the most recognizable voices in broadcasting.

With ‘TRL’ making a comeback, Vinyl Bay 777, Long Island’s music outlet, is taking a look back at some of the artists the show has made popular over its initial run. Here are seven that pop and rock fans are sure to remember (or might like to forget).

1. Britney Spears: Spears is the quintessential ‘TRL’ success story. She premiered her very first music video, “Baby One More Time,” on the show in 1999, which immediately reached the number one spot on the countdown. From there, the show’s audience grew up with the singer. Over the show’s 11 year run, she had the most videos top the countdown of any female artist. Post-‘TRL,’ she continues to thrive on pop radio.

2. *NSYNC / Justin Timberlake: There were only two artists that could shut down Times Square when they appeared on ‘TRL’ and *NSYNC was one of them. Even though Top 40 radio really wasn’t playing their music on air (at least not in New York), the group was able to get so much popularity from their videos being on the show that they were able to break sales records with their second album. Not only did they make *NSYNC as a group famous, but they helped launch member Justin Timberlake’s solo career too. Each of his solo videos either made or topped the countdown.

3. Christina Aguilera: Like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera grew up on ‘TRL.’ She premiered her first video on the show, though she didn’t hit number one until her second single premiered. The show’s audience witnessed Aguilera’s many transformations on the show, from sweet and innocent to “dirrty” to classic. And her success endured long after the show went off the air.

4. Blink-182: Pop punk was starting to make a comeback in the late 1990s-early 2000s with Blink-182 carrying on the torch from bands like Green Day and The Offspring. With catchy, fun tracks and creative music videos that poked fun at just about everyone, the band became huge on ‘TRL.’

5. Good Charlotte: Looking back at number one lists, it interesting just how much pop punk influenced the countdown in the early-mid 2000s. Sum 41 and My Chemical Romance both did extremely well on the show while Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy and New Found Glory all topped the countdown at least once. But Good Charlotte seemed to earn the most rock glory from the show. All of the singles from the band’s sophomore album topped the countdown multiple times and “The Anthem” even became song of the year for 2003. Twins Joel and Benji Madden became overnight celebrities and socialites from the popularity they earned on the show.

6. Eminem: How many white rappers do you know of that have proven their staying power more than Eminem. But when his work was introduced to the world on ‘TRL’ back in 2000, he was a relative unknown. After his music took hold and started topping the countdown, he gained a lot more ground in the industry; He started his own label, signed 50 Cent (who also did really well on ‘TRL’) and D12 (who he also performed with), and has won several Grammys including many for Best Rap Album and one for Album of the Year for ‘Recovery.’

7. Limp Bizkit: Besides bubblegum pop, ‘TRL’ also brought us nu metal. Korn were regulars on the countdown, consistently landing singles at number one. But none of the other nu metal bands got as much from being on the show as Limp Bizkit did. They didn’t spend much time at number one, but Fred Durst ended up being a “spokesmodel” for the genre. His backwards red cap, white t-shirt and cargo shorts became a fashion trend. He had the privilege of pretending to date Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. If it wasn’t for ‘TRL,’ he’d have become irrelevant far sooner.

From 1998 until 2009, ‘Total Request Live’ played a large role in popular music. The show gave rise to big names like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera while shedding added light to artists just catching on like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. Pop became an overwhelming force in music because of the show. Even its original host gained notoriety for his role as tastemaker. Whether the new series will be any good or not remains to be seen. However, ‘TRL’ will now get a renewed chance to influence a whole new generation of music fans.

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To read about three more artists/personalities that became famous on ‘Total Request Live,’ check out the original article at

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