It was 1981 and MTV was celebrating its first holiday season. Having just launched on August 1st of that year, it still had that new cable network smell. What better way for an up and coming music video channel to spread some Christmas cheer than through the magic of song?
Massachusetts-born rocker Billy Squier was also having a good 1981. Riding high on the success of his second solo album, Don’t Say No, he wrote a holiday tune called “Christmas Is the Time to Say ‘I Love You’,“ which was released as the B-side of his hit “My Kinda Lover.” A video of the song was recorded with the original MTV VJs (Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter) and staff members singing along with Squier.