MTV debuted on Aug. 1, 1981, opening the door for a burgeoning new promotional platform for musicians — the music video. Flash forward to 1984 and the network decided to reward their top videos by starting the MTV Video Music Awards. By 1989, the award show expanded to include genre videos, ensuring that rock would be recognized in the years to follow.

That first year, the rock category was actually dubbed the Best Heavy Metal Video, rewarding the biggest band on the planet at that point as Guns N' Roses took home the inaugural honor for "Sweet Child O' Mine." From there, the name of the category segued away from metal and more toward rock, with a closer representation of the rock scene over the years.

There have been multiple acts winning more than once, with Aerosmith being the leader in the category winning four years. Yet, oddly enough, in a year where "Crazy" won Video of the Year, it lost to Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" for Best Rock Video.

Join us as we revisit the "rock" category at the MTV Video Music Awards through the years, sharing the winners and who they were up against.

MTV Video Music Awards Rock Awards Winners by Year

Decades of VMA winners!

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