The 29th Annual MTV Video Music Awards air this Thursday, and if there's anything we've learned from the past 28 shows, it's to expect the unexpected. Take a look back through some of our favorite memorable moments from the VMAs, starting way back at the first-ever VMAs in 1984: Madonna, above, helped set the stage for the entire franchise when she writhed around on the floor in a wedding dress, panting out the words to her hit, "Like A Virgin."
Stop... Hammer Time
MC Hammer made us say "Oh my lord" during his performance of "U Can't Touch This" at the 1990 VMAs.
"Hi, Axl! Where's Axl?"
Nirvana's 1992 performance of "Lithium" is remembered not only for Dave Grohl's Axl Rose shout-out but because bassist Krist Novoselic's bass toss completely backfired—he stumbled off stage in a daze after the bass landed on his head.
Pearl Jam for MVP
1993 was Pearl Jam's year. The group collected moonmen for Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Direction and Video of the Year. AND Neil Young joined them on stage for a performance of "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World."
No, Courtney. No.
Before famously interrupting Madonna's live post-VMA interview with Kurt Loder, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love was dragged away from the backstage press room for... being Courtney Love.
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Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?
Eminem (and 100 Eminem clones) performed "The Real Slim Shady" and "The Way I Am" at the 2000 VMAs.
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Diana Ross couldn't help herself when Lil Kim showed up to the presenters' podium wearing only a shiny shell pastie over her left breast at the 1999 VMAs.
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Get a Room
"Nobody thought this would last," Michael Jackson famously said before laying one on his then wife Lisa Marie Presley at the 1994 VMAs. The couple divorced two years later.
Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera opened the 2003 VMAs, "Girls Gone Wild" style. No one was complaining.
Michael Jackson performed an epic 15-minute medley of his hits "Billie Jean," "Beat It," "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," "Black or White," "Dangerous" and "You Are Not Alone" at the 1995 VMAs.
Don't You Wanna Dance Up on Her?
At the 2001 VMAs, Britney Spears laid the innuendo on thick when she performed "I'm A Slave 4 U" with a seven-foot albino python named Banana.
"This World is Bulls--t!"
The always outspoken Fiona Apple used her Best New Artist acceptance speech to inform the youth of America to "go with yourself!" Never change, Fiona.
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A Tribute to Michael
Just weeks after her brother's death, Janet Jackson performed a touching (and bad-ass) tribute to her brother, the undefeated King of Pop, at the 2009 VMAs.
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"Yo, Taylor, Ima Let You Finish..."
Kanye West did not agree with Taylor Swift's Best Female Video win in 2009, so he took it upon himself to storm the stage, grab the mic and share his thoughts: "Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos OF ALL TIME!" Okay. Thanks, Kanye.
The Meat Dress
Lady Gaga showed up to the 2010 VMAs wearing a dress made entirely of raw beef. Though the dress was condemned by animal rights groups, Gaga defended it, explaining the dress was a statement about one's need to fight for what one believes in.
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Britney Spears made an "epic" comeback at the 2007 VMAs. After her very public divorce and a stint in rehab, Britney returned to the stage for a shockingly lackluster and confusing performance of "Gimme More." Many viewers thought the performance might have been a joke. It wasn't.
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Strike A Pose
Always the innovator, Madonna ditched modern garb for full-on Victorian costume during her iconic performance of "Vogue" at the 1990 VMAs.
The Most Famous Belly of All Time
Beyonce almost made the Internet explode when she revealed she was pregnant (with the most famous baby in the world) after her 2011 VMA performance of "Love On Top."
Crazy, Sexy, Cool
Chili, T-Boz and Left Eye of TLC nailed their performance of "No Scrubs" at the 1999 VMAs.
Dude Looks Like A Lady
After a dramatic monologue, Lady Gaga shocked everyone by performing her 'Born This Way' track "You & I" as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone. Queen guitarist Brian May later joined her on stage.