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John Mayer wins Best Rock Video at 2021 MTV VMAs

John Mayer won (opens in new tab) the Best Rock Video award at this past weekend's MTV VMAs for his '80s-styled clip for Last Train Home.

The opening cut from his new album, Sob Rock, Last Train Home – as is the case for the whole album – boasts a heavy '80s yacht-rock influence, particularly from Toto, and their session king guitarist, Steve Lukather.

The song's video – which itself features Toto percussionist Lenny Castro and former Toto touring keyboardist Greg Phillinganes – is just as breezy, and reminiscent of the era, as the song itself.  

Based on the typically cheeky treatment Mayer wrote for the video – which he posted on Instagram (opens in new tab) upon receiving the award – that's exactly what the guitar virtuoso had in mind.

A post shared by John Mayer 💎 (@johnmayer) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

"I’m honored, and I’m way more excited than I’m acting," Mayer wrote of the honor on social media. 

"Everyone knows a great music video begins with a great music video treatment, and this – no joke – is the one I wrote and submitted to detail my exact artistic blueprint for what would become 2021 MTV VMAs Best Rock Video winner."

The video's popularity – it's accumulated (opens in new tab) over 9 million views on YouTube in the three months and change since its premiere – is indicative of the quality of Last Train Home as a song, which stands out even when you peel away the video's tongue-in-cheek, somewhat meme-y exterior.

“The songs, compositionally, had to be strong on their own, no matter how you played them," Mayer recently told Guitar World in response to a question about the prevalence of '80s-style instrumentation and production on Sob Rock

"The songs don’t rely on the sounds, and that’s really important. Last Train Home works on an acoustic guitar and a vocal as well as it does behind the lens of this idea that, just for one record, I want to go back to what I might’ve sounded like in that era. But it’s still a song of mine." 

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Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.