Radio songs

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We want the Airwaves by the Ramones (1981)

Here's a song about putting "real rock and roll" on the radio, written by Joey Ramone (born Jeffery Hyman, died 2001 at the age of 49 from cancer).


Lust for Life by Iggy Pop (1977)

This song was a collaboration between Iggy and David Bowie.  Legend has it that the drum beat was taken from the call signal of a U.S. ir Forces Network in Berlin, read about that on Wikipedia. Dah-dah-dah, dah-dah-dit-dah translates to "OQ", as our Ham Radio friends all know.  We hate to point out that this drum beat had been used previously by Motown, for example, it is featured in "You Can't Hurry Love" by the Supremes back in 1966.  Cool story though!

Either Bowie or Iggy was reading William F.  Burroughs "The Ticket that Exploded" before they wrote the lyrics to Lust for Life. If you are a serious student of punk rock, you should pick up a copy and learn about Johnny Yen. Don't worry, reading about gay adventures should not wear off on anyone.

Today, many people recognize "Lust for Life" as it was used in a commercial for a cruise line. But if you listen to it, would not pass any corporate sniff test as politically correct.  When Iggy states "Well I am just a modern guy, of course I've had it in the ear before", that refers to the need to find a new place to inject heroin when you are out all your other veins.  Hey, maybe he was just ahead of his time! Iggy is still going strong, he turned 73 on 21 April 2020.  RIP, David Bowie!

If you have maybe $40K laying around you can bid on a 1984 Ferrari that Mr. Pop used to drive in Florida.  As of September 2020, it is coming up for auction in the UK...

Heidis Erben Das kleine Kuken piept

Note: you have to click through to Youtube to play this video, because of some copyright rule...

Heidis Erben (Heidi's Heirs) seem to have disappeared after making a few cool videos around 2011-2013.  Here are Marie (dark hair) Franzi (braids) und Vroni singing about sounds that animals might make on the radio.  If you can keep up with them, you are doing great!

Here is the penultimate verse

Im Radio ist ein Stier
Im Radio ist ein Stier
Und der macht BRUUU
Und die Kuh macht MUUUH
Die Ziege BÄÄÄH
Das Schaf macht MÄÄÄH
Und der Hund WAU WAU
Und die Katze MIAU
Und die Taube GURR
Und die Henne GOAK
Und das Küken PIEP
Das kleine Küken PIEP

Spoiler alert.  It does not end well for das kleine kucken...

Morse Code of Love by Nick Santo (1982)

 The Capris, five Italians from Queens that preferred the songs of Clyde McPhatter to Dion, had but one single smash hit record, and this wasn't it. Nick Santos started writing "Morse Code of Love" in 1961, the group broke up, and he became a policeman for a time.  He finished writing Morse Code of Love in 1981.  In 1982 the Capris came back together as an oldies act, and recorded a few songs.  A single of Morse Code was one result, which got some serious radio play on oldies format stations.  Manhattan Transfer also recorded it in 1985, and that version hit #83 on the pop charts.  The Capri's version is still one of the most requested "50s" songs and has the perfect tempo for a little swing dancing.  Morse Code of Love seems like a forgotten oldie from the 1950s, but technically it really isn't! Morse Code of Love stands as an inspiration to anyone that ever had a good idea when they were in their 20s, got distracted for 20 years, and dusted it off and put it to excellent use.

Dit Daaaaaah!

 As a bonus track, check out the Emburys, a New Jersey Doo Wop group, cover Morse Code a capella.  It is a little rough and they left out the falsetto lead-in, but the bass is amazing. Don't you wish your father or grandfather could sing like that? Don't you wish you were from the Garden State?

 The Emburys

Starman by David Bowie (1972)

Turn on your radio and listen to a message from space, and let all the children boogie! David Bowie died January 10, 2016, after a storied career spanning six decades, marked by messages of anti-racism,  anti-facism, and gender bending. Describing himself as a bisexual in 1972, he proved that sexual orientation is not a career roadblock: he went on to sell 140 million albums.  Bowie turned down a knighthood in 2003 because he thought it was pointless.  Bowie later stated "I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for."

Didn't know what time it was and the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin' down some rock 'n' roll 'lotta soul, he said
Then the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren't no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive

There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie


Starman by David Bowie, 1972

Radio Radio by Elvis Costello and The Attractions (1977)

It does not get any better than Elvis back in 1978. Justin Bieber can outsell both Elvises, but ask yourself: where is Macaulay Culkin these days?

Radio Radio is a protest song about commercialization of radio broadcasting. Costello is Irish, which gives him special protest powers. Twenty five years later, the situation is much worse than Costello could have imagined. He was banned from Saturday Night Live for playing this song in December 1977, during the time that Saturday Night Fever's playlist was pushed up the charts. The Bee Gee's Night Fever held the top slot on Billboard top 40 for four weeks starting in February 1978, although it is an equally great song, Radio Radio failed to chart. Critical thinking exercise: why could that be? Finally, consider this, Grasshopper.... Radio Radio was recorded on the Radar Record indie label. Columbia Records of course wouldn't touch it. Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

.. you'd better do as you are told, you'd better listen to the radio....


FM- No Static at All by Steely Dan (1978)

This won a Grammy in 1979 for best engineered track. No static at all, Edwin Armstrong should be proud of this tribute to his achievement.




Nothin on but the Radio by Gary Allen (2004)

A country song about nudity.




Radio Nowhere by Bruce Springsteen (2007)

A further lamentation on the state of radio, circa 2007. Bruce sure pulls in the fifty/one-fifty (age/weight) Jersey girls! Nice hair plugs, but that is not the way to channel Pete Seeger.






Author : Unknown Editor