10 great songs about the radio
30 December 2020, 12:00
Radio has been, you know, pretty important to music. Here are the best songs about the wireless.
Stereophonics - I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio
"The song title comes from an old saying in Cwmaman," 'Phonics Stuart Cable once explained. "If someone was a huge liar, you'd say that you couldn't even believe their radio."
Joy Division - Transmission
"Dance, dance, dance to the radio." Transmission is a track that celebrates joy through sound. It's a celebration of using music, and the radio, to escape the humdrum existence of day to day life. And it's a ruddy TUNE.
The Smiths - Panic
"Burn down the disco / Hang the blessed DJ / Because the music that they constantly play / it says nothing to me about my life." Panic is a lament on the state of popular music and its negative effect on culture. Rumour has it Moz and Marr penned the track after listening to Steve Wright (In The Afternoon), play Wham's I'm Your Man after a news bulletin about the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.
Queen - Radio Ga Ga
Written by drummer Roger Taylor, this is a hymn to the radio generation of the 50s... ironic, really, seeing as Queen were one of the bands that heralded the video age with their clip for Bohemian Rhapsody. Great video, of course.
R.E.M. - Radio Song
"The world is collapsing / Around our ears / I turned up the radio / But I can't hear it." Poking fun at DJs and the songs they play, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe's Radio Song deals with the repetitiveness of radio play. He has since, however, stated that the song "is kind of taking the piss out of everyone."
Blur - This Is A Low
"And the radio says / This is a low." A song all about the wonder of the shipping forecast on Radio 4, This Is A Low is one of Blur's most triumphant moment as Albarn's lyrics trek the British Isles.
The Clash - This Is Radio Clash
Imagine if the pioneering punks had their own station?
The Beatles - I Am The Walrus
"I am the eggman / I am the Walrus." While some songs attack or praise the radio directly, Lennon's I Am The Walrus uses the medium itself in the song. During the recording of the track, extracts of a BBC production of King Lear can be heard from an AM radio. It's believed that this just happened to be playing on the radio at the time when Lennon was fiddling with it.
The Selecter - On My Radio
Perky 1979 ska classic from Coventry's Selecter, fronted by the excellent Pauline Black.
Rush - Spirit Of Radio
"Begin the day with a friendly voice / Companion unobtrusive." One for you classic rock heads.