I love old radios. That’s my ’70s-era Fleetwood in the photo — ain’t it cool?
Old formats, dead formats. I have an Edison phonograph, 8-track decks, and the old Bakelite radio I bought when I was visiting my folks. My old man still owns the briefcase hi-fi that lived in my sisters’ bedroom when I was a preschooler. One of these days I’ll restore it, or more accurately have it restored.
Whether iPods will have the same magic in 100 years as an old Victrola or a Seeburg jukebox remains to be seen, but I doubt it. They’ll retain their nostalgia value, and they’ll embody a moment in design history, but I can’t imagine that they’ll be functional in a century and that’s what makes these old devices great. Even when the last FM station goes off the air, we’ll still be able to use our old radios (via low frequency transmitters), turntables, and tape players of various formats. Will the same be true of digital files and players? I guess we’ll see.
Anyway, radio songs:
“Capital Radio Two,” The Clash. The safe Clash bet for a radio song would be “Radio Clash,” or even “Capital Radio One,” but come on — this is “Deep Cuts.”
“Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown,” Rob Zombie. Not a deep cut, but worth a listen just for Rob Zombie’s “Oh yeah!” Kool-Aid man impersonation.
“Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?” KISS. Before you throw a fit that KISS dared to cover the Ramones, let’s think about this: Both bands dyed their hair black, made up silly names for each member, dressed in costumes, and wrote anthems about rock and roll. Get off your punky high horses, people, and clap your hands. Let’s go!
“Guerilla Radio,” Rage Against the Machine. Some people ask me how much better a radio song can get, and my answer is none. None better.
“Mohammed’s Radio,” Warren Zevon. This one was going on the list regardless, but this clip significantly increased its regardless-icity.
“Radio 4,” Public Image Ltd. Off of Metal Box, one of the white whales that needs to find its way into my collection.
“Radio Free Europe (Hib-Tone version), REM. This is where it all begins for Athens’ finest, with this indie single.
“Radio G String,” Bow Wow Wow. I’ll wait here while you get out your Burundi drums. You’ll want to follow along.
I’ve left enough radio songs off this list to stretch all the way to Mexico, so get in the spirit, go ga-ga, and lay them on me. I’m listening.
Categories: Deep Cuts
“Devil’s Radio” – George Harrison
“Radio Song” – R.E.M.
“Listen To The Radio” – Don Williams
“Radio Radio” – Elvis Costello
“On The Radio” – Cheap Trick
“Radio Land” – Michael Martin Murphey
“Turn Your Radio On” – Ray Stevens
“Song On The Radio” – Al Stewart
“Radio Head” – Talking Heads
“Radio Lover” – George Jones
Nice, and we’ve still barely turned the dial…