Music Written About Radio

Over the years, a number of songs were written about radio, Helen Reddy‘s “Angie Baby” and the Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” being two bookends. Harry Chapin‘s “WOLD” talks about the dark side of the addiction. Edwin Starr‘s “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio” expresses the joy that can be created when the music and the announcer so mix to create an uplifting experience. Today’s Much More Music section highlights 4 tunes written about radio that touch on the symbiotic relationship between broadcasting and the artists who provide it’s most compelling content.

Today in History:

1914: Henry Ford announced his new continuous motion method to assemble cars that reduced the time it took to make a car from 12½ hours to 93 minutes.

1923: Warren Harding became the first U.S. president to file an income tax return.

1941: Xavier Cugat & His Orchestra recorded “Babalu,” which became a modest hit. Later the song was associated with Desi Arnaz who never had a hit recording of it but often performed the song in clubs during the 1940s.

1955: On his Washington, DC television show, “Town and Country Time,” Jimmy Dean interviewed Elvis Presley. A nervous Presley responded to almost every question with “yep” or “nope.”

1956: The movie “Rock Around the Clock,” starring Bill Haley and His Comets, Alan Freed, the Platters, and Freddie Bell, had its world premiere in Washington, DC.

1958: The first Gold Record was awarded to Perry Como for his single, “Catch A Falling Star.”

1965: Petula Clark made her American television debut on CBS’s “The Ed Sullivan Show,” singing “Downtown” and “I Know A Place.”

1976: Movie choreographer/director Busby Berkeley died at the age of 80.

1980: On his 47th birthday, Quincy Jones received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Today’s Birthdays:

1912: Les Brown, known for his Band of Renown during the big-band era, is born in Reinerton, Pennsylvania. (d. 2001)
1922: Les Baxter (‘Poor People Of Paris’, ‘Love is a Wonderful Thing’). (d. 1996).
1951: Spanish entertainer Charo is born with a much longer moniker: María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza.
1950: Rick Dees is born in Jacksonville, Florida.
1945: Michael Martin Murphey (‘Wildfire’, ‘Carolina in the Pines’) is born in Dallas, Texas.
1945: Walter Parazaider (of Chicago) is born in Maywood, Illinois.
1943: Jim Pons (bassist for The Turtles, Mothers Of Invention) is born in Santa Monica, California.
1933: Quincy Jones is born in Chicago, Illinois.

Much More Music:
Inside Radio Rock & Roll.. Music Written About Radio.

1974: “Overnight Sensation” – Raspberries: An unabashed plea to the radio biz for airplay. John Lennon, a Raspberries fan, particularly liked “Overnight Sensation” and was present for part of the recording of the Starting Over album. Although uncredited, he is said to have assisted with the production of the song. (Video)

1975: “Don’t Call Us (We’ll Call You)” – Sugarloaf: The song uses a guitar melody from the Beatles hit, “I Feel Fine” (which is also alluded to in the lyric, “sounds like JohnPaul, and George“) as well as a riff of Stevie Wonder‘s hit, “Superstition.” An imitation of Wolfman Jack by disc jockey Ken Griffin also is featured briefly in the song; it states the call sign of a radio station (“Stereo 92” in the nationwide release). Numerous tracks of this line were cut to match local markets. (Video)

1979: “Pilot of the Airwaves” – Charlie Dore: The emblematic lonely girl sings about a disk jockey that she considers one of her few friends. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting“Radio is the theater of the mind; television is the theater of the mindless. – Steve Allen

One More For The Road: A mashup of few of the 35,000 tracks that had Hal Blaine on the drums. Bet you remember many of them. (Video)

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit