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Friday, 10 July 2015

Music is the Doctor #9: The Radio

Long before the days of the Streaming, You Tube, the Internet there was a little thing called the Radio where we would discover new music (well besides the music press and the occasional TV show).

There was nothing quite like a Tuesday lunch time when we were at school gathering around the small radio that someone had brought in to listen to the Chart run down (yes it was on a Tuesday then!). Oh the joy of hearing that your favourite band (Slade for me in those days) had entered the chart at the Number One spot with their latest single 'Cum on Feel the Noize' - their first to do so and a few months later they would repeat that with the release of 'Skweeze Me Pleeze Me').

The Radio was important in that it often gave rise to new musical movements and certain DJ's were pivotal in that happening. Just think of the amount of music that John Peel gave airtime to folk, Punk, Reggae, Hardcore, House, Techno, Indie artists with sessions etc on Radio 1. Or David Rodigan playing Reggae on a Saturday night and Tim Westwood playing Hip Hop on Capital Radio. Then there was Andy Kershaw on Radio 1 sharing the delights of African music by the likes of the Bhundu Boys.

Then of course there's the influence of Pirate Radio Stations like Radio Caroline, Radio London and Radio Luxembourg cannot be dismissed either. They were often playing music that would never have made it onto the BBC at the time. You can read more about the DJ's etc here.

So today and for the second time this week (not quite sure that's gonna happen again!) here's a 20 Track Playlist celebrating all things Radio! Enjoy

1. We Want The Airwaves - The Ramones.
The first of two tracks by NYC's band of brothers. This one from their 'Pleasant Dreams' album.

2. Radio Song - R.E.M.
"The world is collapsing around our ears/I turned up the radio I can't hear it" and so begins the fourth single from the 'Out of Time' album.

3. Radio Radio - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
A little protest song by Elvis over the commercialisation of Radio broadcasts and one that actually got him banned from Saturday Night Live for 12 years when he and the Attractions burst into it after beginning with Less Than Zero!

4. Radio Nowhere - Bruce Springsteen
A great lead off single from the Magic album.

5. Rex Bob Lowenstein - Mark Germino
One of my favourite DJ's from Captial Radio and then onto Radio 1 in the 90's was Roger Scott and he loved playing this track that tells the story of a DJ at a Radio Station. It still sounds great.

6. Capital Radio Two - The Clash
Released on the Cost for Living EP along with their storming version of I Fought the Law it's their ode to Capital Radio that was based in Euston.

7. You Can't Say Crap On The Radio - Stiff Little Fingers
The song ends with a wee slice of Capital Radio and it's the tale of SLF going on the Radio and using uncomplimentary language!

8. Roadrunner - Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
"I'm in love with the radio on
It helps me from being alone late at night
" - love that line.

9. Rock and Roll - Velvet Underground
"Jenny said when she was just five years old
You know there's nothing happening at all
Every time she puts on the radio
There was nothing goin' down at all
Then one fine mornin' she puts on a New York station
She couldn't believe what she heard at all
She started dancin' to that fine fine music
You know her life was saved by Rock 'n' Roll"

10. The Last DJ - Tom Petty
"There goes the last DJ
Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say
Hey, hey, hey
And there goes your freedom of choice
There goes the last human voice
And there goes the last DJ"

11. Radar Love - Golden Earring
"The radio plays that forgotten song..."
Nothing like hearing a song you haven't heard in years blasting through the speakers.

12. On My Radio - The Selecter
"It's Just the Same Old Show on My Radio" - could have been written today when you consider how bland many stations are!

13. Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo
For no other reason than I used to find this lot charming.

14. Spirit of Radio - Rush
Not a huge fan of the hairy Canadians but I do like the guitar intro on the song.
 "Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive
Plays that song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood" 

15. W.O.L.D. - Harry Chapin
Another story of an old DJ. Despite being a bit tacky I quite like this one.

16. Atmospherics (Listen to the Radio) - Tom Robinson
Okay, have to confess that I don't really remember this at all and not totally sure what the actual title is but Tom's a good bloke and he's got a radio show as well.

17. Radio Ass Kiss - The Wonder Stuff
Was a B-Side this one and whilst not one of their finer moments it sits well with our theme.

18. Radio - Teenage Fanclub
"I think I'll kill the radio, don't want to hear this song" - now that's a great line to start a song!

19. Radio Free Europe - R.E.M.
A second from the Athens, Georgia boys. I just looked at the lyrics of this one as I hadn't heard it in awhile...yep...I have no idea!

20. Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio - The Ramones
We finish where we started with the Ramones.
"Do you remember lying in bed
With your covers pulled up over your head?
Radio playing so no one can see
We need change, we need it fast
Before rock's just part of the past
Because lately it all sounds the same to me"

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