Happy Radio Day!
Well, that’s if you believe that Popov invented the concept instead of Marconi or Tesla. (And if everyone believed that, would we have had a band named Popov instead of these guys? Would Marconi not have played the mamba?
Celebrate the day anyway – it is Friday, after all – and blast some music out your car window. You might also want to celebrate by seeing films like American Hot Wax and The Boat That Rocked, a/k/a Pirate Radio.
Here are ten radio-related songs to get you started…
Joe Jackson: “On The Radio” Not the best song on I’m A Man, but that’s how strong the early Joe Jackson albums were (and how tight the band is).
Bruce Springsteen: “Radio Nowhere” I like Bruce’s social conscience, and I can appreciate the whole Woody Guthrie thing and his passion for the roots of music. But sometimes I just like a great Bruce single, and this is one.
Rush: “Spirit of the Radio” I was never a big Rush fan, mostly because Geddy Lee’s voice is like chalk on a blackboard to me. But when he shuts up and the band jams…wow.
Warren Zevon: “Mohammed’s Radio” Great live version (with Jackson Browne). God, I miss this man.
The Doors: “WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)” I know a lot of people hate The Doors and think Jim Morrison was an overrated ponce, but I think L.A. Woman was a phenomenal album; an indication of what might have been.
Everclear: “AM Radio” One can argue that many of Art’s songs sound like they’re built on the same rhythm and chord progression, but you can’t knock his ability to combine humor and pathos. Great video, too.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: “Midnight Radio” If you have not seen this film, you need to run to the store and get the DVD. John Cameron Mitchell’s performance is amazing, and thanks to Steven Trask, this is arguably the best rock and roll soundtrack ever. That’s right…ever. The original cast recording from the play is as good or better than the film soundtrack, but get both.
R.E.M.: “Radio Free Europe” The song that started it all for them, and one listen brings back that era in a flash, when these guys sounded so different from everybody else.
John Hiatt: “Radio Girl” The video sadly cuts off at the end, but I’m thankful even this much exists. John doesn’t play songs from Slug Line and Two Bit Monsters anymore, and that’s our loss.
Elvis Costello: “Radio Radio” Elvis Costello hit the ground with an astounding one-two-three punch of albums, and I wish I had a good rip of his initial SNL appearance when he played this song. But this nod and wink to that event with the Beastie Boys is pretty damned cool.
And your bonus track…Jonathan Richman’s “Road Runner“. Priceless!
Tim Russert would have been sixty today. RIP, buddy.