See our companion page on Radar Songs
Morse Code of Love
The Capris, five Italians from Queens that preferred the songs of Clyde McPhatter to Dion, had but one single smash hit record, and this wasn't it. Nick Santos started writing "Morse Code of Love" in 1961, the group broke up, and he became a policeman for a time. He finished writing Morse Code of Love in 1981. In 1982 the Capris came back together as an oldies act, and recorded a few songs. A single of Morse Code was one result, which got some serious radio play on oldies format stations. Manhattan Transfer also recorded it in 1985, and that version hit #83 on the pop charts. The Capri's version is still one of the most requested "50s" songs and has the perfect tempo for a little swing dancing. Morse Code of Love seems like a forgotten oldie from the 1950s, but technically it really isn't! Morse Code of Love stands as an inspiration to anyone that ever had a good idea when they were in their 20s, got distracted for 20 years, and dusted it off and put it to excellent use.
As a bonus track, check out the Emburys, a New Jersey Doo Wop group, cover Morse Code a capella. It is a little rough and they left out the falsetto lead-in, but the bass is amazing. Don't you wish your father or grandfather could sing like that? Don't you wish you were from the Garden State?
Starman by David Bowie
Turn on your radio and listen to a message from space, and let all the children boogie! David Bowie died January 10, 2016, after a storied career spanning six decades, marked by messages of anti-racism, anti-facism, and gender bending. Describing himself as a bisexual in 1972, he proved that sexual orientation is not a career roadblock: he went on to sell 140 million albums. Bowie turned down a knighthood in 2003 because he thought it was pointless. Bowie later stated "I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for."
Didn't know what time it was and the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin' down some rock 'n' roll 'lotta soul, he said
Then the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren't no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie
Radio Radio by Elvis Costello and The Attractions
It does not get any better than Elvis back in 1978. Justin Bieber can outsell both Elvises, but ask yourself: where is Macaulay Culkin these days?
Radio Radio is a protest song about commercialization of radio broadcasting. Costello is Irish, which gives him special protest powers. Twenty five years later, the situation is much worse than Costello could have imagined. He was banned from Saturday Night Live for playing this song in December 1977, during the time that Saturday Night Fever's playlist was pushed up the charts. The Bee Gee's Night Fever held the top slot on Billboard top 40 for four weeks starting in February 1978, although it is an equally great song, Radio Radio failed to chart. Critical thinking exercise: why could that be? Finally, consider this, Grasshopper.... Radio Radio was recorded on the Radar Record indie label. Columbia Records of course wouldn't touch it. Happy Saint Paddy's Day!
.. you'd better do as you are told, you'd better listen to the radio....
FM- No Static at All by Steely Dan
This won a Grammy in 1979 for best engineered track. No static at all, Edwin Armstrong should be proud of this tribute to his achievement.
Nothin on but the Radio by Gary Allen
A country song about nudity.
Radio Nowhere by Bruce Springsteen
A further lamentation on the state of radio, circa 2007. Bruce sure pulls in the fifty/one-fifty (age/weight) Jersey girls! Nice hair plugs, but that is not the way to channel Pete Seeger.
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