Monday, February 22, 2010

Radio Ga Ga by Queen

In 1985, during the legendary Live Aid fundraiser concert, at Wembley stadium Queen reminded the world why they were one of the greatest bands in rock music. Now if all you know if Queen in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the hilarious sing along scene from Wayne’s World you are in for a surprise.

Freddy Mercury standing in front of a sea of people all clapping in unison and singing along to the chorus of “Radio Ga Ga” is one of the most amazing moments captured in Live Aid. Then there is the amazing improvised vocalization game at the end of the song that reminds us that unlike many other lead singers of rock band, Mercury can really sing. I get chills seeing it on a, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like live.

Roger Taylor, Queen's drummer wrote “Radio Ga Ga” contemplating the transition from radio to music videos and the decline of diversity in radio programming. To a whole generation of musicians, the radio was the only gateway to the musical world and this song is a tribute to the power and memory of that experience.

“Radio Ga Ga” is about being nostalgic but it’s also a commentary on what it means to experience music. How different is music when you do not have visual superimposed on songs? What is it like to sit in front of a radio and just listen? Y'know, I’ve never done that. More often than not I’m listening to music when I’m around the house or in the car. It’s hardly every simply just listening to a song, but when I do it is different.

Is there a time when we will get sick of the constant vision as Queen wonders? Well, we kind of have. Music videos are no longer as central as they used to be. Once upon a time artist premiered music videos during prime time on network television. That’s just not case anymore.

When Freddie Mercury sings at the end of each chorus “someone still love you,” he’s speaking to people who feel left behind, who feel outdated, people who feel like they don’t matter. We all have these moments in life when we feel this way in life and hearing this reassuring voice brings us hope. We don’t need to know in our lives that everyone loves us, just one person and that makes all of the difference.

Just because something is old or outdated doesn’t mean that looses its meaning. Most of the games I play on my Wii areVitual Console titles, which are games from previous systems like Megan Man II. Some people still have traditional tube televisions and VCRs and don’t mind that the picture isn’t as sharp and the sound isn’t as clear. Just because a song is over twenty years old doesn’t mean that it’s not important, that it’s not relevant. People still love that stuff.

Even though you've passed on Freddie and you're music is from a generation ago, someone still loves you. I still love you.


  1. I was researching Clapton's 'I've Got a Rock and Roll Heart' and ran across your wonderful blog. I really identify with how you feel about and describe these songs. Bravo.

  2. Love the post. As someone who once worked in radio, I've always had a sentimental attachment to this song.