78. Radio Memories

 

Some years ago a country singer named Lionel Cartwright had a hit with a record titled, “I Watched it All on My Radio“. It struck a nerve with me because the world came to me via my AM radio when I was a boy.

I can still see that AM Radio, a General Electric Superheterodyne AM Clock Radio (Model 1400A). A white case, black face, silver clock dial and tick marks on the tuning dial.  On the right side were two large knobs; one for changing the station and the other for volume (George Carlin mentioned these once or twice).  That radio, a gift from my Grandpa, brought so much of the world to me.  I could was poetic about that GE radio for hours.  It was traveling shoes without leaving home or sore toes, is what it was.

I also had a transistor radio.  A Radio Shack “Flavoradio” (you can’t make this stuff up), in Lemon (or Yellow…) and no, it didn’t smell.  The vinyl strap broke, but the radio worked for a long, long time.  It went places with me, along with one of those old single ear phones that sounded like a telephone underwater.

AM Radio, in the days when Top 40 was a hodge podge of musical genres.  Bubble gum pop to Elton John rock, to the Isley Brothers to KC and the Sunshine Band to Sweet to Paul McCartney to Ringo to One Hit Wonders and DJ’s acting silly.  We’d all wait for our favorite song to play on the AM Radio, AM Radio…

As much as I love Cartwright’s nostalgic song, Everclear kicked it up a notch by giving it a serious beat and took it out of the bedroom under the covers and out into the neighborhood  This song struck me when I first heard it.  I’d lived that song.  It was a song I knew before I heard it, I wrote it by living it but Art Alexakis put words to my memories, my life, and others my age. Even if I was a midwest kid; even if we was a Left Coast kid, it was a communal thing. It was an ode, an homage, a lesson, a love letter, all wrapped up into one musical package and sealed with a sigh for things that were and never will be again.

Enjoy!  Thanks for Listening!

9 thoughts on “78. Radio Memories

  1. oh man.  you reminded me.  am radio was indeed the hodgepodge you mention, but fm radio was the stuff of the revolution.  lol!  i lived in a university town, and fm was the place to hear entire albums and all the not top 40 stuff – i remember listening to led zeppelin’s 1st album with a transistor radio to my ear, under the covers at night.
    and of course, baseball games.  and football games.  that, thankfully, still exists, but the other?  not around where i live now.  fm is all top 40, npr is all talk, and am is all talk when it’s not sports.  
    terrific post – now i am all nostalgic, but in a good way.

    • smithkaichjones In some respects, I think AM Radio was emblematic of the hodge podge of our Culture…
      Back in those days, when FM stations did things like that, FM really stood for “Forget Money” as they had the devils own time selling commercials.

      • strattonm truth.  but it also feels like . . . you know, vogue magazine deciding punk was cool, mtv deciding to show shows instead of music.  i can’t find the words.  it’s like the people who worked at those fm stations grew up all the way and went to work elsewhere and brought hip stuff into the mainstream. and now it’s all boring and everyday.  
        :)  what a screwy piece of writing on my end.  it’s still too early for me.

        • smithkaichjones No, I get what you’re saying.  There is a delicious feeling of enjoying something that the majority of people don’t know anything about and when they do, it’s not quite as special because it’s not “yours” anymore.  I totally get it…
          Have a coffee on me!

        • smithkaichjones No, I get what you’re saying.  There is a delicious feeling of enjoying something that the majority of people don’t know anything about and when they do, it’s not quite as special because it’s not “yours” anymore.  I totally get it…
          Have a coffee on me!

    • smithkaichjones In some respects, I think AM Radio was emblematic of the hodge podge of our Culture…
      Back in those days, when FM stations did things like that, FM really stood for “Forget Money” as they had the devils own time selling commercials.

  2. oh man.  you reminded me.  am radio was indeed the hodgepodge you mention, but fm radio was the stuff of the revolution.  lol!  i lived in a university town, and fm was the place to hear entire albums and all the not top 40 stuff – i remember listening to led zeppelin’s 1st album with a transistor radio to my ear, under the covers at night.
    and of course, baseball games.  and football games.  that, thankfully, still exists, but the other?  not around where i live now.  fm is all top 40, npr is all talk, and am is all talk when it’s not sports.  
    terrific post – now i am all nostalgic, but in a good way.

  3. Love it, Mark. Like you, I remember when AM music played all genres, and to this day my taste in music is eclectic. My MP3 player has all the artists you mentioned! Thanks for sharing and evoking such fond memories.

    • sweepyjean I’m so glad you stopped by.  This series has been a real hoot to craft and share.  My iPod has all of those and more; my music tastes are all over the place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>