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!