Day 123, Song 143

Elvis Costello

Radio Radio

Elvis Costello's latest album is Wise Up Ghost, with the Roots.

Released in 1978, this song was written in protest of the commercialization and censorship of the radio industry. The song became popular in the U.S. after Costello performed it live on SNL. Costello began the performance by playing 'Less than Zero,' one of his more established songs and the song his label wanted him to play, but after the first few chords, he told his band to stop. 'I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen,' he said, 'there's no reason to do this song here.' He then launched into 'Radio Radio.' SNL was furious and banned Costello from the show. The ban was lifted in 1989, making Costello one of only three people to have their SNL ban repealed.


I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial doing anything my radio advised with every one of those late night stations playing songs bringing tears to me eyes I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver when the switch broke 'cause it's old They're saying things that I can hardly believe. They really think we're getting out of control. [Chorus:] Radio is a sound salvation Radio is cleaning up the nation They say you better listen to the voice of reason But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason. So you had better do as you are told. You better listen to the radio. I wanna bite the hand that feeds me. I wanna bite that hand so badly. I want to make them wish they'd never seen me. Some of my friends sit around every evening and they worry about the times ahead But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference and the promise of an early bed You either shut up or get cut up; they don't wanna hear about it. It's only inches on the reel-to-reel. And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel [Chorus] Wonderful radio Marvelous radio Wonderful radio Radio, radio...