Parents, listen to what your children are saying. Do not miss even the seemingly meaningless babble of babies. Sometimes their funny statements make you look at routine events differently, and often their funny conclusions encourage you to create.
Something similar happened to Roger Taylor of Queen. The innocent babble of the son suggested to him the idea of a song that became one of the mega hits of the cult rock band.
The history of the creation of the song Radio Ga Ga
Once in Los Angeles, Roger Taylor spent time in the company of his son, listening to music on the radio along the way. The guy did not like the compositions that sounded on the air, and he said: “Radio ka-ka.”
Hearing the phrase, Roger closed himself in a room with a synthesizer and a drum machine. The simple expression inspired him to write the track, which at first was called: Radio Ca Ca.
Taylor worked on the song for three days and was going to include it in a solo album, but the song was heard by colleagues from Queen, who liked it. While Roger was skiing, John Deacon composed the bass line, while Freddie Mercury restructured the piece, edited the lyrics and handled the arrangement.
Radio Ga Ga was recorded by Queen in August–October 1983 at Record Plant Studios.
Meaning of Radio Ga Ga
What is the composition about? It’s believed that the main idea of the track is a criticism of the total commercialization of modern music. The author was especially concerned about the growing popularity of MTV, which threatened the future of radio stations.
Listen to Roger Taylor:
Part of the song is about that. About what they [видеоклипы]seem to take over the auditory component, and the visual component seems to become even more important.
Breakfast Time 1984
Speaking about the history of the track, Freddie Mercury also explained what the Radio Ga Ga song is about:
Roger had an idea for a very good melodic content, and to be honest, it used to be called Radio Ca Ca. Initially, it was about the fact that the radio is too old, something like that. I just said, “I think you should change the content of the text.” In fact, we have redone everything. I mean, Radio Ga Ga is good, but Radio Ca Ca… What we really meant to say is that video is trying to take over, what will radio be then?
So it was Mercury and the rest of Queen who convinced Taylor to change his name.
The lyrics of the song Radio Ga Ga contain references to famous historical events. Read the explanation below.
Release and achievements
On January 23, 1984, the song Radio Ga Ga was released as a single from the album The Works. The single was released in the US on February 7th. Radio Ga Ga was later included on the Greatest Hits II and Classic Queen compilations.
Many critics took it with hostility. NME magazine called the track “ugly nonsense.” The public, however, perceived the composition much warmer. Radio Ga Ga became an international hit, topping the charts in Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and other countries. It peaked at number two on the UK chart and peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100.
Beginning in 1984, Queen performed it at every concert during Freddie Mercury’s lifetime. Particularly memorable was the performance at the Live Aid festival in 1985, when the audience began to clap in unison to the beat of the song.
Brian May recalled the event:
I thought, “Oh great, they got her.” And then I thought, “This is not a Queen audience.” This is a general audience that bought tickets even before it became known that we were on the list of participants. And they all did it. How did they know? Nobody told them to do it.
At the Freddie Mercury Memorial Concert held at Wembley Stadium on April 20, 1992, Paul Young performed the song Radio Ga Ga with Queen.
At the Party at the Palace concert, Roger Taylor sang the Radio Ga Ga song with Phil Collins on drums.
Queen also played Radio Ga Ga live with lead singer Adam Lambert.
Clip Radio Ga Ga – Queen
The music video was directed by David Mallet. Filming took place at London’s Carlton TV Studios and Shepperton Studios.
The video uses footage from the silent science fiction film Metropolis, which was created by German filmmaker Fritz Lang in 1927. Dystopia tells about the city of the future, divided into heaven and hell. Above, the rich live, enjoying a luxurious life, and below, poor workers are exhausted from hard labor.
The idea for “Metropolis” was suggested by Freddie Mercury, but Mallett insisted that the musicians play a major role in the video:
We built this funny car, sent them flying, and used a lot of Metropolis clips… I tried to find a way to fit Metropolis into a different environment. I thought what if we make the whole video some era – for example, wartime, or paramilitary. It would bring everything together. So I did.
Roger Taylor told how he managed to negotiate with the copyright holder:
Giorgio Moroder bought the copyright for the Metropolis movie and wanted us to compose a song for it. We wrote a song and gave it to him in exchange for the right to use some of the footage from the film.
It is known that the group also had to pay the government of the GDR.
In the music video for Radio Ga Ga, when the chorus plays, the band members tap the rhythm by clapping their hands. Critics saw this as a reference to the Nazi movement. Roger Taylor hastened to reassure them:
In fact, it has nothing to do with Nazi gatherings. This passage was supposed to show how the minds of workers are controlled in the film Metropolis.
The reception was liked by the fans, who began to do the same at concerts.
It remains to watch the video clip of Radio Ga Ga by Queen.
The clip of Radio Ga Ga was popular on all music channels. In 1984, he was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award.
Radio Ga Ga cover versions
British actress and singer Elaine Paige recorded Radio Ga Ga for The Queen Album (1988), which included her cover versions of the band’s songs.
In 2004 Radio Ga Ga was released by Electric Six. With this track, he protested against the pressure exerted on them by the record company. In the video clip, Dick Valentine appears as the ghost of Freddie Mercury, dancing near the grave of the Queen leader.
The plot of the clip was not liked by many music lovers. Dick tried to calm them down:
Although some people claim that in the video I’m dancing on the grave of Freddie Mercury, in fact, we are resurrecting Mr. Mercury throughout the song, and his grave is a logical starting point.
Let’s watch the clip Radio Ga Ga – Electric Six.
- On the bootlegs, you can hear that John Deacon sang backing vocals at Radio Ga Ga. This is one of the rare occasions when he sang in concert.
- This and several other Queen songs were performed in Maurice Béjart’s The Priest’s House.
- Lady Gaga claims that she chose her pseudonym in honor of the song Radio Ga Ga, as she is crazy about the work of the rock band Queen.
Radio Ga Ga Lyrics
I’d sit alone and watch your light
My only friend through teenage nights
And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio
You gave them all those old time stars
Through wars of worlds invaded by Mars
You made ’em laugh, you made ’em cry
You made us feel like we could fly
So don’t become some background noise
A backdrop for the girls and boys
Who just don’t know or just don’t care
And just complain when you’re not there
You had your time, you had the power
You’ve yet to have your finest hour
All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio goo goo
Radio ga ga
All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio blah blah
Radio, what’s new?
Radio, someone still loves you
We watch the shows, we watch the stars
On videos for hours and hours
We hardly need to use our ears
How music changes through the years
Let’s hope you never leave, old friend
Like all good things, on you we depend
So stick around ’cause we might miss you
When we grow tired of all this visual
Had your time, you had the power
You’ve yet to have your finest hour
Author: Roger Taylor
Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management