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31 songs about radio: a Spotify playlist

Over the last two years, Paul Riismandel, Jennifer Waits, Helen Yamamoto, and I have posted various mentions and lists of popular songs about radio (PaulJennifer, Jennifer, Helen, and me). Many of you wrote in with your own personal favorites. After noting one of Spotify’s best features—letting subscribers publish playlists on the web via embedded HTML—I thought I would do just that with these selections. To wit:

If you have a Spotify account, you can log in and listen to these selections right here. They are, in no particular order:

  1. “Radio, Radio” – Elvis Costello
  2. “On the Radio” – Donna Summer
  3. “Roadrunner” – Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers
  4. “Roadrunner” – cover by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  5. “This is Radio Clash” – The Clash
  6. “I Love My Radio” – Taffy
  7. “The Last DJ” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  8. “Left Of the Dial” – The Replacements
  9. “Listening to Levon” – Marc Cohn
  10. “The Spirit of Radio” – Rush
  11. “Mexican Radio” – Wall of Voodoo
  12. “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?” – Ramones
  13. “Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life” – Indeep
  14. “Heard It on the X” – ZZ Top
  15. “Guerilla Radio” – Rage Against the Machine
  16. “FM” – Steely Dan
  17. “Pirate Radio” – Mojo Nixon
  18. “Radio” – Alkaline Trio
  19. “Video Killed the Radio Star” – The Buggles
  20. “Liberation Frequency” – The Refused
  21. “American Hi-Fi” – Hi-Fi Killer
  22. “Cold War Transmissions” – Anberlin
  23. “Static on the Radio” – Chronic Future
  24. “Aqueous Transmission” – Incubus
  25. “Boombox Generation” – Motion City Soundtrack
  26. “God is on The Radio” – Queens of the Stone Age
  27. “Tum Up The Stereo” – Useless ID
  28. “Modern Industry” – Fishbone
  29. “Radio” – Beyoncé
  30. “That’s Why God Made the Radio” – The Beach Boys
  31. “Who Stole My Radio?” – Shemekia Copeland

A few tunes did not make this list because Spotify doesn’t appear to have them. If you have further suggestions or reactions, the comment box is below. Please add your favorites!

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19 Responses to 31 songs about radio: a Spotify playlist

  1. Brett Johnson September 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    one that was missed – Journey’s Raised on Radio!

  2. Steve September 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Joy Division – Transmission

  3. Gonzo September 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Springsteen-Radio Nowhere

    Clash-Capital Radio

    Ramones-We Want the Airwaves

    Kraftwerk-Radio Activity

    Regina Spektor-On the Radio

    And two of my favorite love songs to radio:

    The Buggles-Video Killed the Radio Star

    Queen-Radio Ga Ga

  4. Lucas McCallister September 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Steely Dan also did “King of the World” which I suppose is a bit about radio.

    “Sound System” by Operation Ivy could technically count, but it’s a bit of a stretch.

    Shoot, I thought I had more, but most of the ones I can think of are more about the music industry in general.

  5. Lucas McCallister September 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Oh: Radio Free Europe and Radio Song by REM.

  6. John Anderson September 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm #


    Anti-Flag, “Underground Network”

    Carol Denney, “Set Your Radio Free”

    Cheap Sex, “Raped By The FCC”

    Countdown and the Blastoffs, “Airwaves”

    David Rovics, “Seize The Airwaves”

    The Gods Hate Kansas, “Never Start A Sentence With, ‘My Old Rap Metal Band'”

    Gun Street Radio: “Radio Caroline”

    Hot Water Music: “Free Radio Gainesville”

    Jiker, “Pirate Radio”

    John Hiatt, “Pirate Radio”

    Molotov Cocktail, “FCC”

    Pauline Black with Sunday Best, “Pirate on the Airwaves”

    Popman with The Disciples, “Pirate”

    The Ray Gradys, “Pirate Radio”

    Shabba Ranks, “Pirates’ Anthem”

    The Smugglers, “Pirate Ships”

    Spearhead, “Listener Supported”

    Super Seed, “Pirate Radio”

    The Toasters, “Pirate Radio”

    Transfixr, “No Radio God”

    U.K. Subs, “Rebel Radio”

    Utah Phillips, “NPR Talkin’ Blues”

    These and others can be found at

  7. Betty September 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    “Are you out there?” Dar Williams – she says it’s about Pacifica radio

  8. Greg Blouch September 19, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Joe Jackson – On Your Radio

    Latin Quarter – Radio Africa

    Roxy Music – Oh Yeah

    Tom Robinson – Atmospherics (Listen to the Radio)

    Nina Hagen – Universelles Radio

    Hall & Oates – Portable Radio

    M+M – Black Stations White Stations

    Woodhead Munro – Mumbo Jumbo

    Teenage Fanclub – Radio

    Wonder Stuff – Radio Ass Kiss

    The Selecter – On My Radio

    Thompson – Isolation Radio

    Negativland – The Perfect Cut (Rooty Poops)

    Joe Walsh – The Radio Song

    Harry Chapin – W*O*L*D

  9. Erin Yanke September 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Tranzmittors – Look What You’re Doing

  10. Deadwood Dick September 26, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Don Bowman – Hello DJ

    Bill Anderson – Country DJ

    Numerous Artists – Turn Your Radio On

    L.C. Smith, Ralph Mayo & The Southern Mountain Boys – Radio Boogie

    The Blasters – Border Radio

    Warren Zevon – Mohammed’s Radio

    Neil Young – Payola Blues

    Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On (I’m A Radio)

  11. Curmudge October 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Modern Music-Be Bop Deluxe

  12. m.c. April 11, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    great list!

    “I Swear” by Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside
    “A.M. Radio” by Everclear

  13. Chester Morrison December 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me on I’m a Radio

  14. Chester Morrison December 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Missed Deadwood Dick’s entry of the Joni Mitchell tune.

    How about Al Stewart – Song on the Radio

  15. David Morreale February 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Raised on The Radio was not Journey… It was The Ravyns. Baltimore Represents!

  16. Vince Whirlwind March 8, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    The Apology Line – Ben Vaughn or Barrence Whitfield

    Midnight Radio – Katy Moffatt

  17. zap April 15, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    Charlie Dore – Pilot of the Airwaves (1979)

    ZZ Top – Heard it on the X (1980)

    Josh Woodward – Border Blaster

  18. Carsos March 12, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    Clock Radio – Action Figure Party
    Turn Up The Radio – Autograph
    Radio – Big & Rich
    Midnight Radio – Big Head Todd & the Monsters
    Border Radio – the Blasters
    Radio Sweetheart – Carlene Carter
    Radio Heart – Charly McClain
    Dust Radio – Chris Whitley
    Riot Radio – the Dead 60’s
    Heartbreak Radio – Delbert McClinton
    The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) – the Doors
    Radio Bar – Fountains of Wayne
    Nothing On But The Radio – Gary Allan
    Stay Out All Night (Radio Slave) – Josh Wink
    several by Kraftwerk: Airwaves
    Radio Stars
    Midnight Radio – Mary Beth Maziarz
    I bet you they won’t play this song on the radio – Monty Python
    Radio Friendly Unit Shifter – Nirvana
    Radios in Heaven – Plain White T’s
    Radio Free Europe – R.E.M.
    Radio Song – R.E.M.
    The Spirit Of Radio – Rush
    Magenta Radio – Rusted Root
    My Radio – Solvent
    Heartbeat Radio – Sondre Lerche
    Who Listens To Radio? – Stan Freberg (among several others)
    Arabic Tremolo Radio – the Violet Burning
    Radio Cure – Wilco

  19. Scott Vawter October 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    John Denver—Late Night Radio
    U.F.O. Phil—Listening To Coast To Coast

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