INTERESTING STUFF – 3 MAY 2019
High Rates of Suicide Among Elders

ELDER MUSIC: Turn Your Radio On

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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I imagine that just about everyone reading this gained their initial musical knowledge mainly from the radio. That is certainly so for me as, when I was growing up, I lived in a small country town 400 kilometres from the big smoke (actually, in those days, it was 250 miles from the big smoke), so it was from the radio that music emerged and found a safe harbor in my ears.

When we came to the big smoke (Melbourne) I found that radio station 3KZ had probably the best DJ in the world - Stan Rofe. Stan always played the authentic versions of songs; he eschewed the bland cover versions that pretty much everyone else played back then. He was also a great champion of Australian music. Thus I learned from the best. Here are songs about the radio.

For those who remember President Ike, which is probably everyone reading this, here is MARK DINNING.

Mark Dinning

Not just Ike, but all the references mentioned would be enough for those with a certain type of memory to be able to date the song pretty precisely. It’s the way radio was back then, consisting of Top 40, News, Weather and Sport.

♫ Mark Dinning - Top 40 News Weather And Sport


WARREN ZEVON gives us a bit darker view of things, but then that’s generally what he did.

Warren Zevon

I imagine that Warren’s song wouldn’t get any airplay these days on certain stations, particularly those that are associated with Fox, only because of its title. His subversive song is called Mohammed's Radio.

♫ Warren Zevon - Mohammed's Radio


JOHN HARTFORD gets uncharacteristically gospelly with his contribution.

John Hartford

He suggests that you Turn Your Radio On. That’s a good idea if you want to listen to it, although these days it might not be such a good idea. Not like in our day. Oh dear, I’m turning into a grumpy old man.

♫ John Hartford - Turn Your Radio On


There’s another way to be turned on as JONI MITCHELL will explain.

Joni Mitchell

I wouldn’t dare suggest that illegal substances were involved in You Turn Me On I'm a Radio. I’ll let you make up your own mind.

♫ Joni Mitchell - You Turn Me On I'm a Radio


Back in 1994 DAVE ALVIN recorded an acoustic album called “King of California”.

Dave Alvin

This was the first of several albums of his that really demonstrated his songwriting, singing and musical abilities. This one and the several that followed are all worth a listen. Besides, he has one of the finest voices in the alt-country genre.

From the aforementioned album, Dave performs Border Radio.

♫ Dave Alvin - Border Radio


Getting back to when radio was king we find FREDDY CANNON.

Freddy Cannon

Back then, a lot of the time we listened to the radio on transistor radios. Freddy did the same apparently, or at least his sister did as he will recount on Transistor Sister.

♫ Freddy Cannon - Transistor Sister


It seems that JOHN DENVER was the same as most of us in one respect.

John Denver

That is, he knew the songs but many of the words were a mystery to him. I think that this is pretty universal. He tells us all about it in Late Nite Radio.

♫ John Denver - Late Nite Radio


From the eighties, a decade from which I include very few songs in my columns, we have QUEEN.

Queen

They were one of the few bright musical spots from around that time, however, even this song sounds very much of its time – drum machines, synthesizers and so on. I don’t know why they did that as they were all fine musicians. Anyway, this is Radio Ga Ga.

♫ Queen - Radio Ga Ga


DAVID ALLAN COE really knows how to take revenge on the gal what dun ‘im wrong.

David Allan Coe

Not just that but he will make some money out of the deal as well. I guess if you’re going to break up with someone, earning a bit of loose scratch from the exercise seems like a good thing. Okay, perhaps not. Anyway, David sings I'm Gonna Hurt Her on the Radio.

♫ David Allan Coe - I'm Gonna Hurt Her On The Radio


Turn up your radio, sings VAN MORRISON. Of course, you should have done that by now.

Van Morrison

From his superb album “Moondance”, one of the finest ever recorded, we have Caravan. Nothing else needs to be said.

♫ Van Morrison - Caravan



Comments

Oh! The last song on your list "Turn The Radio On" hit me right in the gut and bounced off my heart! I remember hearing this over and over again on my favorite radio station as a child, WMMN in Fairmont, WV! It was really popular in West Virginia in the late 1930s when it was written by Albert E. Brumley. And it's still popular on the classic country music radio stations to this day as far as I can tell! I remember versions by Merle Haggert, the Statler Brothers, Ray Stevens, and many more.

Other memories include: My Tears Have Washed I love You From the Blackboard of My Heart, I Won't Never Be A Miner Cause I'm Afraid Of The Mine a'Falling In, and several other equally 'classic' (but unlike the above Turn The Radio On) highly forgettable outputs of that radio station!!

But seriously, I would like to thank you so much for this column and your dedication to bringing this to us! Many of us really appreciate your efforts.

Wow, hearing John Denver on your column was a big treat for me! "Dutch", as he was known then, and I were students at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, in the sixties. He won the Raider Rambles Talent Show two straight years before he left for California to join the Christie Minstrels. In fact, my soon to be husband competed against him with a trio name The Logrhythms. Fun history. Also, I did a search of your archives and found "I Remember You" by Frank Ifield, my favorite song from 1962! What a talent he was! I love following your column, Peter. Thank you.

I grew up in New York City and had my choice of great radio stations ,and great DJ's to listen to. Guy's like Murry the "K", Harry Harrison and William B. Williams were gods who could make or break a record. I also remember the "payola" scandal that cast a dark shadow over the music business.

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