Queen – “Radio Ga Ga” (3. analysis)

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                                                   📻 “Radio Ga Ga”

Verse 1

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 them laugh, you made them cry
You made us feel like we could fly (radio)

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

The singer reflects on this amazing medium that would keep him company. He recalls that much of his youth was spent with the radio to keep him company. He used to sit in his car at night and stare at the light on the device while listening to it. He was a lonely teenager and all he knew about music and the world came from the radio. He would receive inspiration and comfort from many “old time stars” and vivid stories such as ‘The War of the Worlds.’ (an episode of an American radio drama anthology based on a Martian invasion on Earth. This episode is well known for causing mass hysteria because, despite the fact that they warned ahead of time it was all fake, listeners actually were afraid of being invaded by the Martians)

All these programmes gave him different emotions: they made him laugh and cry, and feel like he could fly to different places.
Finally, the singer hopes the radio will not just fade out of existence, completely replaced by television. It must not become just a ‘background noise’, an unimportant sound, existing yet ignored.

Pre-chorus

You had your time, you had the power
You’ve yet to have your finest hour
Radio (Radio)

The singer says that the radio is becoming obsolete: it has already had its peak and the power to influence and entertain, which is diminishing now (because of the spreading of television). Nevertheless, the radio can still have its “finest hour” (taken from Winston Churchill’s 18 June 1940 “This was their finest hour” speech from the House of Commons)

Chorus

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

At present, what we hear on the radio is bland and simple (the original “radio caca” uttered by Roger Taylor’s son), and the content of its programmes is no longer high quality. Due to the heavy commercialization, the radio has lost its importance to promote good music and imagination, it has just become a constant repetition of ‘ga ga’s and ‘goo goo’s tunes, and never plays anything new anymore
However, we still love it.

Verse 2

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 cos we might miss you
When we grow tired of all this visual

The second verse explains why people are not interested in listening to the radio but in watching television: they prefer to watch the shows and the stars on television, rather than just listen to them. However, the visual accompaniment may prevent viewers from concentrating on the song. Moreover, the singer wonders how music has changed through the years to be suitable to be broadcast on TV with a music video.

Then he invites the radio non to become useless or fade away, but to “stick around”. People will get tired of all these visuals someday and will go back to the good old radio.

20 thoughts on “Queen – “Radio Ga Ga” (3. analysis)

  1. I think many cultures have gradually shifted from active brain interactions with the arts to passive forms. Reading uses more brains than any form of visual storytelling because you must envision the scenes. Listening to pop music is fine, but the labels and industry dictate the forms based on sales or palatability. What if one is so bored that one actually is challenged to pick up and instrument and play rather than consume what’s offered? I’m currently challenging myself to eliminate the time I spend in passivity, and choosing to participate. Thanks for excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

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