"Video Killed the Radio Star" as written by Geoffrey Downes, Trevor Charles Horn and Bruce Woolley....
I heard you on the wireless back in fifty two
Lying awake intent at tuning in on you
If I was young it didn't stop you coming through
Oh a oh

They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine on new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see
Oh a oh

I met your children
Oh a oh

What did you tell them?
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star

Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh, a, a, a, oh

And now we meet in an abandoned studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the jingles used to go
Oh-a oh

You were the first one
Oh-a oh

You were the last one

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car, we can't rewind we've gone to far
Oh-a-aho oh
Oh-a-aho oh

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car, we can't rewind we've gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart
Put down the blame on VCR

Oh, you are a radio star
You are a radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star


Lyrics submitted by Boonechic_21

"Video Killed the Radio Star" as written by Trevor Charles Horn Geoffrey Downes

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, CARLIN AMERICA INC, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Video Killed the Radio Star song meanings
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52 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentLong before TV, there were shows on the radio. Radio stars were like TV stars are today. The concept of the "Radio Star" actually exisisted well into the 50s. Video (TV) killed the Radio Star because as TV got more popular, there were fewer and fewer radio shows until there were none.

    The guys who wrote this song would have been old enough to have been little boys when radios shows died out and TV took over.

    It is a supreme irony that this song was the first song played on MTV

    BTW: VTR stands for Video Tape Recorder
    Jobimfanon August 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwell the music industry may be dying but music never will.

    the part of the song that particularly sticks out for me is "rewritten by machine a new technology"......artists these days dont even write thier own music or play their own instruments....they let machines do everything and it takes the heart out of all the music. its really sad. people worship shit these days........we neeed to start listening to good music like this again.
    spacepirateon December 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song was inspired by a Science Fiction shot story called The Sound Sweep. The story is about a distopia where all music has been outlawed and a man whose job is the sound sweep and sweeps up all the sound. The sound sweep finds an opera singer in the sewer singing his heart out.

    The part at the end of the song that goes "You are a radio star" in my opinion represents that opera singer.

    The male vocals would be the listener of the radio

    The female vocals represent the future of televison and is more flashier.

    The male vocals are also very simple and sounds like it has too much treble while the female vocals are clear and have a more pop sound.

    This songs is one of my favorites and is one of those songs that has always touched me.

    Elstree which is one of the songs on the same album "living in the plastic age" has a wonderful line that ties into this song. "Life is not what it use to be."

    It's a very bittersweet song that is nostalgic and sad.
    Feedback88on March 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMany people don't realize how talented this group was. Alot of people thought it was just a typical pop band, but a couple of the members were in classic bands. Both Trevor Horn and Geoff Downs were members of YES and Geoff Downs was also a member of the supergroup ASIA. This was more or less a side project that happened to get popular. The song was already a couple years old when it premiered on MTV. I first saw it on HBO in 1979 and thought is was great. HBO used to show videos in between movies back then and they played it many times. The video has been converted to film since then and has lost part of its quality. Another song that the Buggles released was "I AM A Camera" which Trevor Horn redid when he performed with YES and changed the title to "Into The Lens". In fact, he performed the song "Video Killed The Radio Star" live a few times during the 1980 Yes Drama tour.

    As for the song itself, as many have said above, it is about how the new form of videos were changing the music scene. T the time of the song's release, 1979, videos were looked upon as just a fad. Many older performers refused to submit to the new format, Bruce Springstien being one, because they thought it would diminish their artistic integrity. I also think that the song reflects the changing technology that many people feared. Computer games were begining to be the rage and home computers were beginning to be household words. I think this song reflects all of that.
    Scifiboy2002on May 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm surprised at how shallow are the interpretations here: all the deduction is done by reading only the title.

    What about 'I met your children/What did you tell them?' and 'In my mind and in my car'? Specially when relating those to the title? Is this just a love story or is there some deeper meaning?

    Maybe the gist is: a guy meets a diving-into-oblivion radio star he worshiped when younger and they have an affair. But still this explains very little, being only a over-viewing outline.
    kekon October 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningVideo = Television
    Radio Star = Edwin Howard Armstrong, inventor of FM radio.

    RCA controlled AM radio and would not support FM radio. RCA claimed to invent FM radio, preventing others from developing and used resources to finance television, not FM radio stations.

    Armstrong committed suicide in 1954 frustrated, broke and beaten down fighting RCA over legal rights to FM radio. The president of RCA was quoted as saying "I didn't kill Armstrong" or some words meaning the same.

    At least that's what I've always understood the song to be about.

    Look it up. It's obviously not about music videos. The song was written before MTV existed.
    trollmongeron September 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationVideo Killed The Radio Star much like Queens Radio GaGa is a play on the fact that more and more people are turning from the Marconi to the telly. If you will recall the line "They took the credit for your second symphony.
    Rewritten by machine on new technology,
    And now I understand the problems you can see." Quite simply they are pointing out that the digital age was coming in and doing away with the analog dialect. In this line "And now we meet in an abandoned studio.
    We hear the playback and it seems so long ago." In this context the abandoned studio would be an outdated media player e.g. an 8 track or a vinyl record and it seems so long ago would refer to it sounding vindicated. much like watching a movie on a VCR after years of blue-ray and yet to this day how many of you, of us, still have a stack of LP's? the point of this song is simple, it is pointing out what we see everyday without even noticing how quickly something becomes obsolete when at one time it didn't. What I find ironic about this song is the fact that it was the first song featured on MTV when it premiered funny isn't it, a song about the death of one media displayed on the birth of another...
    And on that bombshell I shall end goodnight!
    JeremyClarksonon January 14, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song means that music videos made people stop listening to the radio
    punkrockron June 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti really like this song, but im not sure i agree with the meaning though. ppl still listen to the radio.
    no_added_msg85on August 04, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis means that now you don't necessarily have to have musical talent as long as you look good.
    oakraid25on October 13, 2002   Link

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