Begin the day
With a friendly voice
A companion, unobtrusive
Plays that song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood

Off on your way
Hit the open road
There is magic at your fingers
For the spirit ever lingers
Undemanding contact
In your happy solitude

Invisible airwaves
Crackle with life
Bright antennae bristle
With the energy
Emotional feedback
On a timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price,
Almost free

All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It's really just a question
Of your honesty

One likes to believe
In the freedom of music
But glittering prizes
And endless compromises
Shatter the illusion
Of integrity

For the words of the profits
Are written on the studio wall,
Concert hall,
Echoes with the sounds, of salesmen



Lyrics submitted by shed27

"The Spirit of Radio" as written by Seung Hwan Lee, Ji Eun Lee

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Spirit Of Radio song meanings
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45 Comments

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  • +3
    My Interpretation:One year I saw Rush in concert, the baseball teams were on strike.

    They changed the lyrics in the song to "One likes to believe in the spirit of baseball."

    The song is about the conflict between artistic passions and marketability.
    NightMgron September 25, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning:I always thought this song was specifically about the magic that radio can be, and should be. But it's also a lament over the commercialization that leads to cookie-cutter formats, and soulless corporate suits who care only about the bottom line.

    Radio is meant to be personal, and can indeed be a friend...a "companion unobtrusive." But the song, in its brilliant prescience, foretells corporate ownership, consolidation, and the move away from local and personal focus.

    I think the line about "all this machinery making modern music" just refers to the technical, physical equipment necessary to broadcast a radio signal.

    Great song indeed; it's one of my favorites.
    djmikeon May 11, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song Comparison:Not sure if this is obvious or not but the last 3 lines are a reference to Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence". The lines from that are:

    And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
    And tenement halls"
    And whispered in the sounds of silence

    interesting tidbit about this song.
    Mystrocoolon December 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:wow..i really can not beleave that anyone has posted about this song yet...to me it is a truely amazing song. I would love to hear what other people think about this song and what they think it is about.
    rwillon September 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Personally, I believe that the song is about the music industry, in general. It's saying that music can be a wonderful form of expression, and can make life better, when made for the right reasons.
    It's saying that the music industry can ruin music. It can fill people with the wish to make music soley for money, for profit, and no other reason (and the words of the profits were written on the studio hall... and echoes with the sounds of salesmen) and that this makes many musicians compromise their art, their music, for the money (glittering prizes and endless compromises...). It's also saying that it doesn't need to be this way, "it's really just a matter of your honesty". It's up to the musicians to make the music for the right reasons.
    Philosophic_Musingson September 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:The first 3 stanzas are kind of just describing the radio and what a good thing it is. The 4th appears to deal with the controversy when the tape recorder was first introduced, people could just record music off the radio, so it's saying it's a question of your honesty. (The same issue that went on with the VCR and now the file-sharing)

    The rest of the song kind of ties it together with the whole music-for-profit theme that seems to be going on overall.

    Now to the reason I am really writing this, because, thanks to Philosophic Musings quoting that line I realized it's almost a direct copy of a line from Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence".

    Rush: "and the words of the *profits* were written on the studio wall... and echoes with the sounds of salesmen."

    Paul Simon: "and the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls... and echoes with the sounds of silence"

    Now that I take the time to think about it... The two songs really have a lot in common. The most accepted meaning of Sounds of silence was that people are building to much on pop-culture and not really listening, and if they did they would find that the music has a lack of meaning and is not heartfelt.

    So by writing this I realized a few things myself, I guess it's true what my professor always tries to tell me. "If you write something down, it causes you to think about it." Once again he's proved right.

    Sorry for being kinda long-winded there (I say this as I continue to type) But, you know, it kinda happens sometimes. Especially when you don't have something outlined and of course I'm not gonna take the time to outline what was originally a "comment" and turned it into this... Well never mind.
    chibiweavon March 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:wow! This song is brilliant, just read the lyrics again, while listening to the song. "All this machinery making modern music..." is obviously refering to the rave and electronica culture, yet they show some form of respect by singing "...can still be open-hearted." Philosophic_Musings and chibiweav are both 100% correct: this song is about the music industry, heartfelt music etc. Great song.
    Karlon May 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:"One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
    But glittering prizes and endless compromises
    Shatter the illusion of integrity."
    This is one of the most true verses. Radio stations are constantly playing games to retain listenership.
    daventhalas1on June 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:written as a tribute to a station up in toronto that has always played mainline music, and ironically, has never played this song...........or so ive heard
    beemer11on June 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:this is a great song to wake up to...starts your day off right. as far as the meaning, i think Philosophic_Musings hit it right on the head...music is a great thing, but can be ruined by the music industry...its up to the musicians to make music for the right reasons...obviously rush has always done that
    shed27on June 22, 2003   Link

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