I heard you on the wireless back in '52
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 too far
(Oh-a-a-a-oh)
(Oh-a-a-a-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 the blame on VCR

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

(You are a radio star) video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
(You are a radio star) video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
(You are a radio star) video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star

(Oh-a-oh, oh-a-oh)
(Oh-a-oh, oh-a-oh)
(Oh-a-oh, oh-a-oh)
(Oh-a-oh)


Lyrics submitted by Boonechic_21

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

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Video Killed the Radio Star song meanings
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57 Comments

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  • +8
    General Comment

    Long 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
  • +2
    General Comment

    well 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
  • +2
    General Comment

    Many 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
  • +2
    General Comment

    I'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
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    Video = 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 21, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    Video 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
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song is about how singers/"radio stars" didn't have to be flashy/attractive/etc, just have a good voice to be popular. Now a lot of them did, and it made them more popular (like Elvis and others) but it wasn't as big of a deal as it is now. When video came around, there was less of an emphasis on vocal ability as there was on attractiveness, cool stuff in the video and other stuff like that. It is similar to when "talkies" came out for movies and a lot of the silent movie actors and actresses couldn't make it after that because they had horrible speaking voices and/or acting talent. (the movie "singing in the rain" is about this).

    eklon January 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Sorry - an addition to my above commentary. I wasn't thinking about the fact that they did this song before the prevalence of music videos -- it probably relates also to the radio programs that were popular (soap operas and such) and then when TV became more popular and more people had them in their homes, there was not the demand for people listening to stories on the radio - they were much more exciting to watch on TV.

    eklon January 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Here's what this seems like to me, before I get started I'll let you know that I can't remember the proper names of these people / companies, but I'll try anyway.

    It all started when everyone was listening to AM radio, and scientists were trying to find a clearer way to transmit sounds, for AM wasn't the best thing ever. After a while, frequency modulation, or FM as we know it, was invented. It was either RCA, or some other large company, who wanted television to be the next big thing, so they wouldn't allow FM to be released.

    The guy who discovered FM was destroyed, so he dressed in his finest suit, and then dropped from his 13th floor apartment room in 1952. Hence the line, "Video killed the radio star" and other such lyrics.

    If I'm wrong, then I have no idea where I pulled this idea from.

    Midnight_Beingon May 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    ive always heard it as ''BUT did you tell them?'' as in, do you kids know that you used to be a star, do they know that their precious tv drove their father out of a job?

    scar_eireon June 16, 2006   Link

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