I was tuning in the shine on the late night dial
Doing anything my radio advised
With every one of those late night stations
Playing songs bringing tears to my eyes
I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver
When the switch broke 'cause it's old
They're saying things that I can hardly believe
They really think we're getting out of control

Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason
So you had better do as you are told
You better listen to the radio

I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I want to make them wish they'd never seen me

Some of my friends sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up, they don't wanna hear about it
It's only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin' to anesthetize the way that you feel

Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason
So you had better do as you are told
You better listen to the radio

Wonderful radio
Marvelous radio
Wonderful radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

Radio, Radio Lyrics as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © CONSALAD CO., Ltd., BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Radio Radio song meanings
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30 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment

    As a former GM of a small radio station, I once changed the format to Adult Alternative. This was the first song we played under the new format.

    Morty72on May 02, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Great attack on the radio and tv. SNL was not too happy when Elvis played the start of Less than Zero then quickly switched into radio radio. Reminds you of the days when social satire and rebellion was actually clever.

    doortodooron May 30, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    This song was actually inspired by God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols, which the BBC refused to play believing that singing "God save the queen, the fascist regime, that made you a moron for potential H bomb..." was treasonous.

    The fact that playing this song itself became contentious, is a beautiful kind of irony.

    Now Radio Radio came out in 1979, before CNN and before MTV; when radio played a much larger role. But media censorship still exists from the overt of Red China banning any mention of the Tiananmen Square Massacre to the covert like immediately after 9/11 and the lead up the Iraq War where radio stations and MTV were told not to play anything critical of the US like Rage Against the Machine or blackflag, or Karl Rove meeting with Holywood to create more "patriotic films."

    mr_sniffleson June 08, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    terrible music? what is wrong with you? elvis friggin rules

    blogspotsuckson June 02, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    SNL didn't care what Elvis did on the show. It was his record label that was pissed about it. They wanted him to play Alison (not Less than Zero) but he decided to do what he wanted. That was a bigger moment in music history than many people think.

    CrzyGmOfPkr19on June 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Pretty simply, this song is about corporate control of the airwaves and radio stations only playing what is acceptable to their corporate sponsors.

    That's why Lorne Michaels was upset. SNL has corporate sponsors too.

    Pirtyfool22on May 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Hey Julie, try listening to some real music not your Slipnot gimmic noise.

    doortodooron May 31, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I first hear this song on a NY talk radio station where it is used as an intro by a particular host. My first interpretation of the lyrics <i>with every one of those late night stations playing songs bringing tears to me eyes I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver when the switch broke 'cause it's old They're saying things that I can hardly believe. They really think we're getting out of control. </i> was that it described someone listening to music on FM stations and then stumbling upon the AM side of the dial ("the switch broke") and suddenly hearing right-wing criticisms of society for the first time ("saying things that I can hardly believe... really think we're getting out of control.").

    malooon November 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Actually, SNL was pissed about it as well. Story is that Producer Lorne Michaels was off camera, and as soon as Elvis went into Radio Radio, Michaels was said to give Elvis an upturned middle finger for the entire duration of the performance. If you've seen the tape, you'll notice Elvis is glaring at someone off camera for the majority of the song, and at the end he bows straight in Lorne's direction smugly. Classic stuff.

    felixCostelloon December 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "You either shut up or get cut up, they don't wanna hear about it It's only inches on the reel-to-reel And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools Tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel"

    This refers to the old out-dated editing method of cutting out undesirable parts of a song from the tape reel with a razor blade. In other words, nothing was allowed on the air that was remotely challenging. Seems not much has changed over the years.

    What gets me about this song is it's relevance today in dealing with talk radio. Guys like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity weren't around when this song was written, yet this part of the song sums them up neatly:

    "Radio is a sound salvation Radio is cleaning up the nation They say you better listen to the voice of reason But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason So you had better do as you are told You better listen to the radio"

    This song truly was ahead of it's time.

    genesplicedon October 25, 2006   Link

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