There was an old Zenith radio that sat on a shelf in our garage for decades. It was an old tube model, brown bakelite Zenith, similar to the one on the left.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the center of get-togethers moved from the kitchen to the back yard, specifically the garage. That radio saw birthdays, wedding receptions, cookouts, tornado warnings, card games, pool parties. Nearly every weekend, doing yard work or playing, there was Ernie Harwell, announcing Tigers’ games. Or listening to WOHO, back when the station actually played music.
So, in honor of that old radio, here are a few “radio” songs…
Border Radio – The Blasters – a great Americana rock & roll band.
Mexican Radio – Wall Of Voodoo – New wave band, almost a one hit wonder.
Spirit of the Radio – Rush – you know, Rush… Geddy freakin’ Lee!
Video Killed the Radio Star – Buggles – Prophetic song that was the debut video on MTV when it began programming in 1981.
Radio Gaga – Queen – There are a handful of musicians who have passed that make me sad when I think of them… David Bowie, Terry Kath, and Freddie. Freddie Mercury was a singularly spectacular showman, and an amazing human being.
Don Ellis… a name I first heard in 1972 during a music appreciation class in high school. And that name began my love of jazz.
Ellis was a trumpet player, drummer, composer and bandleader. It’s difficult to drop him onto a particular genre of jazz, he’s played with the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Charlie Barnet, and Charles Mingus, but was a singularly unique musician. Big band, jazz-fusion, and movie soundtracks were just a few of his pursuits.
He had a custom trumpet made, a 4-valve model which allowed him to play quarter tones, the cracks between the piano keys. Ellis also experimented extensively with electronic music (ring modulators on his trumpet, for example) in the ’60s.
Ellis’ real trademark was his creative manipulation of time signatures. Works in 7, 9, and 27 were common. He even released an album ” Live in 3⅔/4 Time”. I think it was Miles Davis who once said that the only thing Ellis ever played in ‘4’ was “Take Five”.
33 222 1 222 – Yeah, it’s in 19.
Pussy Wiggle Stomp – insanely fast version and mad rhythm skills.
Bulgarian Bulge – written in 33/16 with the occasional 26/16 thrown in.