Sunday, 14 May 2017

My Top ∞ Radio Songs #6: I'd Sit Alone, And Watch Your Light...

When I started this series, I said I was going to use it as an opportunity to write about my years in radio. Then I realised I'd already started doing this, ten years ago, on the old blog. I only got a couple of posts into it - partly because I was still working in the industry back then and I was too close to it all; and partly because I didn't think anyone would be interested in reading my autobiography.

Lately though, I've come to realise that the posts I enjoy most from my fellow bloggers are often the ones when they tell me a little about their life. That's one of the reasons I've started doing that more, the other being the insane notion that one day my son might stumble across these ramblings and come to understand his old man a little better. Yeah, I know, that's probably never going to happen... but just on the off-chance you're reading this 50 years from now: Sam, you're the best thing that ever happened to me.

That out the way, let's talk radio gaga...

6. Queen - Radio Gaga

I know the blogosphere is roughly divided into two types of people when it comes to Queen.
  1. Those who think they were all right in the 70s but lost it in the 80s, around the time Radio Gaga was released...
  2. ...and those who never liked them anyway.
This makes me sadder than you'll ever know, but I'll press on regardless. Chances are you all skipped this post as soon as you saw the picture at the top of the page anyway. Or maybe you recognised the quote...
I’d sit alone and watch your light, 
My only friend through teenage nights
And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio...
Everything you need to know about why I got into radio is contained in those lines above.

The rest of the story will follow...


  1. I fell in love with radio a long time before I became a teenager. I was given a pocket sized transistor radio in 1967 and listened to it through my pillow at night. I was 7 years old and scared of the dark. The chatter (probably the early days of Radio 4) kept me company until I drifted off to sleep. I remember there would often be a late night ghost story broadcast near midnight - not the ideal thing to be listening to as a scardey cat kid! Of course the deal with my parents was that the radio should've been switched off hours earlier and Dad was forever having to replace the battery for me. Later, in the early 1970's as I began to embrace pop music, I switched my allegiance to Radio Luxembourg - Kid Jenson, Tony Prince ('your royal ruler'), Emperor Rosko, Stuart Henry etc - still listening through the pillow into the wee small hours, much to Mum and Dad's dismay. I found that little radio again when I was clearing Mum's house after she died in 2010. I hadn't clapped eyes on it since about 1975, but it still worked. I had a lot of stuff to sort out and donated it to a charity shop along with my first mono record player which also came to light. There was no reason to keep either of them, but I've always regretted letting them go.
    As for Queen, I fall into category 1 I'm afraid, although my own cut off point came a little earlier with 'News of the World' in 1977.
    A lovely post Rol - look at the flurry of memories it prompted.

    1. Thanks for the comment Swede, I almost want to give that guest post status and reprint it as an official part of the series. What a lovely story.

  2. Like the sound of what is to come. As you know I have (from day one) gone down the "songs/memories attached" route so have inadvertently started to write my autobiography. I don't think my daughter would be that interested at the moment but I'm hoping that down the line these very personal musings might be of interest to her - Have been printing off a hard copy of my posts as likely the technology will change and would be a shame to lose it all. I would have loved to have something similar from my parents but my dad died without having written anything down and my mum's memory seems to have now left her. I do feel as if I have over-shared of late however and included pictures of people still alive without their knowledge so might have to address that issue.

    Like Mr S above I have happy memories of that little transistor radio in a black leather case that used to sneak under my pillow at night. Also my first mono record player which was sold for £5 when I needed the money down the line.

    As for Queen, neither category for me as I liked their '80s stuff as well especially the songs they wrote for the film Highlander which has a bit of a cult following where I live.

    1. I hope the internet outlives me, Alyson, because I can't face printing all this nonsense off. Particularly as the house is already full of so much of my pre-internet writing!

  3. I love the autobiographical aspects of the posts I read too - and have also enjoyed revisiting memories on my own blog as a way of recording them. No-one to leave them to but maybe I'd like to read them back one day when my ability to remember them first hand has gone awol! I was talking to someone about the research going into Alzheimers lately; it seems that triggering memories is a vital aspect of keeping lines of communication open and stimulating conversation, so perhaps everyone should keep some of their personal recollections in a publicly accessible place like a blog for future reference, just in case! In the meantime, I hope Sam does read this when he's older - what a lovely insight to some of his dad's tastes and thoughts it will lend.

    Happy radio memories too - I probably said it before on one your previous posts in this series, but listening to the radio was most special at a time when it really could be a case of hearing something once and never knowing if/when you'd hear it again.

    Queen - well my big sister loved them for a while and so they were as much a part of my growing up as her other favourites (Bowie, Black Sabbath, Focus, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd...) They provided a soundtrack to my childhood thus earning themselves a soft spot which just cannot be hardened.

    1. Siblings' record collections will always have a huge influence, although it helps if you get along with you sibling. I took more influence from my sister's collection because she treated me well than my brother's, who was always a bit of an arse to me. Then again, maybe she just had better taste! They both liked Queen though...

  4. With you on the autobiographical posts - and if you're a fan of the genre then I recommend the three great talents - SWC, Tim Badger and KC - over at 'When You Can't Remember Anything'. Looking forward to reading more of the radio tales.

    I was another under the pillow listening to Radio Luxembourg at 208 on the medium wave...just along the dial from Radio 1 at 247MW.

    I'll not say anything about Queen....except I did see them back in the early 80s in Edinburgh....but only because I wanted to see the support act which was The Teardrop Explodes (the bloke I went along with was a huge fan of Freddie et al)



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