Thursday, February 16, 2006

Good radio.

Yesterday, while driving in to school for a meeting, I had a moment of radio synchronicity. I wasn't listening to my usual NPR, because it's the pledge drive and that just drives me nuts. Instead, I was listening to what used to be the alternative station, but what is really now a shrine to the alternative music of yesteryear, with select updates.

Anyhow, a great Nine Inch Nails song came on--title unknown, sorry, but I'm pretty sure it was new. Then, a great Foo Fighters song came on, followed by "Heart-Shaped Box" as I was pulling into the parking lot and locating a parking space. I was tempted to stay in my car to finish that song and see what came up next, my music luck was just that good. But I was chairing the meeting, so dutifully off I went.

Sometimes the radio synchronicity is so good that I can remember certain dimensions of it for years. For instance, about twenty years ago I had a similar run of great songs in a row that culminated in the supremely cheesy, and yet also supremely sing-along-able duet of Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, "Endless Love." Oh, how I loved that song! My only dilemma was which part to sing along with. On a good day, I'd hear it more than once, and then I could sing both parts. (On a related tangent, my daughter and I happened to be listening to a "best of" Diana Ross and the Supremes cd in recent weeks, and had a spirited discussion on the following question: how did Diana Ross get to be soul superstar with that wimpy voice? You may also wish to discuss this amongst yourselves.)

Points to the commenter with the best radio synchronicity story.

9 comments:

Amelia said...
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Amelia said...

I can still remember being in my college dorm and hearing Stevie Wonder's "As" for the first time properly. It is a happy memory. I still consider hearing a good song on the readio first thing in the morning a surefire sign of a good day.

Dr. Write said...

As a former DJ, I used to make my own synchronicity. I made some tapes that I still like to listen to. One particularly great one had Bif Naked, "My Whole Life," Soul Coughing, "ScreenWriter," "Kim the Waitress" (by whom?), "Close to You" (carpenters cover) by the Cranberries, and "Twist Barbie" by Shonen Knife.
Aah! The good old days!

lis said...

I don't have a real radio synchronicity moment, but a friend told me that during the Oly opening ceremonies, as the Danish team walked out, the network played "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"--(is that what the song is actually called? I don't know.)

And my own semi-created radio moment (in my short-lived amateur dj days): a lively recounting of some dancing regulations imposed by the Provo City council (I was living in Illinois), a spin of "Safety Dance," and a phone call from Ted, the truck driver who was passing through town and honked his horn just for me because he liked my story.

And I do think that it's a good omen anytime I hear Captain and Tenille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" on the radio.

Sleepy E said...

REM's "The One I Love" came on the radio today...released in 1987 when I was 16. I realized that to a 16-year-old today "the One I Love" must seem impossibly distant, the equivalent of "Abbey Road" to me back in 87. Weird.

Counterintuitive said...

Are all moments of syncronicity all but gone as many download and create their own pre-arranged playlists? It could become near impossible to happen upon a song. That's sad because I would never put "Lost in love" by Air Supply in a playlist because I like happening upon this song every year or so--such 6th grade nostalgia.

Dr. Write said...

Your comment is very apt, CI. It made me think of all the happy accidents of radio, the song you forgot about. I hated "Jack and Diane" as a kid, but now when I hear it, I'm reminded of my friends from junior high.
Also, I love to happen upon a Rick Springfield song. Ditto Huey Louis and the News.

Lisa B. said...

This is exactly what I'm talking about! We can all manufacture a beautiful sequence of songs--or a nostalgic one--but when the song happens to you, like running into a friend you'd forgotten, that's the radio synchronicity. I have a similar feeling to the "Jack and Diane" song or "Lost in Love" to some old 70s soul/r&b songs, none of which I loved so much at the time, but which are now suffused with memories of driving in cars late at night with friends in the summer in CA.

Brent said...

Radio synchronicity began to die, I think, long before downloaded playlists. Tune into today's narrowly-programmed radio stations and you're never surprised (pleasantly or otherwise) at what you'll hear. Audiences don't really want surprises.
I wonder, do "American Graffiti" life-soundtracks survive today?

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