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Turn on the Radio: A Playlist

And everything I had to know, I heard it on my radio.

94 years after the first commercial radio began operations, we share our favourite songs about the radio

The recent controversy over the PK poster got us thinking about two things.

a. What in the world is happening to Aamir Khan’s face?

b. Isn’t it amazing that nearly 100 years from the start of Commercial Radio, the ubiquitous music box still acts as a plot point in cinema?

Today, on the 94th anniversary of the first commercial radio station , here’s a playlist (in no particular order) of some of our favourite pop cultural moments revolving around The Radio

1. Barsaat Ki Raat-Barsaat Ki Raat/1960

Madhubala- Barsaat ki Raat

Only the divine Madhubala could effect chemistry with an inanimate radio! Watch her flirt, preen and cajole as she listens to Mohd. Rafi (as Bharat Bushan) sing on the other side, and tell us if any modern actress could equal that charm.

2. Radio Gaga- Queen/1984

As children of the 80s we never shared the deep relationship with the radio that Freddie Mercury did, but we did wait every Sunday for the Diamond Comics Program if that counts.

 3. Video Killed The Radio Star- The Buggles/1979.

Ironic that they worried about MTV killing the radio when the music video today is all but dead, while the radio lives on in the form of podcasts, internet stations and the zillion FM channels on your car stereo.

4. Meet Na Mila-Abhimaan/1973

Meet Na Mila- Transistor

We may be all about the song and dance, but for all that, there are surprisingly few movies about singers in Bollywood (perhaps because they are more often than not likely to be playback singers?). In one of our favourite songs from the entire decade of the 70s, we watch Amitabh Bachchan start singing on the stage, and then his song making its way to every house in the land on radio, record players, and tapes.

Ahh, the 70s! Our favourite bit may be the women surreptitiously dreaming of him as his voice caresses them.

5. Beyonce- Radio/2008

You’re the only one that Papa allowed to hang out in my room
With the door closed we’d be alone
And mama never freaked out when she heard it go BOOM
‘Cause she knew we were in the zone

Brings back teenage memories doesn’t it?

6. Miley Cyrus- Party in the USA/2010

Too much pressure and I’m nervous
That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio

And the Jay-Z song was on
And the Jay-Z song was on
And the Jay-Z song was on

So I put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song

Miley announced her transition from a child star to a full-fledged pop phenomenon with this catchy tune that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt out of sorts in a new place, looking desperately for reminders of home.

7. Pal Pal Har Pal- Lage Raho Munnabhai/2006

For a short while in the pop firmament, the RJ or Radio Jockey reigned supreme. Preity Zinta played one in Salaam Namaste, and Vidya Balan played one in Lage Raho Munnabhai. While she may have copied her “Good Mooooooorning Mumbai” from Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam, and the music itself may be a rehash of an old standard, the hundred wattage smile that makes this moment special is 100% original.

8. Mann Ka Radio- Radio/2011

Himesh Reshamiyya always latches on to a trend a moment too late. Sample this, a movie in which he plays a too-busy RJ a long time after they were popular, and in which he uses phrases like “fulltoo attitude” only a decade after the cool kids. But even if he’s out of sync with the time, his ear worms embed themselves into your head in spite of your best efforts. So try not to think badly of us when you find yourself humming this number late into tonight!

Which moments from cinema and music do you think of when you hear the word ‘radio’? Tell us in the comments below.

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Photo Credit: bricolage.108 via Compfight cc

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