AM Radio

Album: Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 1 (2000)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is a celebration of a time when radio stations were not strictly formatted. Before FM, there were fewer stations and they played many types of music.
  • This was inspired by lead singer Art Alexakis' childhood growing up in a black neighborhood. He was exposed to black and white music because the AM stations played it all.
  • The video is a tribute to '70s pop culture. It features the band in scenes from The Brady Bunch, as a Mr. Potato Head doll, and as members of KISS. They spent about $250,000 for the rights to use the images.
  • The video originally contained a scene where Alexakis burst through a wall as the Kool-Aid man. It was cut when the Kool-Aid people decided not to let them use it.
  • This samples "Mr. Big Stuff" a 1970 hit by Jean Knight which was a staple on AM Radio.
  • The vocals are processed to sound like they would be coming from an AM radio station. With limited bandwidth, AM radio doesn't transmit a lot of bass.

Comments: 5

  • Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaThe radio sample at the beginning comes from KHJ in Los Angeles, a prominent (and dominant) AM Top 40 station from the mid-1960's to the mid-1970's.
  • Bev from Lees Summit, MoYes, Stephanie, I was around then and FM radio did exist in the 70s. When I was in junior high I remember listening to FM stations play entire albums by groups like Blue Oyster Cult and a comedy troup called Firesign Theater. I also remember on the AM stations hearing people like Judy Collins, Al Green, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Neil Young all played one after the other. I wish more stations would be willing to just play what they like now instead of having to follow a format.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScIf I remember correctly, I read that FM stations ixisted in the 1970's. They were more progressive then, and called AOR or Album Oriented Rock stations. My facts are correct, aren't they? I wasn't around then.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaNice usage of Mr. Big Stuff, I heard AM Radio before that.
  • Ty from Niagara Falls, CanadaI enjoy this song, it's very upbeat and takes you back to a simpler time. Makes me think of the movie Dazed & Confused too
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