Radio Baghdad

Songfacts®:

  • Here, Patti Smith sings of an Iraqi mother trying to sing a lullaby to her children about their country while Americans are dropping bombs on them. At the time, American forces were occupying Iraq after invading the country in 2003.
  • When Patti Smith performs songs like "Radio Baghdad" live she includes a kernel of the text from the records, before spinning off into melancholy, outrage, whatever words that have been inspired in the moment. She explained to Mojo this song is not a piece she can do over and over again like an actress reciting her lines.

    "'Radio Baghdad' is 12 minutes long. It was completely improvised from a study I had done. I can't remember 12 minutes' worth of lyrics on stage. It wouldn't be the same."

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