Radio Ga Ga

Album: The Works (1984)
Charted: 2 16
Play Video


  • Queen drummer Roger Taylor wrote this song. When it charted, all four members of the group had written at least one Top 10 hit either in the US or UK.
  • Roger Taylor wrote this as a critique of radio stations, which were becoming commercialized and playing the same songs over and over (and this was before radio was deregulated, allowing companies to own multiple stations in a market, resulting in more corporate ownership, less competition and generally bad radio).
  • Taylor claimed that he was inspired to write this after watching MTV. He noticed that lots of kids were watching the channel instead of listening to the radio.
  • The video is based on the 1926 movie Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang. Queen had to pay the German government to use clips of it in the video.
  • A number of electronic devices were used on this song, including a LinnDrum drum machine and at least three synthesizers: a Roland Jupiter 8, a Fairlight CMI and an Oberheim OB-Xa. Roger Taylor also added some Simmons electronic drums. Roland VP-330 vocoder was used to create the robotic vocals.
  • Originally, this was "Radio Ca-Ca," which was something Roger Taylor's part-French son Felix exclaimed one day in trying to say the radio was bad ("radio, CACA!). The phrase stuck with Taylor and inspired the anti-commercial radio themes in the lyrics.

    Taylor liked the title, but the rest of the group objected and asked for a re-write. As a result, it went from a song condemning radio ("Ca-Ca") to praising it ("Ga Ga"). Interestingly however, even in the final recorded version, the phrase "Ca-Ca" is present - maybe as a compromise for Taylor?
  • Queen stole the show at Live-Aid when Freddie Mercury, battling laryngitis, got everybody in Wembley Stadium singing the chorus of this song.
  • The extras in the video got the clapping sequence right on the first try, but it took practice for the members of Queen to get it down. Director David Mallet was surprised the extras picked up the routine so easily, considering they'd never heard the song, which hadn't yet been released. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jonathon - Clermont, FL
  • The rock band Electric Six recorded this on their 2005 album Señor Smoke. In the video, their lead singer Dick Valentine is shown as the ghost of Freddie Mercury appearing in front of his grave, which caused controversy amongst Queen fans. Valentine was quick to stress that it was meant in tribute, not to denigrate the group - the band were massive Queen fans. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Logan - Troy, MT
  • Lady Gaga took her name from this song. Born Stefani Germanotta, she started using the moniker when she needed a stage name. Who came up with the name is a matter of dispute, as her former producer Rob Fusari claims that he originated it, while the singer says it was given to her by her co-workers in her burlesque days.
  • When director David Mallet was coming up with the concept for the music video, he wanted to stray from the usual performance pieces full of guitar solos and drum fills. "And even [guitarist] Brian May agreed to that," Mallet told the documentary series Video Killed the Radio Star. Freddie Mercury suggested the Metropolis concept, but Mallet wanted to make sure the band still played a key role in the clip. "So we built that funny car and them flying through the air, and used the wide shots from Metropolis ... All I was trying to do is find some way of fitting Metropolis into a different setting, and I thought, what if we make the whole video a period - wartime, for instance, or semi-wartime, and it would tie it all together. And it did."
  • Some critics feel the choreography in the hand-clapping scene is a reference to Nazis, an idea that Mallet dismisses: "It didn't really have any bearing on Nazi rallies at all." Roger Taylor added: "That section was meant to sort of portray the mind control of the workers in the movie Metropolis."
  • An extended version was released as a 12" single at the same time.

Comments: 35

  • Siahara Shyne Carter from United StatesThis sounds sarcastic hehehe I mean Freddie sings This part " I hope you won't leave old friend and Someone still loves you " I don't know but I feel he is hitting "some radio stations" or something else. I love Queen songs EASY TO SING BUT HARD IN BEAT
  • Prashant from Kathmandu"We hardly need to use our ears, how music changes through the years"..... No one could have said it better than Freddie Mercury.
  • Kramo from Toronto, CanadaWhat an insipid piece of crap.
  • George from Melbourne, AustraliaIf you grew up in the 80's (assume 70's) doing your school work these lines resonate a lot "I'd sit alone and watch your light, my only friend through teenage nights" love it. On a side note, kaka in Greek means sh*t/p** whatever. So if there were objections from the band or manager/record company, I assume it was meant to be "Radio kaka" but translated to "Radio ca-ca" to remove the reference to the Greek meaning yet still implied the meaning and got changed to "Ga Ga". So is this video of "car car" could be the 2 year old is saying "radio" in then "car car". The video shows war pictures and their only means of information for families back in those days was via a "radio". So have no idea what "dan, old forge, PA" is on about. Thoughts?
  • Dan from Old Forge, PaIs there intelligent life on this planet, besides me? People, listen to the w-o-r-d-s and watch the v-i-d-e-o! The beginning of the video shows Freddie in a flying car, did this not instantly hit you as odd? That is a rhetorical question, because I don't think you dolts have enough wit to even wonder about why the hell they are in a FLYING CAR! Anyhow, here's another very peculiar scene, notice when the black and white ends and color takes its place? No, great, 0 for 2. In this scene Freddie is the child, and just take a guess what the masks are for. Wow, how sad. OK, they turn the radio on and it is aglow, a message is coming through the radio at the time and it is of imminent nuclear destruction. This is why there is a huge light that comes into the room as they take cover. Freddie is in the flying car as an adult singing of the time when the "radio" told him all he needed to know! Our society, our race as humans, is a sad one. People are like sheep, they follow the rules, work 8 hours a day five days a week and they follow a prescriptive routine. This is NO WAY TO LIVE! Open your eyes people, we are here for now, enjoy L-I-F-E and learn how to think!
  • Neil from Melbourne, AustraliaRadio Ga Ga is also the name of a community radio program that I host each month in Melbourne, Australia. We celebrate the really great music of the 60's, 70's and 80's - when radio made us laugh, it made us cry, it made us feel like we could fly.

    Please feel free to visit my web site - to find out more and listen via the streaming facility.
  • Laura from Plymouth, United Kingdomelectric 6 made a very bad version of this song
  • Kenny from Clydebank, ScotlandOne of their best. The Radio Ga-Ga video is brilliant. Freddy looks determined, and on a mission. Great personality! I remember the tribute concert; there were lots of moustached Freddy lookalikes in the audience - a fine tribute to a well-loved singer.
  • Russ from Plainville, CtI've been a huge Queen fan forever and I was happy to see Roger finally get a hit (overdue) but I have always been embarrassed by the lyrics. Roger has always had terrific music and awesome vocals but he loses it on the lyrics, in my opinion.
  • Beryl from New York, NyI read the first comments regarding this song. It seems like it annoyed a few people at first. I did not know this song at all until I saw a tribute to Freddy and Live Aid, etc. It is very exciting when everyone in the audience participates in the chorus. That is always a turn-on. It shows such unity. For five minutes and 48 seconds, everyone is in agreement.
  • David from Near Melbourne, AustraliaI was just listening to it yesterday and noticed what a nice melody it has - and the lyrics are good, apart from the chorus, which is still annoying. I too have flicked the station when it came on before but like it 100% better now.

    David, Australia via Belfast
  • Stefano from Rome, ItalyThough a Queen fan, I found this song somewhat annoying. But I must admit its great live impact.
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlI like this song. At first, I used to change off it all the time, then I watched the one from Live Aid, and it became a favorite after I watched the music video for it. I also like their costumes in the video.
  • Ben from Nyc, MsSay Queen And PR. Taylor sang this. His voice has preserved very well.
  • Calum from Edinburgh, ScotlandLots of praise for a popular song here. I have always found it to be annoying. Actually, having said that I heard it on the radio (of course) and decided to give it a good listen. It went up a good 83% in my feeble opinion, but still has me switching channels. Sorry!
  • Amy from Dallas, TxDoes anyone do the hand clapping thing when the video plays? lol
  • Nathan from L-burg, KyThe video shows a few clips from past Queen Videos from Bohemian Rhapsody,Don't stop me now , tie your mother down,a few live performances, and last back to the current video.
  • Chris from Charleston, ScThe chorus for the song is typed wrong on this site. It's actually:
    "All we hear is Radio ca-ca
    Radio goo goo
    Radio ga ga"
  • Katie from Somewhere, NjI love how everyone clapped along at Live Aid. It was just perfect, and if you watch the video, EVERYONE in the stadium is doing it. It's amazing that there were tons of fans there coming to see all sorts of different bands, and they can all get together on this one. Freddie really was the king of the world. I didn't know he was battling Laryngitis though... weird since you can't tell at all. His voice was flawless, which is why everyone says Queen stole the show- they were perfect. No microphone feedback, no off-key songs, no wrong notes, nothing wrong with the cameras (ie when The Who played), nothing getting out of control and running over (ie U2's performance of "Bad")... it was just perfect. I've heard that as Bob Geldof was busy figuring out stuff for the rest of the show and organizing stuff, he stopped and noticed that this band was playing better than anyone yet, and he asked "Who is that?" and then he had to just stop and listen for a few minutes.
  • Bryan from Melbourne, FlOne Comment...WTF?
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai think this song is just a LITTLE too long. just a little. but its still awesome.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThis song is cool. I have a friend who loves Queen and it's one of her favorites.
  • Alicia from Tamaqua, PaLOL STEPH! I love this song! The video is something else...but in a good way! Freddie really used his imagination for this one. I love the parts in the song where they clap. All of the ppl that were in this scene suprised Queen when they knew where and when in the song to clap. They seem to have rehersed without the band knowing. Its just a great video and song! Well done Roger, well done!
  • Freddie from Orlando, FlRadio Ga Ga came from Rog's 2 year old son Felix who continuded to say "Radio Poo Poo!" while listening to the radio. As Roger put it, "I thought that sounded good, so I changed it around a bit and came up with 'Radio Ga Ga'. The song came after I'd locked myself in a studio for three days with a synthesiser and a drum machince."
  • Brandi from Enon, OhI heard the song was sopposed to be how out of style that the radio was but freddie mercury helped change some of the lyrics around to make it the exact opposite
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaUp through 1980, Roger sang all of his own songs, either with lead vocals or prominent support vocals (Sheer Heart Attack). Afterwards, Freddie sang virtually everything. They may have been catching on that all of their hits were songs sung by Freddie.
  • Jp from Kelowna, CanadaYa its cool at Live Aid that every fan was clapping exactly right and every one of them knew the song. I highly recommend the Live Aid DVD. Its unbelievable.
  • Kevin from Bridgeport, CtAt Live Aid, everybody in Wembly Stadium clapped in unison at the right moment of this song.
  • Andrew from Dublin, IrelandThis is a great and funny song!!!. Has anyone heard Electric six's version of it?.
  • Steven from San Gabriel, CaWhile Queen was on break, some reporters from a radio station came to Roger's home for an interview. Roger's 3 year old son, Felix, was walking around, and when he heard the radio was coming he said: "Radio, Poo Poo". That inspired Roger to write this song. The song became soon an anthem for Queen fans, where they would clap their hands along. The video feautures clips from the old film 'Metropolis'. This song is considered by some, as a protest against MTV.

  • Tiffany from Dover, FlRadio Ga Ga was one of the the most funniest songs I've ever heard and it was featured in a ballet performance aired on Bravo!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesWhen boy-band Five covered "We Will Rock You", they purloined the dance from "Radio Ga-Ga" in the video for their version, as "We Will Rock You" did not have a dance of it's own
  • Patrick from Conyers, GaThe second verse of the song relates to the golden age of radio, when radio was not just a medium for music and talk shows; but when we listened to shows featuring famous comedians, dramas, etc. The part about wars of worlds invaded by Mars relates to "War of the Worlds" by H. G. Wells. Orson Wells read this story on the radio in the 1930s, and when he did so, it caused panic throughout the U.S., showing that at the time, radio was a very powerful medium.
  • Ken from Yorkton, CanadaThe band invited members of their Official Fan Club to paricipate in the video. The members had to apply for the rights to be in the video and were picked at random. Then the lucky winners gathered at a studio and were the crowd that the band were in front of.

    A few other Queen video's after did the same thing. ("I Want to Break Free" and "Friends Will Be Friends.")
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandWhen the video was released, some people thought that the saluting in the chorus was the Nazi salute.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Rob Thomas of Matchbox TwentySongwriter Interviews

Rob Thomas on his Social Distance Sessions, co-starring with a camel, and his friendship with Carlos Santana.

Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde of The PretendersSongwriter Interviews

The rock revolutionist on songwriting, quitting smoking, and what she thinks of Rush Limbaugh using her song.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

Yacht Rock!

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Stephen Christian of Anberlin

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.