Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?

Album: End of the Century (1980)
Charted: 54
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is a tribute to the music of the '50s and '60 that influenced The Ramones. Here's a breakdown of the lyrical references:

    "Hullabaloo" - A UK TV show featuring music and dancing that aired 1965-1966.

    "Upbeat" - The Upbeat Show, which was a Cleveland TV show (also with music and dancing) that aired 1964-1971.

    "Shindig" - The first prime time Rock music show, many top acts performed on the program. It aired 1964-1966.

    "Ed Sullivan" - Host of The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular variety show that lasted more than 20 years. Many famous musicians appeared on the show, including The Beatles, The Doors and The Rolling Stones.

    "Murray The K" - Murray "The K" Kaufman, a legendary disc jockey who helped promote rock n' roll in the States on his radio show and through concerts he helped organize. He championed The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

    "Alan Freed" - Another very influential disc jockey, Freed is credited with coining the term "Rock And Roll."

    "Jerry Lee" - Jerry Lee Lewis was a rock originator known for his electrifying performances.

    "John Lennon" - Most punk bands wouldn't claim Lennon and The Beatles as an influence, but The Ramones were a nuanced group that shared an appreciation of his work.

    "T. Rex" - Glam Rock originators known for their outrageous costumes and stage presence.

    "Ol' Moulty" - Victor Moulton, who was the drummer in a group called The Barbarians.
  • Phil Spector produced the End of the Century album. This track was fitting, as Spector worked on a lot of the music that influenced The Ramones. Under Spector's control, he took The Ramones in a new direction, giving the songs on the album a pop sheen and radio-friendly sound. There is a prominent saxophone on the track, which was played by Steve Douglas, who was a member of Spector's "Wrecking Crew" and played on many of his famous productions.

    Spector developed a reputation as being a bit of a maniac, which in part can be attributed to statements Dee Dee Ramone made about working with him. Dee Dee claimed the Spector pulled a gun on him at one point, and was a tyrant in the studio. Spector did some work with Yoko Ono the following year, but became very reclusive until the '00s, when he produced an album for the English band Starsailor that was released in 2003. In February 2003, Spector was accused of shooting and killing a nightclub hostess at his home.
  • The closing lyrics, "It's the end of the '70s, it's the end of the century" imply that the musical century was essentially over. The line provided the album title.
  • In our interview with drummer Marky Ramone, he said that one the band put down their tracks, Phil Spector threw the works (horns, strings, percussion) at the songs on End of the Century, especially this one. "It's mountainous the way that song is," he said. "He had a lot of great studio musicians playing on that album just to create a wall of sound, which he was known for. That song took a while. There's a lot of parts in it."

    Marky adds that the story about Spector pulling a gun in the studio is overblown. He says that while Spector did carry a gun and would sometimes take it off to work, he never threatened anyone with it.
  • The Ramones made a music video for this song that was directed by Mark Robinson, who also did their clip for "Rock 'N' Roll High School." It was one of the few videos available to MTV when the network launched in 1981, but they gave it very little airplay. MTV tried to program a rock format at the time, and were desperate for videos by American bands in that genre. The Ramones fit the bill, but their videos didn't have the production value to match what was coming out of Europe.
  • The voice that opens this song with the words, "Come on, let's rock and roll with the Ramones" is Sean Donahue, a disc jockey who worked at radio stations in San Francisco (KSAN) and San Jose (KOME, KSJP). The intro is meant to elicit the sound of a DJ enthusiastically talking up the song at a radio station.

    Donahue (real name: Sean Coman) died in a car accident in 2000 at age 45.
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Comments: 5

  • Ron from Illinois UsaRe: The spoken-word parts of this song - 1. there are different 'edits' of this song that get played on various channels, but there are both an intro and an outro section with voiceovers representing a disk jockey on the airwaves (both are noted in the lyrics section in parentheses). 2. I want to add to the above 'Songfact' about that voiceover, this is the work of Sean Donahue nee Coman, a.k.a. 'Rusty Brainpan' (his commonly used air name). Yes he was in the radio business from a young age in many different stations around the U.S. and ending up in Montana, where he did perish in a single-vehicle crash in July 2000. 3. The name Donahue is significant here, in that Sean Coman was the son of Tom 'Big Daddy' Donahue who is generally credited with creating the FM radio album-oriented format in San Francisco in the late 1960s. Tom Donahue passed away in 1975. So, lots of significance here.
  • Zero from The Abyss, NjI pretty much stopped listening to the radio altogether when the powers that be turned my favorite rock station into a top-forty station. I guess we needed yet another station to play the same ten songs over and over again because the other 5 stations already doing that weren't enough.
  • Don from Lincoln, NeRadio used to be great. Now it sucks thanks to companies like Clear Channel and Three Eagles who only care about sales and not what's on the air. The same songs and same artists over and over again. Plus the DJ you hear probably isn't live. Most stations are "voice tracked"- an announcer per-recorded their bits hours earlier.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumA very good Spector-album;you listen to any song Phil Spector produced and you hear it sounds Spector.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandWho performed the spoken-word parts of this song?
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