FM (No Static At All)

Album: FM Soundtrack (1978)
Charted: 49 22

Songfacts®:

  • Walter Becker and Donald Fagen wrote this song for the 1978 movie FM, which takes place at a radio station and was the precursor to the television series WKRP in Cincinnati. Becker and Fagen performed the song in the movie, which came at a time when FM Radio was relatively new and catching up to AM in popularity. As the song points out, FM has a lot less static than AM, but at the time, a big selling point of FM radio stations was their ability to take chances by playing lesser known bands and album cuts. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Persephone - Indianapolis, IN
  • Donald Fagen recalled writing this song in California to American Songwriter magazine. "There was a film called FM and we were asked to do the title song," he said. "And I said, 'Does it have to have any specific words?' And they said, 'No, it just has to be about FM radio.' We wrote that very quickly, I remember, in one or two days. And we also recorded it very quickly, too. Johnny Mandel came in and did the string chart. It was fun to meet Johnny Mandel."

Comments: 12

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenI saw much of the switchover from AM to FM by mainstream music programmers. In the early 1970s, nearly all the dominant music stations were AM, but by the end of the 70s, nearly all of them were FM. Most of the old AM stations that had been music only switched to news/talk or "oldies" formats and this remains the case today.
  • Andrew from GlasgowIt wasn't the first release not to come from a Steely Dan LP. That was their first single "Dallas" and the B-side "Sail The Waterway", both recorded during the "Can't Buy A Thrill" sessions.
  • Arthur from New JerseyToday, with satellite radio, they would have to change the song to "XM." With XM radio you'll get "no static at all" but you will get dead spots instead!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 1st 1940 in New York City, the NBC radio station W2XDG began its regular FM transmission from the Empire State Building, and by October of the same year, the FCC granted 15 stations the first construction permits for commercial FM operation...
    And just about thirty eight and a half years later on May 28th, 1978 Steely Dan's "FM (No Static at All)" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #67; eight weeks later on July 23rd it would peak at #22 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 10 weeks...
    Between 1971 and 1981 Steely Dan had fifteen Top 100 records; three made the Top 10, "Do It Again" {#6 in 1972}, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" {#4 in 1974}, and "Hey Nineteen" {#10 in 1981}...
    They just missed having two more Top 10 records when "Reeling in the Years" and "Peg" both peaked at #11.
  • Terry M from Tacoma Wa.There are two versions of this song. The shorter "radio edit" ended with a guitar solo while the six minute version concludes with a tasty jazz saxophone solo.
  • Angel from Canton, OhThis song literally woke me up outta my sleep!!!!
  • Gregory from Buena Vista, Co'FM' was to 'WKRP' like "American Grafitti' was to 'Happy Days'; a source of inspiration, to put it kindly, for Hollywood to seize a popular current movie and serialize it into a weekly TV show.
  • Mike from Hastings, NeThis song really takes me back. When the movie "FM" came out and the subsequent soundtrack, I was working at our college radio station. It was the spittin' image of the kind of station conjured up by the song itself. FM was indeed new back then, and we took all kind of on-air diversions, such as playing entire albums, as stated in the song and so much more. My word, was it all so much easier and simpler back in the late 70s and early 80s than it is now? Steely Dan (Fagen and Becker) rule so much and they are jazz-funk-rock fusion gods!!!
  • Jena from Leavenworth, KsWith all the songs they're ripping off to use in commercials, this song is destined to be next. Can't you just see some dumb dryer sheet ad with somebody shaking out their clean laundry from the dryer, "no static at alll" playing in the background"??
  • Dan from Albany, Nydo y'all get it?..."no static at all" is in reference to the "girls"....when a girl resists a guy's advances, the guy will say she's "givin me static"...here, the dan is saying the girls at this party are like fm radio, no static at all....right donald? walter?....thanks, zimfreud
  • Andy from Rockaway , NyThere's a great "out of print" jazz CD called "No Static At All" which features Dan's music, by a group of talented musicians.
    You can find it on EBAY.
    Strongly recommended to Dan Fans.
  • Mark from London, EnglandThis was the first single release by the group not to come from a Steely Dan LP.
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