Does anyone listen to music radio anymore? I mean, real radio—the kind where you tune in an FM station (...don’t want to show my age too completely by talking about the days when AM radio played music), tap your fingers on the steering wheel, play some air Hammond B3 organ on the dash…you know, those days?
Driving along with the windows open or the top down, if you were lucky enough to own a convertible, were special memories—of summer, of youth, of allowing the music to wash your cares away. It’s the kind of experience that you must have when you hear songs like "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley or "Born to Run" by the Boss. It’s reminiscent of the scene in Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise wails away, in his rental car, on Petty’s "Free Fallin’."
Now the alternatives to “real” radio are incredibly varied—satellite radio with dozens of stations, six-CD players standard in many vehicles, i-Pod in-dash plug-ins, books on cassette or CD or, for those who try to impress their friends, National Public Radio or other talk radio options. (C’mon…doesn’t that person who begins a sentence with “well, I was listening to NPR this morning…” bug you!?)
To this day I can remember that I was in my car—and where—when now iconic classic rock songs like Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” or Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” were heard for the first time. And, I can remember quickly changing the station when the likes of Steeler’s Wheel, Cyndi Lauper or Richard Marx interrupted my in-car reverie.
Do yourself a favor this week—take the time to unplug the i-Pod, eject the CD and turn over to an FM station of choice. It won’t be the same, but it may stir up some good memories of what it felt like the moment you found the song on the station on the day when cruisin’ along was the thing that felt so right.
(Headline source: "Radio Nowhere" by Bruce Springsteen)