7 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’
via Jake Mercury / Youtube
It’s one of the songs they performed during their epic and historic set at Live Aid in 1985. It was put on heavy rotation in radio stations and on MTV. The classic hit quickly became a live favorite.
Here are seven facts about it:
1. Unlike most of Queen’s songs, this was written by drummer Roger Taylor.
It was a critique to radio stations, which he believed were becoming too commercialized and played the same song over and over.
2. Taylor drew inspiration from the rising popularity of MTV.
“That’s part of what the song’s about, really,” he explained. “The fact that they [music videos] seem to be taking over almost from the aural side, the visual side seems to be almost more important.”
3. It was a worldwide hit, and when it charted, every member of Queen had written at least one song that broke into the top 10.
“I think the time has come where we actually, in song writing, we’re actually completely even,” Freddie Mercury said. “Roger will come up with something like “Radio Ga Ga”, and it’s perfect.”
4. David Mallet’s music video only increased the song’s popularity.
“Well I think it became one of the first great proofs of the power of television,” Brian May noted. “The first time we played this, to a non-Queen audience at Live Aid, everybody knew what to do at that point, which is astonishing really, so it has to be the power of the video.”
5. The video, which contained footage from the 1927 German expressionist science fiction film Metropolis, became controversial.
The British press accused the band of Fascist imagery.
“People will always find an agenda if they need one,” Taylor reacted. “And it’s a piece of entertainment. Simple as that.”
6. Although they only played the shorter version at Live Aid, it was one of the highlights of their set because audience participation in clapping to the song.
“I remember thinking ‘oh great, they’ve picked it up’ and then I thought ‘this is not a Queen audience,'” May recalled. “This is a general audience who’ve bought tickets before they even knew we were on the bill. And they all did it. How did they know? Nobody told them to do it.”
7. Popstar and actress Lady Gaga got her name from this song.
She said she adored Queen, and she added, “That’s why I love the name.”