Monday, April 22, 2013

IRS Records: Mexican Radio

I played today’s selection from I.R.S. Records for my family last night and they hated it. As for me, I’ve always loved Wall of Voodoo’s semi-hit from 1983: “Mexican Radio.” In fact, I remember where I saw the video for the first time – it was at my friend Greg Reed’s home. While I was familiar with the song, I had not seen the video – the classic scene is lead vocalist Stan Ridgeway’s head emerging from a bowl of beans.

The band’s name was a take on Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” when someone remarked that early recordings by members of the band sounded more like a “Wall of Voodoo,” and the name stuck. “Mexican Radio” was inspired by the high powered AM radio stations out of Mexico that were aimed toward American and Mexican-American audiences. Called “border blasters,” these stations were often above the 50kw maximum that was imposed upon US stations and could have a transmitter output upwards of 500kw.

While “Mexican Radio” was a big MTv hit, it was not such on American radio and peaked at only #58. Although, it did much better in Canada (#18), New Zealand (#21), and Australia (#33). Still, I love this tune – it must be my warped sense of musical taste.

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