Skip to Next Poll »
Few (One/Two) Hit Wonders - WALL OF VOODOO (1983)
Few (One/Two) Hit Wonders - WALL OF VOODOO (1983) Photo


Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo - 

Like ZZ Top's "Heard It On The X" and The Doors' "The WASP (Texas Radio and The Big Beat)," this song was inspired by the high-wattage, unregulated AM border-blaster Mexican radio stations with signals that traveled well into America, and the occasional interjections in Spanish in the song were recorded off a real Mexican radio station. In our 2010 interview with Wall of Voodoo lead singer Stan Ridgway, he explained: "We used to go to rehearsals in my old '67 Mustang. And I used to get on the AM radio there on the console and try to find a Mexican radio station that was wafting in from the border over at Tijuana. This was like 1980, '81 or something. So when I would find one, I would say, 'Oh, hey look you guys, I'm on a Mexican radio.' And so, 'Okay, I'm on one. I'm on a Mexican radio.' And that was the germ of what started to develop, and then it just kind of developed, and a lot of planets were aligning at that point culturally. MTV was getting going and what they called the 'new music' was making some headway into people's ears. Radio still was not playing it, but when MTV became as popular as it did, radio had to play it. And it was right about that time where the door to American culture – or actually straight radio culture – kind of opened up just a little bit, and a few people got their feet in."
The quirky video got a lot of airplay on MTV, which launched in 1981 and didn't have many to choose from at the time. Regarding the video, Ridgway told us: "We went down to Tijuana and did it in about a day and a half on very little money. The record company did not want to spend money on the video or do anything about it at that point. It was kind of a success, it was kind of like a – you know what it was? It was an MTV accidental hit is what it was. And we had to push to get that thing out there ourselves. So in spite of the record company, whatever success it had was really the band's and mine. We were fighting quite a fight just in terms of what suddenly was expected of this electronic, avant-garde underground band. Because that's what we were."
Ridgway wrote this with Wall of Voodoo guitarist Marc Moreland. Ridgway wrote the verse lyrics and came up with the harmonica part.
Wall of Voodoo formed in Los Angeles in 1977 and released 3 albums before Ridgway left for a solo career in 1983. Stan Ridgway has a dedicated following, but for many Americans who grew up on early MTV, this is their only exposure to his work, which is an eclectic mix of narrative songs with a cinematic feel. Ridgway told us: "We all dug 'Mexican Radio' when we finished it. But we also knew that there were other things that we were doing, other things that were going to be more important, and that this was a good, fun song.
To some, it's a one-hit wonder. To others, it's just part of the catalog of songs. To the great wide open American world public, 'Mexican Radio' is known in America; when I go to Europe, it was never anything there. The song over there is 'Camouflage.' I go to Switzerland or Germany and it's a song called 'Calling Out To Carol' which was on Mosquitoes. So I'm not trying to overly wave my flag here, but there's lots of songs, and every song is part of a symphony, it's the only way you can look at it. And philosophically speaking, as an artist, first impressions are hard to beat.
It's funny. You can't diss it, because first impressions are hard to beat from people, and it's a complicated life, people get lost. You become just a memory for them, that song, actually, for one part of their lives, especially if it only lasted a certain amount of time, or they lost track of you. So a lot of music is like a floating buoy: it sits on the ocean, dips down beneath the water, every now and then something pops up, you go, 'There – what's that thing over there? Is that coming up again?' I've always just tried to keep making music and moving forward with it. So I play the song when I feel like playing it. And we've played it several different ways. Sometimes I'll play it the original way, sometimes I'll have fun with it and play it as a bossa nova or something."

Billboard Top 10 Songs of 1983

1 Police Every Breath You Take
2 Michael Jackson Billie Jean
3 Irene Cara Flashdance... What A Feeling
4 Men At Work Down Under
5 Michael Jackson Beat It
6 Bonnie Tyler Total Eclipse Of The Heart
7 Daryl Hall and John Oates Maneater
8 Patti Austin and James Ingram Baby Come To Me
9 Michael Sembello Maniac
10 Eurythmics Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

| Closed on 01/09/14 at 05:00PM
FanIQ Pts? No | Locker Room, Music | Multiple Choice Opinion Poll
9 Fans 
22%a. 10 (Great song)
33%b. 7-9 (Like that song)
11%c. 5-6 (Ok song)
33%d. Who? What? Huh?
0%e. Racist song!

5 Comments | Sorted by Most Recent First | Red = You Disagreed
Vote for your favorite comments. Fans decide the Top Comment (3+ votes) and also hide poor quality comments (4+ votes).
#1 | 215 days ago

10 (Great song)  
#2 | 215 days ago

I wish I was in Tijuana...eating barbequed iguana
7-9 (Like that song)  
#3 | 215 days ago

I never heard this song before  ..
Who? What? Huh?  
#4 | 214 days ago

Who? What? Huh?  
#5 | 214 days ago

I wish I was in Tijuana........................Eating barbequed iguana!

7-9 (Like that song)  

Post a Comment   Already a user? Sign in here
Join FanIQ - It's Free
FanIQ is the ultimate free community for sports fans.
Talk sports with fans from all over - 1,649,417+ Comments
Track your game picks - 38,670,182,382+ Sports Predictions
Prove you know sports - 116,275+ Trivia Questions
Find fans of your teams - 11,453,110+ New Friends
Love 'em, but...
Asked by Jess | Locker Room, Music | 1 questions asked 07/02/14
6 opinions | 6 comments | Last by Beaneaters
What is your single of the year #4
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/10/12
120 opinions | 5 comments | Last by SOONERS1980
What is your single of the year #2
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/10/12
110 opinions | 5 comments | Last by SOONERS1980
What is your single of the year #3
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/10/12
120 opinions | 5 comments | Last by SOONERS1980
Which song is your favorite
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/07/12
240 opinions | 9 comments | Last by SOONERS1980