On the 26th December 1979 Capital Radio began its official broadcasts from Port St Johns on the South African Wild Coast. The station made use of the apartheid government’s separate homeland policy to broadcast independent music playlists and news from the supposedly independent homeland of Transkei. This mixtape remembers Capital Radio with a selection of songs about radio which either charted or were playlisted on Capital Radio.
Despite Buggles claiming that video had killed the radio star, Capital revitalised the South African airwaves, not only with their much wider range of musical choice but also with their liberal news broadcasts. In both instances listeners got to hear things they wouldn’t hear on the apartheid government’s South African Broadcasting Corporation stations. Indeed, the Selector’s reference to ‘the same old show on the radio’, seemed to apply to the tired and conservative sounds of SABC’s Radio 5, rather than being applicable to Capital, who played reggae, ska, funk and other musical styles not heard on Radio 5 in 1980.
A few South African bands feature on this mixtape. Clout appear with a cover of Daryl Hall and John Oates’ “Portable Radio”, and Bite’s “Loud Radio” was the only featured song that did not chart on the Capital Top 40 Countdown, although it was playlisted in mid-1981. Nighthawk was a studio group put together to record a jingle for Capital Radio, with the words “The soundtrack of your life is playing on 604”. They turned the jingle into a fully-fledged song, changing the chorus from ‘on 604’ to ‘never ask for more’. And the Radio Rats achieved the only Shifty Records Top 40 chart song on Capital, with “Turn On The Radio”.
The full list of songs and month of entry onto the Capital charts is as follows:
- Video Killed The Radio Star – Buggles (Jan 1980)
- Pilot Of The Airwaves – Charlie Dore (Jan 1980)
- On My Radio – The Selecter (Jan 1980)
- On The Radio – Donna Summer (Feb 1980)
- Portable Radio – Clout (Mar 1980)
- Loud Radio – Bite (playlisted May 1981)
- Oh Yeah – Roxy Music (Sep 1980)
- Love On The Airwaves – Night (Jan 1981)
- Wired For Sound – Cliff Richard (Sep 1981)
- Radio Gaga – Queen (Feb 1984)
- The Soundtrack Of Your Life – Nighthawk (May 1985)
- We Built This City – Starship (Nov 1985)
- Radio Africa – Latin Quarter (Mar 1986)
- Make Me Lose Control – Eric Carmen (July 1988)
- Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison (Dec 1988)
- Radio Romance – Tiffany (Jan 1989)
- Turn On The Radio – Radio Rats (Apr 1991)
- Radio Song – R.E.M. (Dec 1991)
- Heartbreak Radio – Roy Orbison (Nov 1992)
- Hello (Turn Your Radio On) – Shakespears Sister (Nov 1992)