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'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)

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NormanD 07 Aug 07 - 01:20 PM
The Villan 07 Aug 07 - 01:40 PM
alanabit 07 Aug 07 - 02:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Aug 07 - 03:07 PM
robomatic 07 Aug 07 - 03:47 PM
Bonzo3legs 07 Aug 07 - 04:39 PM
Bonzo3legs 07 Aug 07 - 04:40 PM
SouthernCelt 07 Aug 07 - 07:41 PM
Amos 07 Aug 07 - 07:56 PM
Peace 07 Aug 07 - 10:18 PM
Peace 07 Aug 07 - 10:23 PM
Amos 07 Aug 07 - 11:38 PM
Cluin 07 Aug 07 - 11:58 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Aug 07 - 12:04 AM
Bonzo3legs 08 Aug 07 - 05:36 PM
Peace 08 Aug 07 - 05:38 PM
Jeri 08 Aug 07 - 06:57 PM
Peace 08 Aug 07 - 11:31 PM
Jeri 08 Aug 07 - 11:32 PM
Lonesome EJ 09 Aug 07 - 12:57 AM
KeithofChester 09 Aug 07 - 04:17 AM
Bonzo3legs 09 Aug 07 - 06:08 AM
KeithofChester 09 Aug 07 - 07:31 AM
Jeri 09 Aug 07 - 09:34 AM
robomatic 10 Aug 07 - 12:02 AM
GUEST,AAA 15 Feb 11 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Doublejay 18 Aug 11 - 04:19 PM
Jeri 17 Aug 11 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Phil B 18 Aug 11 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,smartalek 02 Dec 17 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 02 Dec 17 - 09:08 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: MOHAMMED'S RADIO (Warren Zevon)
From: NormanD
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 01:20 PM

Warren Zevon wrote and recorded this song over thirty years ago. He obviously wouldn't have had Al Jazeera in mind when he penned it. If it was a contemporary comment on Islamic relations then his lyrics were vague and enigmatic, to say the least.

Any views on what the song is about? (Please don't say "it's about three and a half minutes", we know that joke already).

Here are the lyrics:

"Mohammed's Radio"

Everybody's restless and they've got no place to go
Someone's always trying to tell them
Something they already know
So their anger and resentment flow

Chorus:
But don't it make you want to rock and roll
All night long
Mohammed's Radio
I heard somebody singing sweet and soulful
On the radio, Mohammed's Radio

You know, the Sheriff's got his problems too
He will surely take them out on you
In walked the village idiot and his face was all aglow
He's been up all night listening to Mohammed's Radio

Chorus

Everybody's desperate trying to make ends meet
Work all day, still can't pay the price of gasoline and meat
Alas, their lives are incomplete

Chorus

You've been up all night listening for his drum
Hoping that the righteous might just might just might just come
I heard the General whisper to his aide-de-camp
"Be watchful for Mohammed's lamp"

Chorus


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning?
From: The Villan
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 01:40 PM

Linda Ronstadt does a great version of that. Used tyo play that time and time again. Never really thought to much about the meaning though.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 02:55 PM

I used to like hearing The Arizona Smoke Revue's version of it and I asked the same question. My guess is that it is essentially a sketch of a small town, in which the only interesting thing going on is a local radio station. The idea that it could be a metaphor for something much bigger has occurred to me, but I can't see anything to back it up. I think Little Hawk knows about this sort of stuff, so I could well turn out to be way off the mark!


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 03:07 PM

I've never heard the song, but from reading it I'd be inclined to think think it's a tribute to the old Moroccan hash.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: robomatic
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 03:47 PM

That was a wonderful album, self titled and the second one released I believe. I didn't take much of a religious reference out of it, because not all our Islamic friends are 'righteous' with R&R. The album concerns itself more with down-and-outers from a number of viewpoints, I couple it emotionally with Richard Thompson's brilliant Rumour and Sigh. Zevon doesn't always make a point of being lyrically clear, although his lyrics can be subtly hilarious*; he is excellent for building up impressions, and the music is always powerful.

For another impression of Mohammed's Radio

I await other comments with great interest.


*The song Jungle Work from the album "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School" appears to praise the work of mercenaries, but in reality it is a kind of juvenile mind-set that he is either depicting, satirizing, or both:

We parachute in
We parachute out
"Death From Above"
We're screaming now


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 04:39 PM

I like the reference to bush in the song!


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 04:40 PM

It's just a song, it doesn't have to mean anything, but it has a great tune.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 07:41 PM

I always took it to be a commentary on the beginnings of the Arab world's use of oil to control or severely impact the world economy primarily because it came out right after the beginnings of the first gasoline crisis and first occasion of severely rising prices due to OPEC's manipulation of oil prices. I took the reference to the radio and the implication that Mohammed's radio doesn't play R&R was a reference to the Arabic/Muslim radio entertainment which was directed toward making their citizens more Islamic and less worldly (influenced by Western culture).

SC


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 07:56 PM

Mohammed's Radio is the wavelength we all tune in to when we get as close as we are able to get to the Infinite Compassion. It's the wavelength Mohammed heard when he first dreamed up his version of Allah, before all the argybargy set in; the same station that Jesus and his fellow-messiahs were locked into at night while cruising for bagels. It's the wavelength of Buddha, Zoroaster, the Delphic oracle and the non-frequency of the Tao. There's no missing it when you hear it, and no finding it if you are missing it. It is Gawd's own frequency, coming to you through the night sky at thirty billion teravolts of AM transmission, this morning and every AM to come. DON'T touch that dial....

A


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Peace
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 10:18 PM

It is a great song with a wonderful feel to it. The link is to Zevon and Browne doing it. You'll likely want to bookmark it.

I think the use of Mohammed in the song is not in reference to the Muslim prophet. It scans well for the song.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Peace
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 10:23 PM

What Amos said. In touch with the universe, with the things that reach into our souls and keep us trying, doing, being.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 11:38 PM

See- that's why I love this guy. He unnerstans!!


A


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Cluin
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 11:58 PM

Did Linda Ronstadt cover EVERY song WZ wrote?

I do admire her taste.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 12:04 AM

Amos, I see you have the clip of your crystal set affixed to creation's timeless radiator. That static you hear is not sunspot activity but energy generated from the downflow of the holy. The earpiece dangles before us. Let us plug it into the canal and know truth.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 05:36 PM

Bloody hell, it's just a rock n roll song!


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 05:38 PM

Yeah. Like "Maggie" is just a love song.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 06:57 PM

I don't want to read too much into it. I think it's a pretty abstract song. I think a lot of the images/metaphors are just to make people think and evoke their own feelings.

I think the song is about how, no matter how much life sucks, you can still find some bliss in music. The song just sounds too good, and makes you want to sing along, and that's NOT because it's about drugs or is a commentary on politics. That's my interpretation anyway.

And yep, I have the original album. It's got John David Souther, Jackson Browne, Phil Everly, Lindsey Buckingham, 'Stephanie' Nicks (Lindsey and Stevie sing harmonies on 'Mohammed's Radio'), Glen Frey, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, and Rosemary Butler.

Not bad.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 11:31 PM

And Jeri nailed it in one, IMO, with "I think the song is about how, no matter how much life sucks, you can still find some bliss in music. The song just sounds too good, and makes you want to sing along, and that's NOT because it's about drugs or is a commentary on politics."


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 11:32 PM

Robomatic, I've listened to Jungle Work a load of times and I never caught the joke. The guy was quirky, to say the least. Same brain that came up with Roland the (Headless) Thompson Gunner.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 12:57 AM

"and if California falls into the sea
like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing
until I pay my bill"
Desperadoes Under the Eaves- Zevon


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: KeithofChester
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 04:17 AM

I used to like hearing The Arizona Smoke Revue's version of it...

That's where I first came across the song too. It's on the Arizonas' New Album, issued 1983 on vinyl. The title has dated just a bit! The song appears twice. It both opens the album and then there is a reprise version towards the end. It's also on the (quite hard to find) double CD where they combined A Thundering On The Horizon with The New Album.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 06:08 AM

I have it on an EP too. Last saw the Arizonas in a village hall in the south of England a few years ago, just Bill Zorn/Paul Downes and Steve Knightly, and a great evening it was too!


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: KeithofChester
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 07:31 AM

Last saw the Arizonas in a village hall in the south of England a few years ago, just Bill Zorn/Paul Downes and Steve Knightly, and a great evening it was too!

Last time I saw the Arizona Smoke Revue was at Biddulph Town Hall in December 2004, with Bill Zorn, Pete Zorn, Paul Downes & Gaylan Taylor. Phil Beer also joined them at one date on that tour (Dartford Folk Club). There was rumour something might happen with the ASR this year, but I think Bill Zorn is currently too busy with his comitments to The Kingston Trio.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 09:34 AM

Robert Ford the gunman, in exchange for his parole
Took the life of James the outlaw which he
   snuck up on and stole
Frank and Jesse James- Zevon

The song has other moments...

Loneliness and frustration
We both came down with an acute case
And when the lights came up at two
I caught a glimpse of you
And your face looked like something
Death brought in in a suitcase

The French Inhaler- Zevon

Don't even get me started on Play it All Night Long...

Regarding Linda Ronstadt covering Zevon's songs, I think she was why I first bought one of his albums.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: robomatic
Date: 10 Aug 07 - 12:02 AM

I saw him do a solo performance at The Paradise in Boston, some of it unplugged, if my memory is right. His sound did not originate in a studio, he was the real McCoy. And he sang "Roland".


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: GUEST,AAA
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 10:10 AM

According to Zevon's biography, he saw a man at a bus stop wearing traditional arab clothing and holding a boombox by his head, and the image stuck in his mind. The song was the result.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: GUEST,Doublejay
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 04:19 PM

I was there, It's about the night clerk at a C store guy Warren became fond of, The store was by the Poineer Chicken Stand, He always had his radio going, it's about what came out of his radio, thats it, nothing mystical at all. Just an Arab with a crappy transister radio.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 07:09 PM

According to Zevon's bio, AAA is correct. It was a mentally challenged man dressed in Arab clothing (on Halloween) with a radio.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: GUEST,Phil B
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 12:16 PM

Warren Zevon. Absolutely one of my all time heroes.

Roland. (Brilliant)

Bad Karma. (Hilarious)

Lawyers Guns and Money. (Even more hilarious)

I could go on forever.

Werewolves AAAAAAAOOOOOOOOH!


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: GUEST,smartalek
Date: 02 Dec 17 - 08:51 AM

"According to Zevon's bio, AAA is correct. It was a mentally challenged man dressed in Arab clothing (on Halloween) with a radio."

So that would be the "village idiot" whose "face was all aglow."
Got it.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Thanks for that clarity, AAA.


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Subject: RE: 'Mohammed's Radio': Meaning? (Warren Zevon)
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 02 Dec 17 - 09:08 AM

Ah. Warren Zevon. A sadly missed artist. His work with Jackson Browne et al was a period of great music.i did not try to analyse his songs. Just enjoyed the music at face value. Call me old fashioned.


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