Radio Musicola

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Radio Musicola
Studio album by Nik Kershaw
Released 24 October 1986 (1986-10-24)
Studio Swanyard Studios, London
Length 44:20
Label MCA
Producer Nik Kershaw
Nik Kershaw chronology
The Riddle
Radio Musicola
The Works
Singles from Radio Musicola
  1. "When a Heart Beats"
    Released: November 1985
  2. "Nobody Knows"
    Released: October 1986
  3. "Radio Musicola"
    Released: December 1986
  4. "James Cagney (Edit)"
    Released: 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[1]

Radio Musicola is the third solo studio album by the English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nik Kershaw. The album was released in late 1986, on the label MCA Records, two and a half years after Kershaw's successful album, The Riddle. It was Kershaw's first studio album to feature him as producer. It also features guest backing vocalists, including Icehouse's lead vocalist Iva Davies, and Night's lead vocalist Stevie Lange.

The album was released to critical acclaim, but wasn't as successful as Kershaw's previous albums, peaking at #47 on the UK Albums Chart, and achieved silver status from the BPI in 1986. Four singles were issued from Radio Musicola, but none of them reached the Top 20, a first for Kershaw.[2] However, Kershaw did find some minor success with its lead single "When a Heart Beats" (which interestingly was not featured on the LP release, only on the cassette and CD versions of the album). The album (to date) remains Kershaw's last album to make the Top 60.

After the original release, the album remained out-of-print on any format for many years. However, the album became available via online MP3 download on major sites such as Amazon,[3] and iTunes.[4]


The album showcased Kershaw's frustration at the time, with subjects of integrity - media scepticism (particularly towards tabloid journalism), privacy, insecurity and mass-produced run-of-the-mill pop music ("Why can't you let us do it like Joni does it? There you go again, giving it your very best - trying so hard to make it sound like all the rest").[5] The subject is reflected in the cover artwork's concept. The LP record release featured 1950's style spoof advertisements with the song titles woven in, some of which were replicated in the Compact Disc's booklet.

Release and chart performance[edit]

The album's first single in the United Kingdom was "When a Heart Beats", which peaked at #27 upon its release, was the first time that a lead single from a Kershaw album failed to hit the Top 20 in the UK. It became a bigger hit in Ireland, peaking at #14. Further singles from the album were "Nobody Knows" and the title track "Radio Musicola", which peaked at #44, and #43 respectively.

When Kershaw was asked about the poor sales of the album he said:

"I didn't keep their attention – two albums in nine months was a stupid idea because the next one took two and a half years and a lot of people lost interest and went elsewhere, which is fair enough. And the music changed a little bit as well and I produced it myself so that might have been a reason."[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

All songs written and composed by Nik Kershaw

No. Title Length
1. "Radio Musicola"   5:53
2. "Nobody Knows"   4:21
3. "L.A.B.A.T.Y.D."   4:14
4. "What the Papers Say"   3:33
5. "Life Goes On"   5:02

Side two[edit]

No. Title Length
6. "Running Scared"   5:03
7. "James Cagney"   5:20
8. "Don't Let Me Out of My Cage"   4:34
9. "Violet to Blue"   6:16
Additional track


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[7]

  • Nik Kershaw – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, computer
Additional personnel


  • Horn arrangements by the Kick Horns, and Nik Kershaw
  • Produced by Nik Kershaw
  • Recorded and mixed by Stuart Bruce, at Swanyard Studios, London except for "James Cagney" which was mixed at Sarm studios
  • Assistant engineer: Robin Cruikshank
  • Mastered by Ian Cooper


  • Phil Warren – cover art
  • Richard Evans - art direction
  • Andrew Ellis – photography
  • ICON – design, layout

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart[8] 87 5
UK Albums Chart[9] 47 3


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone



  • "When a Heart Beats" #27
    • B-side - "Wild Horses"
  • "Nobody Knows" #44
    • B-side - "One of Our Fruit Machines is Missing"
  • "Radio Musicola" #43
    • B-side - "LABATYD"
  • "James Cagney (Edit)" (Germany only?) Edit-Version drops the second verse before first bridge with shorter outro
    • B-side - "Radio Musicola"

See also[edit]

External links[edit]