Mexican Radio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Mexican Radio"
Mexican Radio.jpg
Single by Wall of Voodoo
from the album Call of the West
B-side"Call of the West"
GenreNew wave, dark wave, post-punk, alternative rock
Length4:08 (album version)
3:55 (single/music video edit)
LabelIRS Records
Songwriter(s)Wall of Voodoo
Producer(s)Richard Mazda
Audio sample
"Wall Of Voodoo - Mexican Radio"

"Mexican Radio" is a song by American new wave band Wall of Voodoo. Produced by Richard Mazda, the track was initially released on their 1982 album Call of the West and was released as a single in early 1983. Despite regular airplay on MTV in their native United States,[1] the song had moderate commercial success, peaking at no. 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2] It did better in other parts of the world, peaking at no. 18 in Canada, no. 21 in New Zealand and no. 33 in Australia.[3] It also reached no. 64 in the UK.[4]


Wall of Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgway and guitarist Marc Moreland cited listening to high-wattage unregulated AM Mexican radio stations (among them XERF, XEG, and XERB) as the inspiration for the song.[citation needed]

Moreland was the first to begin writing the song. In a recorded interview in the 1990s, he stated, "It was basically just me singing 'I'm on a Mexican radio' over and over again".[citation needed] Moreland added that, when he played it for his mother, she hated it because of his repetitious lyrics. Ridgway collaborated with Moreland to finish the song, adding all the verse lyrics to Moreland's chorus and guitar lick, as well as the "mariachi" harmonica melody in the song's middle breakdown. When performing live with Wall of Voodoo, Ridgway usually played the mariachi melody via an organ/synthesizer and Bill Noland used a synthesizer to play the melody when performing with Wall of Voodoo in the 1982–1983 era.

Single version[edit]

The 7" single mix differs in a few areas from the album cut:[citation needed]

  • Ridgway's vocals are mixed differently, with a more pronounced echo effect on certain lines.
  • The first few bars of the LP version have no overtalk while the single version does.
  • A loud Spanish-speaking DJ voice is present on both versions, but each version's voice is different and is saying different words.
  • A significantly louder snare drum part is noticeable in the song's chorus.
  • Ridgway chants "radio, radio, oleo, radio" at the song's end, rather than "radio, radio, radio, radio" as he does on the album version. Because of this, the single mix is sometimes called the "oleo" mix.
  • A pulsing, mangled synth noise is heard at the end of the song on the album version, but not in the 7" mix. Instead, this sound is heard at the beginning of the track, as well as during the song's instrumental break.


7" single[edit]

Side A

  1. "Mexican Radio" - 3:55

Side B

  1. "Call of the West" - 6:00
  • In the USA, 2 different catalog numbers were shown on the 7" single. The first, SP-70963 on IRS label was for promotional use only. and issued without a picture sleeve.[5] The second, IR-9912 on IRS label released for both promotional and commercial use with a picture sleeve .[6]

Two Songs by Wall of Voodoo 12" single[edit]

Side A

  1. "Mexican Radio" - 3:55

Side B

  1. "There's Nothing on This Side" - 10:00
  • Side B is actually two separate tracks. The first is an instrumental piece, which leads directly into "Mexican Radio (Limited Edition Special Dub Mix)" which is unlisted.

1989 mini CD reissue[edit]

  1. "Mexican Radio" - 3:55
  2. "Tomorrow" - 2:43
  3. "Call of the West" - 5:35
  • Tracks 2 and 3 recorded live at Barstow Auditorium, Barstow, CA on August 18, 1982.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was produced and directed by Francis Delia at his studio on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, as well as on location in Tijuana, Mexico. Wall of Voodoo rehearsed down the hall from Delia's commercial photography studio and chose him to direct the video. The video's fast cutting, impressionistic dark images and faux documentary style in Mexico made it one of the most popular clips in MTV history to that point in time[7] and was in heavy rotation throughout 1983.

Iconic images include a morbidly obese woman (Ann Marie Bates), uncovering a large bowl of baked beans—cooked by Bob Casale of Devo[8]—from which the face of Stan Ridgway emerges.[9] The Los Angeles studio photography was done in a nearly 24-hour span and left the production bereft of extras, forcing the director to cameo as an anonymous Mexican turning an iguana on a spit over a campfire. The wardrobe for the video was provided by Genny Schorr and Tony Riviera of the Strait Jacket clothing store in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. ^ Steffen Hung. "New Zealand charts portal". Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 590. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "SP-70963 Promo Only". Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  6. ^ "IR-9912". Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  7. ^ Delia, Francis; Patrick Goldstein (September 2, 1983). "DELIA FILMS DREAMS, NIGHTMARES". Los Angeles Times. RAD PICS. pp. two (2).
  8. ^
  9. ^