Singled Out: The Guess Who's Playin On The Radio

The Guess Who

The Guess Who are gearing up to make a big announcement later today and to celebrate we asked Derek Sharp to tell us about the song "Playin On The Radio". Here is the story:

This was my first attempt to write a song specifically for the band in 2008. When I joined the band, I had sent over some of my solo songs for the guys to listen to. To me, it was more of a formality and I didn't expect anyone to really listen to them. Garry Peterson approached me shortly after cos he loved one of the songs and he mentioned that he really wanted to do some new material. They had tried a bit in the past but nothing came of it. I remember commenting that it would be a tall order to write songs that hold the same weight as the old hits. Firstly, they are great songs and secondly, they have been around so long they are now part of the classic rock vernacular.

I did the demo and it hasn't really changed much since. I remember getting phone calls and emails from Garry and Kimmy, his brother Randy and Randy's wife Verna...They all loved the song and were very encouraging. This validation gave me the sense that we were probably on the right path musically.

The song is basically a lament on the passage of time. We were young, naive and full of exuberance. In those days, the soundtrack to our lives was the radio. Whenever a new great song hit the airwaves, the DJ would say a few words then off to the races! It livened up the party, it was your first kiss, your best friend when you felt alone, it made you drive a little faster in the car and you'd tune in just to hear it over and over again. The character in the song could be any one of us in the back 9 of life. Getting older and coming to terms with that part of your life being long gone is something you just have to experience. It takes a bit of getting used to. The upside is, great music will transport you back to so many great memories in an instant. Music is healing. I see it and feel it every single night in our audience.

And speaking of music, Garry really liked the odd drum pattern from the demo so he incorporated it into his part. Will E. played some of that 60's jangly 12 string guitar. I used my old '69 SG through a Vox AC30 which gave it that Revolver period Beatle vibe. Leo Shaw played those Farfisa type organ lines typical of that period. Tommy Shaw came in and sang some background vocals and the song ended up being our first music video release for the album. Pretty good for the first try!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, go to the band's official site to hear their big news (hopefully announced by the time you read this!) right here!

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