Song on the Radio

“I was kind of making fun of Arista Records” who had “asked for a mid-tempo ballad with a saxophone…They wanted a song that could be played on the radio, [so] very tongue-in-cheek I wrote…’Song on the Radio’. I thought they’d [get that] I was actually joking, but of course they didn’t & …put it out as a single [which] made the Top 30, [so] the joke was on me because I screwed up a preposition” – referring to the opening lines “I was making my way through the wasteland/ The road into town passes through” which ends with a preposition – “Worse, I used the same word [through] twice in the same sentence.” – Al Stewart

This is why I love Al Stewart so damn much. He has a hit single and he’s embarrassed that he made a grammatical mistake. Never mind that most hit singles are just a series of words that barely hang together. Al Stewart’s songs have to be able to double as an academic submission. Stewart proves that even when being ironic, he actually does know how to write a radio-friendly hit song: lead strong with a sax solo, declare the depth and passion of your love, don’t mention Hitler.