The Selecter Struts Its Stuff

The Selecter, UK ska band from the 70’s is hitting the streets once more with its single ‘On My Radio’. Led by front woman Pauline Black, The Selecter has been selected by Virgin Money to promote their one minute campaign accompanied by the signatory digital piano Hammond organ sound and a setting of a lone pigeon dancing on the cobbles! In a desperate attempt to understand the wider context of this Virgin promo I may have overlooked the association of these disparate elements of The Selecter, pigeon and money; I can’t see the connection myself so I’ll just enjoy the birdie strutting his stuff.   The Selecter Struts Its Stuff

The Selecter – ‘On My Radio’

‘On My Radio’ was a relative hit in the UK charts for The Selecter in 1979. The band changed members on a regular basis which didn’t make for a steady ensemble with the one true stalwart throughout being the trademark Hammond Organ sound played on the digital piano.  ‘On My Radio’ typified lyrics with a political message of the day and delivered with an energy backed by ska syncopation. The same stoic chord progression takes us through intro, chorus, verse and middle eight:

 D                                  G      C           D                           G            C

‘’I bought my baby a red radio, He played it all day a go-go, a go-go’’ etc

Feather-Ruffling Effects

The vocals ‘’ooh’’s and the swelling rhythms of the digital piano Hammond Organ sound travel through the track to the section with recognisable potential for further development. A decade early but nonetheless a forward looking Queen-esque nod to the rock opera of the 80’s as The Selecter delivers a call-and-response episode as male incantations are answered with female octave chirps and a tinge of theatre is added to the now mundane ‘On My Radio’’ of the 70’s:

                          C                                     B

’It’s just the same old show – on my radio’’ x 4

So are you any closer to spotting the connection between Virgin Money, manic bird and The Selecter? – well the pigeon didn’t seem to mind the exhaust fumes enhancing his dance routine as he gainfully used them as a smoke screen…


Janet Redwood

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