Magic 693: The Listening Test

Wednesday 8 November 2006

Over at Sarsaparilla there has been a discussion about whether or not Magic 693 is the haven of awesomeness I described, or a high-rotation hell of the more obvious chestnuts. In the interests of objectivity I listened for an hour or so and wrote down their playlist, reproduced below. Songs with that ineffable “Magic” quality are marked with an asterisk; two asterisks mean a particularly “Magic” segue.
  • Olivia Newton-John: Twist of Fate* (Mis-announced as “Second Time Around”)
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: Tijuana Taxi**
  • Charlie Rich: Behind Closed Doors
  • The Diamonds: Little Darlin’
  • Peter, Paul and Mary: Leaving on a Jet Plane*
  • Stevie Wonder: For Once in My Life
  • Dr Hook: Sharing the Night Together
  • Gene Pitney: Mecca*
  • ABBA: SOS
  • The Walker Bros: The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine
  • Julio Iglesias: Drive (lame Cars cover, not a lame REM cover)

After this low point comes a sustained passage of brilliance which makes Magic so special:

  • Normie Rowe: Ooh La La*
  • Lobo: Don’t Expect Me to Be Your Friend*
  • Ned Miller: Invisible Tears*
  • Herb Ohta: Song for Anna*
  • The Bee Gees: World*
  • Christopher Cross: Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) (back announced with the comment “great lyrics!”)
  • Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz: The Girl from Ipanema (yes, the announcer remembered to name-drop Stan Getz)
  • Tom T. Hall: Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine**
  • Simon and Garfunkel: The Sounds of Silence
  • Lulu: To Sir With Love
  • Foster and Allen: I Will Love You All My Life
  • Bruce Channel: Hey! Baby*
  • Bobby Goldsboro: Summer (The First Time)**
  • Peter and Gordon: I Go To Pieces
  • Rod Stewart: That’s All (Sigh. Rod Stewart covers creaky old standards: the aural equivalent of Patterson’s Curse.)
  • Mary Hopkin: Those Were The Days
  • George Baker Selection: La Paloma Blanca*
  • Bobby Vinton: Blue on Blue
  • Billie Jo Spears: Blanket on the Ground**
  • The Beatles: Michelle
  • Dan Hill: Sometimes When We Touch
  • Lonnie Lee: Starlight Starbright*
  • Kevin Johnson: Rock & Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)*
And then I switched it off. I think this vindicates my opinion, don’t you? Ads included two rival Jayco caravan salesman, a shop that sells those self-lifting recliner rockers, Australian Pensioner Funerals, Ian Reid Vendor Advocacy (“Go on, ring us!”), Bayside Skin Cancer Clinic, Tyabb Packing House Antiques (“Need a new sideboard?”), and Leafbusters. Strangely, nothing from either Bargain National Tiles or OzKnits (“Love your cardigan! Paris?” “No! OzKnits at Ringwood!”)
I know it’s hard to imagine a station that plays “La Paloma Blanca” for serious, but look at their song choices for ONJ, Gene Pitney, and the Bee Gees! All that’s missing is Gary Puckett, and not spinning in either “Goodbye” or “Tema Harbour” for Mary Hopkin, but these are equally likely to happen at any hour of the day.
Also, Lonnie Lee has recorded a musical tribute to Steve Irwin, available for download! Lyrics printed for singalong with your kiddies, or anyone else’s kiddies.
  1. The guy opposite me listens to Magic. Usually I hate radios being on in an office but I must admit the music is so inoffensive that I've actually come to like it.

    I fucking LOVE Tijuana Taxi, and the first time I heard it come on I charged across the room and cranked it right up. A ** classic if there ever was one.

    I've never heard Crimson and Clover or 24 Hours From Tulsa though – and I would have expected those to be the two biggest gimmies of all time on that station.

  2. Exactly! It's "easy listening" but remarkably light on the hateful shit by Billy Joel or Celine Dion and their ilk.

    I have heard "24 Hours From Tulsa", but the great thing about Magic is that, rather than just playing that and "Liberty Valance" ad nauseam, they will also stun you with at least half a dozen Gene Pitney songs, which is probably more than is necessary but at least it keeps things lively.

    Great, now I've got "Looking Through The Eyes of Love" running through my head.

  3. Tijuana Taxi is triffic – I need to hear it now.