Greenpoint, October, 2015

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

With the Radio On

If you checked out the Reducers' "Roadrunner" from 1981 on yesterday's post, you are probably thinking about Jonathan Richman today. Jonathan recorded his first version of the song in 1972, but it wasn't released until 1976. And it's had a hold on the zeitgeist ever since. A paean to driving, AM radio, Route 128, Stop & Shop. Here's a nice, if obsessive piece, by Laura Barton, a Guardian (UK) writer who spent a lot of time driving 128 and hanging out in Natick--yes, she both drove by and walked by the Stop & Shop--to commune with the song.

Goodbye, Modern World
Jonathan was born in 1951. When he started driving in 1967 or so, 128 was proclaiming itself America's Technology Highway, linking headquarters and plants of Wang, Polaroid, Raytheon, and many others. That's the 128 I knew as a kid. By the time, I was commuting in the 90s, much of that tech had faded. Last I heard, the Polaroid HQ in Waltham will be razed and turned into a mixed-use retail and office space. I never thought much about the building; now it's gone, along with the SX-70 and the Wang OIS, both of which I've used. Here's Jonathan:

I'm in love with modern moonlight
128 when it's dark outside
I'm in love with Massachusetts
I'm in love with the radio on
It helps me from being alone late at night
It helps me from being lonely late at night
I don't feel so bad now in the car
Don't feel so alone, got the radio on
Like the roadrunner
That's right


  1. You should check out the artwork of Patrick Glover. For some reason, his paintings make me recall my childhood days of being driven on Rte 128 and Rte 495. I think you will like them.

  2. Oops - here is the link: