Song Lyric Sunday — You Turn Me On

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams chose the theme “Record/Juke Box/DJ/Radio.” I believe you can never go wrong with Joni Mitchell, which is why I chose her song, “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio.”

Written and recorded in 1972 by singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell, “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio” was released on her fifth studio album, For the Roses. It was also released as single, where it was her first top-forty hit in the United States, reaching number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Joni’s record label was putting pressure on her to release a hit song, as very few of her singles hit the charts. So this song was her effort to get a popular hit. It lacks a chorus or any repetitive hooks, but because it is specifically about disc jockeys and radio stations, it got lots of airplay.

“I decided there were some ways to make a hit, increase the chances,” Mitchell said. “DJs have to like it, so you put a long part at the beginning and the end so the DJs can talk over it. Take a tender situation and translate it into commonly appealing songs for the DJs. It’d have to be a bit corny, so I wrote this little song called ‘Oh Honey, You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio.’”

The song is sung from the perspective of a radio, explaining all the ways it can please listeners. The station is always there to serve, and while it might not always have a clear signal, it knows what you want to hear.

Here are the lyrics to the song.

If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love you

Oh honey you turn me on
I’m a radio
I’m a country station
I’m a little bit corny
I’m a wildwood flower
Waving for you
Broadcasting tower
Waving for you

And I’m sending you out
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear
I know you don’t like weak women
You get bored so quick
And you don’t like strong women
‘Cause they’re hip to your tricks

It’s been dirty for dirty
Down the line
But you know
I come when you whistle
When you’re loving and kind

But if you’ve got too many doubts
If there’s no good reception for me
Then tune me out, ’cause honey
Who needs the static
It hurts the head
And you wind up cracking
And the day goes dismal

From “Breakfast Barney”
To the sign-off prayer
What a sorry face you get to wear
I’m going to tell you again now
If you’re still listening there

If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love you

If you’re lying on the beach
With the transistor going
Kick off the sandflies honey
The love’s still flowing
If your head says forget it
But your heart’s still smoking
Call me at the station
The lines are open

10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — You Turn Me On

  1. scr4pl80 March 31, 2019 / 8:42 am

    I didn’t listen to much Joni Mitchell but this is a nice song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango March 31, 2019 / 9:23 am

      She is excellent. I recommend you take a listen to her “Court and Spark” album for a sampling of some of her best songs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. msjadeli March 31, 2019 / 9:22 am

    Miss Joni Mitchell knows how to write songs. Excellent choice for the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

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