I just read this in an e-notes article on Elton John's co-writer, Bernie Taupin:
"He could pick up the American Forces Network, which was broadcast to the American military in England. He also listed to American music on Radio Luxembourg, a kind of 'pirate' radio station".
That is inaccurate information. Radio Luxembourg was the biggest, legal pop-station in Europe during the '60s - it was NOT a "kind of pirate radio station". I thought e-notes was about accurate information for students?
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You need to do more research. Within the United Kingdom, Radio Luxembourg was a pirate radio station because it got around the law. Until 1973, British law gave the BBC exclusive rights to broadcast within UK territory and, according to wikipedia, "prohibited all forms of advertising over the domestic radio spectrum." Another web site that discusses UK radio history, (http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/ukradio2.html)
notes that Radio Luxembourg was on the air only at night and that its signal would fade in and out. That site also describes Radio Luxembourg of running a payola scam; in other words, the more an artist was able to pay the station, the more often his or her records would be played. Doesn't sound very legit to me.
What has the United Kingdom got to do with whether a radio station is legitimate or not? Radio Luxembourg was a European station and countries such as Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, etc. had as much rights over it as the U.K. Regretfully (for them), the U.K. can only legislate for the U.K., not for other countries.
Payola is a red herring. I know of a number of licensed radio stations where payola was the norm - though it's wrong, it doesn't mean that the station is not licenced to broadcast.
Perhaps the U.K. authorities should have interned everyone who tuned into 208!
I was intrigued by the topic because of Taupin's talent as Elton John's lyricist. His gift with lyrics to Elton's music created some of the best songs of the 1970s. "Rocket Man," "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," "Your Song," as well as "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" are some of the most intricate and powerful songs written. Taupin's lyrics were catchy enough to fit the mold of pop music, but truly reflect a level of displacement within individuals that make them intriguing creatures. He has a way of evoking sadness through words and images that create a picture that resembles defiant sadness. His lyrics are very powerful, indeed.
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