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Radio Rats – ZX Dan

Radio Rats – Into The Night We Slide
Radio Rats – ZX Dan
Radio Rats – ZX Dan

‘ZX Dan’, the album’s opening track, is a wonderful piece of new wave space-rock whose similar lyrical theme is a nod to David Bowie‘s 1972 smash hit, ‘Starman’. The song was also inspired by the 1977 Stephen Spielberg film ‘Close Encounters Of The 3rd Kind‘, and has a more polished production than the rest of the album, which is a closer reflection of the band’s raw live energy.

‘ZX Dan’ is still considered one of South Africa’s greatest pop rock songs of all time. In “The SA Rock Digest/Amuzine End Of The Century Big Vote” held at the end of 1999, ‘ZX Dan’ received the second most number of votes in the “All time favourite SA song” category, just behind Bright Blue’s classic, ‘Weeping’.

‘ZX Dan’ was released as a single (backed by ‘Rocking’) and it entered the Radio 5 (now 5FM) charts at number 15 on New Year’s Eve 1978. The song implores the listener to “turn up your radio, and play me that rock and roll”, and it seems that is exactly what the public did. The song scuttled up the charts until peaking at No. 2 on 28 January 1979, where it stayed for two weeks. It was kept off the cherished No. 1 spot by Michael Jackson.

The original album version of ‘ZX Dan’ featured a brilliant, lengthy play-out guitar solo by Jonathan Handley, but sadly this was edited on the single version, which later appeared on the ‘Best Of SA Pop Volume 2‘ CD.

All the songs on ‘Into The Night We Slide’ were generally written by Handley in the Wimpy Bar, The Palladium, and a café in Springs. The album contains references to some very weird and wonderful characters and places, based on his observations of life in this East Rand town. ‘Plague Cafe’ is about a real place on 3rd Street and ‘A Visit To The Cinema’ is a reference to the old movie house ‘The Palladium’.

Lyrics

My name is ZX Dan, I am a spaceman.
My galaxy is doomed, so I’ve moved to your moon.
So turn up your radio, and play me that rock and roll,
Stop feeling so blue – I’m coming down to you.

I’ve watched you on my screen, you’re sweet, sweet sixteen
I’ve monitored your mind, You’re just the loving kind…
So turn up your radio, and play me that rock and roll,
Stop feeling so blue – I’m coming down to you.

Meet me tonight at your window;
Dress warmly for absolute zero
And I’ll come down as quiet as the snow
And we’ll go for a glide in my U.F.O.

The whole of outer space, is tuned into the human race
From pole to frozen pole, your world transmits rock & roll
So turn up your radio, and play me that rock and roll,
Stop feeling so blue – I’m coming down to you.

Written by Jonathan Handley 12 April 1978


Die Lemme – ZX Dan feat Radio Rats, released 10 October 2013


Radio Rats Family Tree
Radio Rats Family Tree | Brian Currin, November 2002

Website

radiorats.co.za

Author:

Playlist Creator & Web Marketer. The son of a church organist father and pianist mother, South African born Brian Currin grew up surrounded by music. In his pre-teen years he realised that he had no real talent for playing music and he couldn't sing, so he immersed himself in the world of music by listening, exploring and researching. Which he still does today. He served in the military for five years, then spent many years in corporate sales and marketing until his involvement in the re-discovery of Rodriguez, opened up a whole new world for him. He was the Content Editor for Rhythm Online, South Africa's first online music store, from 2006 to 2012. He ran Mabu Vinyl, the iconic music store seen in the Oscar-winning "Searching For Sugar Man" film from 2013 to 2019. His voice could be heard on the streaming radio station All Jazz Radio where he hosted the Vagabond Show from 2012 to 2019. He is very involved in promoting South African music, and is the co-owner of a number of music-related websites including www.rock.co.za which he founded in 1999.