The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 March 2010

Rush Limbaugh Propels Forgotten Composer To Number One In Music


Dead Since 1977, Argentine Composer Rockets Up The Charts

As a long-forgotten Argentine composer rocketed up today's music charts, the power of talk radio was once again underscored.

All it took was the airing of a brief selection during Rush Limbaugh's radio program yesterday (and a subsequent mention today) to propel Waldo de los Rios into first place at Amazon, ahead of new releases by Jimi Hendrix and Sade.

Previously, de los Rios works were ranked 130,000 or lower and most titles aren't even in print, forcing his label to "rush" a fresh pressing for the sake of Limbaugh listeners.

De los Rios took his own life in 1977 and his work has attracted little attention since, but retains a cult following. He's best remembered for fusing together classics and pop music, soundtracks and some film work.

Reacting to the sales surge (Serie de Oro, a 2003 re-release of his work, did not reach number one until after today's program), Limbaugh himself expressed amazement:

RUSH: You know, this really is amazing. I very seldom am impressed by anything I do. I've become used to it. But this, this that's happened here with Waldo de los Rios at Amazon is mind-boggling. Now, listen to this been played Waldo de los Rios, Mozart Symphony 40 G minor yesterday, right after the third hour of the program began. I played it because people asked me what I was playing the air violin to here on the Dittocam.

So yesterday at the time we played Waldo de los Rios on Amazon, the CD that we played the song from ranked in 136,000th place. At the moment, Waldo de los Rios is in 31st place. He is up 439,000%. With that song being played one time yesterday, mentioned by me one time on this program. In addition to that, Waldo de los Rios is now number one on Amazon in the Classical Music Imports Latin Music category. After playing the song one time through the flamethrower setting of our Aphex MK-2020, hot dog compressor. I mean, up 486,000%. Stunning! And they sit there and they talk about Oprah.


RUSH: Folks, this is incredible here what's happening with Waldo de los Rios. Yesterday I played Mozart symphony 40 G minor one time. Yesterday the CD containing the tune at Amazon was in 136,705th place. Twenty minutes ago it was in 31st place. Right now it's at 19th place. It is up 719,400%.

Now, you gotta figure here, Waldo de los Rios passed away to the great conductor's pit in 1977. He's gotta have family. His record company, "What the hell is happening here?" And, in fact, there are three Waldo de los Rios CDs that are number one, two, and three at Amazon's Movers & Shakers in music, all categories, after playing that tune one time. And now people that didn't hear it yesterday: "Well, what is it?" Pot it up, Brian. I got it playing behind me right now, here's a little sample of it. We're going to play it out of my computer from iTunes so let 'er rip. Right at the top here, from the beginning -- no, it's the end. The end sounds like the beginning. Hear that compression, suck up that beginning.

Consider this another reminder of the power of talk radio's audience. When sales departments claim they can't sell controversial programming because of advertiser fears, it's simply an excuse for poor performance. A devoted listenership supports its favorite hosts financially.

This also obliterates the assertions of a Boston station that recently lost the rights to Limbaugh's program, only to claim in the press it was their own idea to "cancel" him. That outlet was built around its airing of Rush and will struggle to survive without him.

HAVE YOU SEEN our companion site for New England regional talk radio updates?

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  • How many people would have never heard of Manheim Steamroller without Rush?

    By Blogger GeronL, at 11 March, 2010 23:20  

  • Awesome analysis Brian. This example certainly does show the power of talk radio's audience.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 March, 2010 01:37  

  • Words are energy dispensed..
    Words are alive, when spoken they touch the hearts and minds of the
    Rush proves that every day, blessing or cursing, life or death
    are in the power of the tongue.
    Be careful little mouth what you say, choose life!
    Rush's words spoke life into something that was dead and gave it life..

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12 March, 2010 10:30  

  • Just to make a technical point: Mozart is the "composer", Waldo is the arranger. This is NOT to take away anything from the success of this piece! I just want to make sure who gets credit for the right action.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 March, 2010 11:22  

  • I listened to the cuts available at, and the version of "Va, pensiero" is literally obscene. Verdi was an Italian nationalist when the country was split up and occupied by its enemies. "Va, pensiero" became an anthem of Italian longing for freedom; De Los Rios turns it into a disco tune. By the way, one playing on NPR's "Weekend Edition/Saturday" a few years ago of a selection called the "Neruda Songs" by the contemporary composer Peter Lieberson performed by his then wife (she is now deceased) Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, catapaulted the CD to near the top of all CDs sold that week. TO REPEAT: ONE PLAYING ON NPR ON A SATURDAY MORNING!

    By Anonymous Laurence Glavin, at 12 March, 2010 16:15  

  • Mr. Glavin, I get your point, but lighten up. It's actually not bad:

    The video's pretty cool, too.

    By Blogger ProudGulfWarVet65, at 13 March, 2010 04:29  

  • WE HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME LARRY. It's no wonder the liberals who listen to NPR would like songs dedicated to the Communist-hack Neruda. Have you ever read his poetry. What a narcissistic buffoon. Again, much like NPR listeners, who you have pointed out enter the free market to surprisingly buy CDs too...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 March, 2010 06:27  

  • Most sensible people can set aside politics from aesthetics. (In a similar vein, it's common to describe copmedians as "funny" or "not funny" based on their politics...I can enjoy both Stephanie Miller AND Dennis Miller.) The poems set in the "Neruda Songs" are love poems that are completely congruent with love poems set by Beethoven (the composer, not the St. Bernard for the musically impaired) in his "Lieder An Die Ferne Geliebten"; there is a poem in the "Neruda" set about a loved one travelling away even for one day; or other songs by Schubert, Brahms and Mahler (ok SAD songs). From time to time, I've come across lines of poetry by the American-born writer Ezra Pound, who was a much-maligned figure in his day; but if the poetry works, who cares?

    By Anonymous Laurence Glavin, at 14 March, 2010 14:29  

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