Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds recalls early pushback to “Radioactive”: “This song won’t play on radio”

Credit: Neil Krug

For the last seven years, Imagine Dragons‘ hit “Radioactive” has held the record for the most weeks spent on the Billboard Hot 100. While that record has now been broken by The Weeknd‘s “Blinding Lights,” it’d be hard to call “Radioactive” anything but a rousing success, especially given where it started.

As frontman Dan Reynolds tells Billboard, “Radioactive” wasn’t on anybody’s radar when ID was first getting started.

“Once we signed [to Interscope], it wasn’t like everybody at the label was like, ‘This is the song,'” Reynolds recalls. “In fact, it was the opposite. ‘It’s Time’ was the first single, and we [already] had ‘Radioactive’ at that point.”

“Nobody thought that that song would play on radio,” he continues. “In fact, I remember our radio department specifically being like, ‘This song won’t play on radio.’ But the song just started to go on its own, and then it just went to radio because it kind of had a life of its own, and it kinda dictated its own way.”

Surely that conversation will be a pivotal scene if anyone decides to make an Imagine Dragons biopic.

As for “Radioactive’s” now-beaten record, Reynolds feels good that it fell to The Weekend, whom he calls a “legend” and an “icon.”

“I think his music is the type of music that’s going to live on for a long time, and do good things,” Reynolds says. “So if there was ever someone to take the record, I think it’s good company.”

Meanwhile, Imagine Dragons is gearing up to release a new album called Mercury — Act 1 on September 3. It features the singles “Follow You,” “Cutthroat” and “Wrecked.”

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