Weatherman Al Roker Wakes Up To The 'A-Team' Theme

Roker shares his personal playlist in Tell Me More's feature In Your Ear.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We'd like to end today's program with a feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests what they're listening to these days. Now we have the personal playlists of Today Show weatherman and reporter Al Roker. We caught up with Al Roker to talk about "Never Going Back," his memoir about his lifelong struggle with weight. And after our interview, he told us about some of the songs that feed his soul.

AL ROKER: When I get up in the morning, and I have to get jazzed up, I rely on one of the greatest TV themes ever written. It is the theme to the A-Team. It starts off with an instrumental bed. It's got a great narrative in the beginning.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME TO THE A-TEAM)

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped...

ROKER: from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem - if no one else can help and if you can find them - maybe you can hire: The A-Team.

(EXPLOSIONS AND GUNFIRE)

ROKER: And then it goes into a terrific kind of class I military march.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE THEME TO THE A-TEAM)

ROKER: And you can't help but be jazzed, which of course Mr. T always talked about George Peppard's character, John 'Hannibal' Smith, he goes Hannibal's on the jazz man, he's on the jazz.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME TO THE A-TEAM)

STEVIE WONDER: (Singing) Everybody say yeah.

AUDIENCE: Yeah.

WONDER: (Singing) Say, yeah.

AUDIENCE: (Singing) Yeah.

ROKER: Another group of songs that will be playing in my ear - anything by Stevie Wonder.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINGERTIPS, PART TWO")

WONDER: (Singing) Yeah, yeah, yeah.

AUDIENCE: (Singing) Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ROKER: I am of a certain age, and I remember Stevie Wonder. Little Stevie Wonder, when he played "Fingertips (Part Two)."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINGERTIPS, PART TWO")

WONDER: (Singing) Clap your hands, just a little bit louder. Clap your hands, just a little bit louder.

ROKER: And, of course, if you're of that certain age, you remember hearing that song on a transistor radio. And then for the next 25 years, I always felt bad for an artist at the Grammys, if he or she were in the same category as Stevie Wonder. Because you may as well not have even shown up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELTON JOHN SONG, "PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM")

ROKER: Another grouping of songs, and one in particular by this artist is playing in my ear. And that's Elton John. I Love Elton John. There's a certain amount of whimsy about him. (Laughs) Really, that's an understatement.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM")

ELTON JOHN: (Singing) I used to be a Rolling Stone. You know, if the cause was right, I'd leave to find the answer on the road.

ROKER: My favorite Elton John song came out in March of 1974. "Philadelphia Freedom." I was a sophomore in college in 1974, and my brother was staying with me for three weeks. I took him home, came back up to school and the next day my mother called and was curious. She said, why is your baby brother singing about Philadelphia cream cheese? He couldn't pronounce "Philadelphia Freedom" correctly. (Singing) Philadelphia freedom, shine the light.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM")

JOHN: (Singing) Oh Philadelphia freedom, shine on me. I love you. Shine a light. Through the eyes of the ones left behind.

ROKER: And, the best my mom could figure is that it was Philadelphia cream cheese. That was the only thing that she would, because you've got the foil package in the refrigerator. I said no mom it's Philadelphia freedom. Huh? By Elton John. Who? Never mind.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM")

JOHN: (Singing) Philadelphia freedom, I love you. Yes, I do.

MARTIN: That was Today Show weatherman Al Roker telling us what's playing in his ear. And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM")

JOHN: (Singing) If you choose to, you can live your life alone. Some people choose the city, some others, choose the good old family home. I like living easy without family ties. Till the whippoorwill of freedom.

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