|Musical responses to September 11th:
The list of allegedly ‘banned’ songs
|In the wake of the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, a list of 160 “lyrically inappropriate” songs was said to have been distributed to 1,200 radio stations in the US, and consequently bands such as Rage Against The Machine were allegedly banned from a large number of American radio stations.
In the wake of the devastating terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon one of the programme directors and senior executives of Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio network in the US, created a list of 160 “potentially inappropriate songs”, according to Mark Armstrong who wrote the article ‘ “Imagine” All the Inappropriate Songs’ one week after the attacks.
The list was said to have been distributed to the network’s 1,200 radio stations across the country with the suggestion that the songs should not be played on the air. While rumors initially floated that the list was a corporate mandate, or a cruel hoax, the radio conglomerate insisted that the programme director created and distributed the list on his own initiative.
“Given the environment, a Clear Channel program director took it upon himself to identify a number of songs that certain markets or individuals may find insensitive today,” the company said in a statement. “This was not a mandate, nor was the list generated out of the corporate radio offices. It was a grassroots effort that was apparently circulated among programme directors.”
Free-speech activists expressed concern that the list was even passed around.
“It’s very dangerous,” said Nina Crowley, director of MassMic, a music free-speech organisation.
“I understand they’re pulling certain violent songs. But you put out a list of songs like this, and the next thing you know someone’s pulling the albums off the shelves in Wal-Mart.”
Most upsetting, Crowley said, was the inclusion of “all songs by Rage Against the Machine” on the list.
“That’s political stand against what Rage Against the Machine has to say,” she warned.
The disputed list
3 DOORS DOWN – Duck and Run
The Guardian – 20 September 2001:
Banned songlist revealed as fake
For over two decades Public Enemy has been challenging the realities of the U.S.A. poignantly rapping about problems in race relations, economic distribution, the police system, and of course, the political system. Few PE songs have made it to radio or MTV due to the heavy censorship they face for speaking of the world as they see it. Chuck D was interviewed by Freemuse in Copenhagen, 13th of June 2003