|1990 – 1999
1990. USA. N.W.A.
1990. USA. Sinead O’Connor
1990. USA. Frank Zappa
1991. USA. Skin Up
1991. USA. Garth Brooks
1993. USA. Bodycount
1996. USA. Sheryl Crow
|A more extensive list of censorship incidents in the USA 1950-2000 was created by Eric Nuzum. See below, or see: web.archive.org/ericnuzum.com/banned/
The City Council in Westerly, Rhode Island, passes an ordinance to thwart an upcoming 2 Live Crew concert in the city. The legislation forces the promoter to appear in court to justify why his entertainment license should not be revoked for sponsoring the band’s appearance.
To avoid the newly adopted universal warning sticker, many major recording companies (such as MCA, Arista, Atlantic, Columbia, Electra, Epic, EMI, and RCA) establish committees to review upcoming releases for objectionable material.
Three county prosecutors in Eastern Pennsylvania warn retailers in April that they may be prosecuted if they sell 2 Live Crew’s Nasty As They Wanna Be to minors. Prosecutors in Chester and Delaware County join Montgomery County prosecutor Michael Marino in declaring the album obscene.
Disc Jockey, a retail chain with nearly 200 stores, announces it will not carry any album with the warning sticker. Another large retailer, Trans World (with more than four hundred stores) announces they will require proof of age before selling stickered products.
The Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s department embarks on a campaign to eliminate 2 Live Crew records from the county, spurred by the group’s current hit, “Me So Horny”. After receiving a judge’s declaration that the album is obscene, the Sheriff’s office immediately mails copies of the judge’s ruling to record retailers in the county. They follow up with visits to more than a dozen record stores to inform retailers that they potentially face arrest and prosecution as felons if they continue selling the record. The matter is tied up in the courts for more than three years.
Record Bar, a retail chain with more than 170 stores, announces that it will pull all 2 Live Crew recordings from its stores due to the controversy surrounding the band.
Waxworks, a chain music retailer, refuses to stock any product that carries a parental warning sticker for fear of potential protests and obscenity prosecutions. Following customer complaints and the adaptation of the music industry’s standard sticker, the chain reverses its decision.
Also in March, a Tennessee judge rules that 2 Live Crew’s Nasty As They Wanna Be and N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton are obscene under state law. Anyone arrested for selling the records could face fines from $10,000 to $100,000, depending upon the involvement of minors in the offense.
An Indianapolis record store falls victim to a private sting organized by the group Decency In Broadcasting involving the sale of 2 Live Crew’s Nasty As They Wanna Be to minors.
Following the controversy surrounding 2 Live Crew’s obscenity battle in Florida, six states pass legislation declaring the band’s album Nasty As They Wanna Be legally obscene. The states are Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
Utah Republican Howard Nielson introduces a resolution in Congress that calls for a stricter labeling system for controversial recordings.
In May, a Hamilton, Ohio, a record storeowner is pressured by local law enforcement officials to stop carrying 2 Live Crew’s Nasty As They Wanna Be. The retailer voluntarily pulls the record and avoids possible criminal proceedings.
Fred Meyer Music, a 100-store retailer with outlets in six states, creates its own stickering system to warn parents of objectionable lyrics.
In San Antonio, Texas, a record storeowner is jailed for selling a copy of 2 Live Crew’s Nasty As They Wanna Be to the twenty-year-old son of an anti-pornography activist.
Also in June, James Anders, county solicitor in Columbia, South Carolina, gives local record stores ten days to remove 2 Live Crew’s Nasty As They Wanna Be from their shelves.
Fearing the effects of exposure to controversial songs and performers, the city of Memphis bans minors from attending concerts that feature “potentially harmful” material. The ordinance mimics several others passed in cities such as San Antonio, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida.
In June, a Nebraska radio station leads a boycott of k.d. lang for her anti-meat beliefs. The station rarely plays lang’s records, so their action is largely symbolic.
Louisiana considers a bill to criminalize the sale or distribution of stickered products to any unmarried persons under the age of 17.
After receiving multiple complaints from retailers who threaten to refuse to carry the album, Jane’s Addiction release a second cover for its album Ritual de lo Habitual. The alternative cover shows the band’s and album’s names, and the text of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
About two months after members of 2 Live Crew were arrested in a Florida nightclub for performing material from their controversial album Nasty As They Wanna Be, members of the New York rock band Too Much Joy are arrested in the same club for performing 2 Live Crew songs.
Record World refuses to carry the debut album by Professor Griff in any of its stores, calling it “totally obscene.”
The lead singer of the heavy metal parody band, GWAR, is arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina, on charges of “disseminating obscenity” at one of the band’s performances.
After promoting its premier in a day long “Madonnathon,” MTV refuses to air Madonna’s video for “Justify My Love” because it contains scenes of sadomasochism, homosexuality, cross-dressing, and group sex.
In June, Tele-Community Antenna, a cable service provider with 53 systems in six states, pulls MTV from all its systems. Although TCA denies that negative publicity influences their decision, TCA restores MTV to most of its systems within two weeks.
One of the nation’s largest cable providers, with 55 systems in nineteen states, announces it plans to replace MTV with the less-controversial Video Jukebox Network. Sammons relents and returns MTV to its basic cable service four months later.
Country Music Television and its parent company The Nashville Network both ban Garth Brooks’ video for “The Thunder Rolls” because it graphically depicts domestic violence.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human-rights group, lobbies four major record chains to remove Ice Cube’s Death Certificate from their shelves.
Washington State legislators pass a bill banning the sale of “erotic music” to minors; the bill amends the state’s “harmful to minors” statute to include musical recordings.
Following the controversy surrounding Ice Cube’s album Death Certificate, the state of Oregon makes it illegal to display Ice Cube’s image in any retail store. The ban even extends to ads for St. Ides Malt Liquor, which uses Ice Cube as a spokesperson.
The police chief of Guilderland, New York, threatens local retailers who sell albums bearing the universal parental warning sticker with violation of New York’s obscenity laws.
Super Club Music Corporation releases a memo in April restricting sales of stickered and non-stickered rap titles to minors. Furthermore, the chain encourages managers to restrict the sale of certain titles to customers eighteen and older, whether they carry a warning label by the manufacturer.
In a sting coordinated by a group calling themselves Oklahoma for Decency, four music stores in Omaha, Nebraska, are charged with “distributing material harmful to minors” for selling 2 Live Crew’s Sports Weekend to teenagers.
John Moran’s “The Manson Family” becomes the first classical recording to carry a parental warning sticker.
Following intense public pressure and protest, in July Ice-T drops the song “Cop Killer” from his Body Count album. One month after the album is released, police organizations across the country protest Ice-T, begin boycotting all Time-Warner products, and threaten to divest the Time-Warner stock owned by police pension funds.
After Irish singer Sinead O’Connor tears up a photograph of Pope John Paul II during a December performance on Saturday Night Live, critics quickly call for boycotts of her albums.
In October, two Urban Contemporary radio stations (WBLS-FM in New York and KACE-FM in Los Angeles) announce they will begin to screen rap songs according to their own standards of decency.
Wal-Mart and K-Mart refuse to stock Nirvana’s second major label album, In Utero, because they object to the cover art and one of the song titles. Shortly after the record becomes the number one selling album in the country, the mass merchandisers strike a deal to carry the album. The album’s back cover art is subdued and the title of the offending song is changed from “Rape Me” to “Waif Me.”
The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds hearings in April to determine the necessity of rating “gangsta” rap records to prevent violence among teens.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich tells Broadcasting and Cable magazine that he strongly encourages advertisers to pull all advertisements on radio stations that broadcast rap music.
Singer Marilyn Manson is arrested by police in Jacksonville, Florida, for violating the “Adult Entertainment Code.” Police thought Manson was inserting a dildo into his anus while urinating on the audience.
Following protests that Michael Jackson’s song “They Don’t Care About Us” is anti-Semitic, Jackson changes the song’s lyrics.
In May, conservative William Bennett and National Political Congress of Black Women chairwoman C. Delores Tucker speak at a Time-Warner shareholders meetings and urge the company to drop all Warner Music’s rap artists who use violent and/or sexually degrading lyrics.
Ten years after the PMRC’s creation, the organization’s Executive Director, Barbara Wyatt, renews the call for a records ratings system that is similar to the system in place for films and television.
In December, during their lunch hours, fifteen state employees drive to Boston’s WBCN-FM to picket the station for playing music from Hempilation, a CD released as a fundraiser for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Wal-Mart refuses to carry Sheryl Crow’s self-titled second album because one of the songs contains an unflattering comment about the discount retailer’s gun sales policy.
A group calling themselves the “Oklahomans for Children and Families” urges the Oklahoma City Council to cancel a lease with a concert promoter who is planning a Marilyn Manson concert at the State Fairgrounds.
Three owners of Lyric Hall in Oxford, Mississippi, are arrested and handed six month jail terms for booking a performance by 2 Live Crew.
The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police sues The Crucifucks and their label, Alternative Tentacles, for featuring a photo of a dead policeman on the cover of the band’s album Our Will Be Done.
City officials in Richmond, Virginia attempt to cancel a Marilyn Manson concert because they feel the group’s songs promote rape, murder, and self-mutilation.
In June, Insane Clown Posse’s The Great Milenko is pulled from stores and the band is dropped from their record label within hours of the album’s release. The band’s label, Hollywood Records, receives their marching orders from their parent company, Disney, even though company officials had known of the album’s content for nearly a year.
Also in June, Texas Governor George W. Bush signs into law a rider to a state appropriations bill. The rider requires state pension funds to divest any assets that are invested in record companies that produce “obscene” albums.
Local authorities ban a group of Cuban musicians from performing in Miami in September. The musicians hope to play at an international trade show to showcase the talent of Latin American and Caribbean artists.
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback leads the Senate Commerce Committee in a November hearing on popular music lyrics and the effectiveness of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) universal parental warning sticker.
Students at Southview High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, are suspended in December after protesting a ban on rock and rap t-shirts in their school.
Following protests by groups such as The National Organization for Women over the single “Smack My Bitch Up,” K-Mart and Wal-Mart pull Prodigy’s The Fat of the Land from shelves – even though they have sold the CD for nine months.
18-year-old Eric Van Hoven is suspended from Zeeland High School in Holland, Michigan, for wearing a tee shirt promoting the band Korn, even though the shirt contains no images or words save the band’s name.
Police arrest Shawn Thomas in March after reading the lyrics to his new album ‘Til My Casket Drops. Thomas – better known as gangsta rapper C-Bo – had been paroled in early 1997 after serving nine months on a weapons-related conviction. Thomas’ parole agreement, states that he is not permitted “to engage in any behavior which promotes the gang lifestyle, criminal behavior and/or violence against law enforcement.” But “Deadly Game,” a song on the new CD, contains lyrics criticizing California’s “three strikes and you’re out” law. “You better swing, batter, swing ’cause once you get your third felony, yeah, 50 years you gotta bring …Fuck my P.O., I’m going A.W.O.L. … bound for another state, me and my crew …California and Pete Wilson can suck my dick.” Within days of the album’s release, Thomas is arrested and charged with parole violation.
Florida legislators withhold $104,000 in state funding for public radio station WMNF because they object to the station’s programming.
At a Fort Worth, Texas, conference sponsored by Crime Prevention Resource Center (CPRC), representatives of several local police departments advocate the forced hospitalization of Marilyn Manson fans, also advocating the classification of “goth rock” fans as street gangs.
An April Indigo Girls concert scheduled for a South Carolina high school is canceled when the school’s principal learns the performers are gay.
William Bennett and C. Delores Tucker renew their calls against rap music, this time joined by U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Sam Nunn. Examples of the group’s targets include: Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G., Geto Boys, The Dogg Pound, Tupac Shakur, Gravediggaz, Cypress Hill, Lords of Acid, Black Crowes, and Blues Traveler.
Michigan legislators consider a bill that will require minors to be accompanied by their parents to certain rock concerts. Under the bill, advertisements for such concerts must include a warning label that is similar to CDs and cassettes.
Westerly, Rhode Island, high school student Robert Parker is suspended for wearing a shirt inscribed with a “devilish” message. The shirt features the numbers “666” and a rendering of singer Rob Zombie.
The high school band at Fort Zumbald North High School in St. Louis is forbidden from playing the Jefferson Airplane hit “White Rabbit” because of drug references in the song’s lyrics, even though the band’s version of the song is entirely instrumental.
In February, the City Council of Richmond, Virginia, unanimously passes an ordinance outlawing any “pornographic” performance if minors might view such performances. Richmond’s council previously attempted to ban Marilyn Manson from performing at the city-owned Richmond Coliseum.
State representatives in Georgia and North Dakota introduce legislation forbidding the sale of stickered CDs and cassettes to minors.
High school students at Kettle Moraine High School in Wales, Wisconsin, are required to show ID to view Rolling Stone magazine in their school library. The school board decides that students must be 18 years of age to view the magazine’s contents, even though a child of any age could purchase it at local stores.
Michigan passes legislation aimed at creating a concert ratings system that is similar to the system used to rate movies.
Local residents pressure the school board in Streetsboro, Ohio, after the board agrees that school facilities can be used for “Spring Mosh ’99.” The city’s mayor had originally denied a permit for the event, citing safety concerns during the concert.
Following a customer complaint about obscene lyrics, both Wal-Mart and K-Mart pull Godsmack’s self-titled debut album, even though the band’s label (Universal) did not feel the album lyrics warranted a parental warning sticker.
State assemblyman Robert D’Andrea introduces a bill in the New York legislature aimed at banning the sale of targeted recordings to minors.
In the wake of the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, presidential candidate Dan Quayle suggests that conservatives publish the names and addresses of record company executives and board members. Quayle feels the information may prove useful so “neighbors can go to their fancy cocktail parties and make them ashamed.”
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback holds a congressional hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee into the link between teen violence and the entertainment industry.
A school superintendent in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, forbids students from wearing Marilyn Manson tee shirts or other “goth” attire.
State park officials in Kentucky un-invite blues singer Bobby Rush, because they fear his act is too sexually suggestive.
The City Council of Fresno, California, unanimously passes a resolution that condemns musicians whose music is filed with “anger and hate.”
President Clinton requests, and Congress approves, government inquiries into any possible link between teen violence and the entertainment industry. The measure charges the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to investigate if the entertainment industry targets advertising for violent products at children (similar to an investigation of the tobacco industry two years earlier).
A Jewish advocacy group calls for boycotts of the rap group Public Enemy over their single “Swindler’s Lust,” claiming that the single is anti-Semitic. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, says the song is rife with anti-Semitic references.
K-Mart refuses to stock Ministry’s Dark Side of the Spoon because the company objects to the album’s cover, which features an overweight nude woman who is wearing a dunce hat and facing a chalkboard.
Senator Sam Brownback writes a letter to Seagrams/MCA (parent company to Interscope Records), asking them “to cease and desist profiteering from peddling violence to young people,” and suggesting that the company cease production of all Marilyn Manson records.
The Parish-City Council of Lafayette, Louisiana, passes an ordinance that requires truth in concert advertising, following an appearance of the Family Values Tour (featuring hard-core and rap acts such as Korn, Orgy, Ice Cube, and Limp Bizkit) at the area’s Cajundome.
Church groups and community members in Georgia campaign for the cancellation of the Hard Rock Rockfest, fearing the music of some of the artists will incite attendees to commit violent acts that are similar to those recently experienced at schools in Colorado and Georgia.
Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois introduces legislation that would require music retailers to provide lyric sheets to parents “on demand.”
Senators McCain of Arizona and Lieberman of Connecticut introduce to the Senate the 21st Century Media Responsibility Act of 1999. The measure proposes changing the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (which strictly regulates how tobacco products can be advertised) to include entertainment products.
The County Commission in Birmingham, Alabama passes a resolution to “eliminate violent, vulgar concerts” from the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
In July, officials at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York, cancel a musical performance presented by Bedroom Productions featuring a group of deejays and electronic musicians. Officials received complaints from local residents about the performance, which contained obscenities directed towards police.
In August, the national Fraternal Order of Police announces a mass boycott against musical artists who support a new trial for death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. The group specifically targets Rage Against The Machine and the Beastie Boys, but plans to keep an updated list on its website once it has compiled a list of all the musicians who support Abu-Jamal.
In October, the group Rock for Life urges mass boycotts and cancellations of Rage Against The Machine over the content of their album The Battle for Los Angeles.
In November, 400 police officers picket a Rage Against The Machine concert at the Worchester Centrum in Massachusetts after calling for the concert’s cancellation. The protestors are angered by the band’s support of convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Third Eye Blind gives in to record company pressure to remove the song “Slow Motion” from their second album, Blue. The song, originally intended as an anti-violence song, contains multiple reference to drugs, violence, and youth murders similar to the Columbine shootings earlier in the year.
The National Football League drops a series of four commercials based on rapper Eminem’s song “My Name Is” because they felt the song was too controversial, even though the commercials contained none of the original lyrics.
Police officers in Northwood, Ohio, order 14-year-old Daniel Shellhammer to remove his shirt, which features slogans for the rap group Insane Clown Posse. The officers inform Shellhammer that Insane Clown Posse clothing is “banned” in Ohio and that they tear the shirt off his back and arrest him if he does not comply.
Police in New Iberia, Louisiana, close down a roller skating rink in February, and seize more than 60 CDs, after a fight broke out in the rink’s parking lot. Police accused the rink’s management of instigating the incident by playing music over the rink’s PA system. Amongst the confiscated CDs are Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the popular tunes “The Chicken Dance,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “The Hokey Pokey,” and “Jingle Bells.”
A private school in San Antonio, Texas, suspends four students for attending a Backstreet Boys concert in March. The students are suspended for one day for violating a school policy forbidding “involvement in inappropriate music [or] dancing.”
Tennessee’s state Senate and General Assembly consider the “Tennessee 21st Century Media Market Responsibility Act of 2000,” which requires state’s Department of Children’s Services to screen movies, video games, and music. The legislation also calls for a ratings system for all violent entertainment media which decides on the appropriateness of material for young people.
After airing the video for over a month, MTV requests edits in the video for the Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch.” The request comes after complaints from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
The rap group The Murderers see their album Irv Gotti Presents The Murderers delayed three times over their label’s concerns about the album’s themes.Students at the University of Maryland and University of Wisconsin ask for the cancellation of performances by the Bloodhound Gang over lyric content of an unreleased song. The song, entitled, “Yellow Fever,” details the protagonist’s desire to have sex with Asian women.
The New York Fraternal Order of Police places Bruce Springsteen on its boycott list, and calls for the cancellation of his New York performances, after Springsteen debuts a song about the shooting of Amadou Diallo entitled, “American Skin.”
In August, two Michigan concerts of the Up in Smoke tour (staring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and Eminem) cause police intervention over violent and sexual imagery. During the concert, a video is shown featuring a robbery and partially-naked women.
The Federal Trade Commission holds hearings before the U.S. Senate contending that the entertainment industry (including record companies) should be regulated and sanctioned for deliberately marketing violent and sexual content to children.
Loud Records succumbs to pressure from national video outlets to remove images of nooses around the necks of Dead Prez in the clip for their song “They Schools.” Group member M-1 objected, saying “This represents our people, poor and oppressed, trying to claim their right to a fair and just life. The U.S. education system has been the primary force behind the miseducation of our people.”
Ten University of Illinois students lobby the institution to cancel an on-campus concert by the Anger Management Tour because the concert tour features rapper Eminem. According to a spokesperson for the students, “We believe that [Eminem’s] lyrics are a form of harassment categorically on the basis of sexual orientation and sex.”
Circuit City announces it will put a cardboard sleeve around Marilyn Manson’s Holy Wood CD in its 622 stores. The cover features a painting of singer Manson, crucified and gored. The cardboard cover-up features a picture of Manson’s face taken from the original cover.
Two New Jersey state senators introduce a bill requiring a mandatory parental advisory sticker on CDs that advocate suicide, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, rape or involuntary sexual penetration, murder, morbid violence, ethnic, racial intimidation, the use of illegal drugs or the excessive or illegal use of alcohol. Under the law, any artist that discusses these themes, and does not have a mandatory sticker, will be subject to fines and imprisonment.
The Bloodhound Gang cancel a demand that certain elements of their concert be removed from the Boise show. The band received a six-page fax from the show’s promoter, Bravo Entertainment, detailing the offensive elements to be removed.
Circuit City pulls the Free the West Memphis Three benefit CD after receiving complaints from the group Parents of Murdered Children. Transworld Entertainment (which owns Strawberries, Camelot, Coconuts, and Record Town) also pulls the CD.
Connecticut U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman introduces legislation that would fine music companies $11,000 a day for marketing CDs with “Parental Advisory” stickers to minors.
After a performance in Daytona Beach, Florida, the city’s mayor announces he will do everything possible to ensure rapper Eminem does not perform in the city again. The mayor was upset by the use of profanity and drug references during the concert.
A federal court ruled that a student is not permitted to wear an Insane Clown Posse t-shirt to school, saying it is disruptive. The school principal says the t-shirt is not the issue, but the philosophies the band represents.
Members of the Harvest Assembly of God Church in Butler County, Pennsylvania, burn a collection of books, tapes, and CDs. Music included in the burning: REM, Joe Walsh, Foreigner, AC/DC, and Pearl Jam, among others. Said one church member, “We thought we wouldn’t be loyal to God by listening to them.”
MTV pulls the video for Madonna’s “What It Feels Like for a Girl” because of the video’s depiction of violence.
Police in Galveston, Texas, handcuff rapper L-Burna, aka Layzie Bone, for reciting explicit lyrics to his entourage outside their hotel. Galveston has laws against public profanity.
A mother in Montgomery County, Maryland, sues AOL Time Warner and Trick Daddy because a CD labled “Clean” contained profanity. She charges the rapper and his label misrepresent the product to consumers.
A Denver, Colorado, group called Citizens for Peace and Respect, with the support of the state’s governor and congressman, rally against a local appearance by Marilyn Manson. In the wake of the 1999 Columbine shootings, it was widely (and incorrectly) believed that Manson’s music inspired the killings.
A promoter in Jackson, Tennessee, pulls the plug on a concert by Juvenile because of profane lyrics, saying it is not appropriate for children. No refunds are offered.
Producers of Late Night with David Letterman cancel an appearance by singer Ani DiFranco after she refuses to drop plans to perform the song “Subdivision.” The song deals with racism and white flight to the suburbs.
MTV decides to air the popular tune “Because I Got High”—but only in certain day parts because of its drug theme. The network says it will not air the video during its popular teen show, “Total Request Live.”
Police in Fall River, Massachusetts, shut down a concert by Prognosis Negative for vulgar language and lyrics against police, claiming the community festival where the band is performing is “family-oriented.” Festival organizers vow the musicians will not play at the festival again, even as members of other bands.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) releases its second report on the marketing of violent entertainment to children, reserving its strongest language for the music industry. According to the FTC, teenagers have no trouble buying CDs with “Parental Advisory” labels, and advertisements for these releases are regularly featured in media that cater to young people. In the report, the FTC recommends that the music industry enforce its policies about underage purchase of stickered CDs and cease advertising in media with a “substantial” youth audience. According to the FTC, the industry’s attitudes towards both are woefully inadequate and meaningless.
The FCC fines KBOO, a community radio station in Portland, Oregon, for playing a song by poet Sarah Jones and DJ Vadim entitled “Your Revolution.” The song, a send-up of the Gil Scott-Heron classic “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” condemns rappers for demanding an equal society for themselves, yet still filling their music with misogynistic lyrics. The FCC agrees with an anonymous complainant that the song’s lyrics are profane.
The Federal Communications Commission fines two radio stations for playing Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady.” While WZEE is fined for airing the original (unedited) version, KKMG in Colorado is fined for playing a profanity-free radio edit.
Under pressure from Italian-American organizations, the Denver House of Blues and Opera Colorado cancel a musical performance by Dominic Chianese. In addition to being a folk music performer, Chianese is an actor in the HBO series The Sopranos, which offends some members of the Italian community.
AOL removes posts from a political discussion boards that contain quotes from Bruce Springsteen lyrics—saying the lyrics quoted violate its “Terms of Service” prohibition against vulgarity. The lyrics AOL objected to: “Bobby said he’d pull out, Bobby stayed in,” from the song “Spare Parts” as well as “Jenny’s fingers were in the cake” from “Spirit In The Night.”
In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks many musicians change song titles or lyrics to avoid controversy. These artists include Dave Matthews nixed plans to release “When the World Ends” as his next single, Bush changing the title of their single from “Speed Kills” to “The People That We Love,” the Cranberries pulling their video for “Analyse” because of its repeated images of skyscrapers and airplanes, Dream Theater changing the artwork from their three-disc live album to remove its renditions of burning New York buildings, Sheryl Crow rewriting several lyrics for her upcoming album, and The Strokes removing the song “New York City Cops” from the U.S. Version of their album Is This It.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence forbids “Danny Boy” and other secular songs from being performed during funeral masses.
Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, Clear Channel Communications, the largest owner of radio stations in the United States, releases a list of more than 150 “lyrically questionable”songs that station’s may want to pull from their playlists. Few songs portray explicit violence, but most have metaphoric themes that ring a bit too close to the tragedies. The list, containing music from almost every genre in popular music, includes Sugar Ray’s “Fly,” “Jet Airliner” by Steve Miller, Nine Inch Nails’; “Head Like a Hole,” AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” and “Highway to Hell,” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire,” REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel, Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me,” “Nowhere to Run” by Martha & the Vandellas, and all songs by Rage Against The Machine. View the list of songs.
BMG Music Group releases the first enhanced Parental Advisory stickers that contain additional warnings about strong language, violent content and sexual content. The first disc stickered with the new label is Lady May’s May Day.
Steve Earle’s song “John Walker Blues” ignited calls for its censorship in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Post two months before its release. The song looks at events through Walker’s eyes, yet does not endorse Walker’s actions or fate, nor does it take any ideological stance on Walker’s beliefs. According to Nashville talk radio host Steve Gill, “Earle runs the risk of becoming the Jane Fonda of the war on terrorism by embracing John Walker and his Tali-buddies.”
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