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Clear Channel banning protest songs?

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Okay, I heard this at my book club last night (which, incidentally is about to formally throw in the towel as book club and come out as what it truly is: a wine club): Clear Channel has a list of artists which it has banned from its station because the artists have come out against the war, i.e. Sheryl Crow, Country Joe and Fist, etc.

Of course, I had heard the same thing regarding Clear Channel after 9/11 and wondered if there was any truth to this, so I did a little Googling (which is so too a verb).

What I found on Snopes is that Clear Channel never officially banned any songs from its playlists after 9/11, but that some program director had compiled a list and circulated it as an ad hoc guide.

    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. 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 program directors.

That said, I couldn’t find anything through Google that Clear Channel was currently banning any songs performed by antiwar artists. My friend from book, ahem, wine club said she’d been forwarded a list of such artists and was being encouraged to buy their albums as a show of support. Unfortunately, I’m clearly not hip enough to get the list though I’m still getting kind letters from Ndugu telling me I only have to give him my bank account information to parttake of some $70million floating around in his hut.

I did find a list posted on someone’s blog, which I originally thought was this new list of banned protest songs. (A title like “Protest Songs Banned?” will do that to a person.) Instead, this list came from some petition that obviously came out of the rumored 9/11 banned list, and which contains a list of songs. The ‘banned protest songs’ and the ‘banned 9/11 songs’ are the same list!

This is a re-circulation of the same list of songs bouncing around in the ether after 9/11 — same story of Clear Channel banning songs, same list, same lack of verity. And same wheels.

If you come across another such list and it contains, oh, some more recent songs, I’d love to see it.

I don’t think the Clear Channel banned list exists. However, I do think that censorship at the corporate level in radio (and t.v.) occurs in other, more subtle ways, as suggested by this Op-Ed from the NYT. And as pointed out by Paul Krugman in this NYT piece (reprinted on a non-NYT site), the link between Clear Channel and the Bush administration is deeply troubling, pernicious and smacks of oligarchy.

Clear Channel, it seems, has been organizing pro-war rallies.

    Experienced Bushologists let out a collective “Aha!” when Clear Channel was revealed to be behind the pro-war rallies, because the company’s top management has a history with George W. Bush. The vice chairman of Clear Channel is Tom Hicks, whose name may be familiar to readers of this column. When Mr. Bush was governor of Texas, Mr. Hicks was chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, called Utimco, and Clear Channel’s chairman, Lowry Mays, was on its board. Under Mr. Hicks, Utimco placed much of the university’s endowment under the management of companies with strong Republican Party or Bush family ties. In 1998 Mr. Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers in a deal that made Mr. Bush a multimillionaire.

    There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but a good guess is that we’re now seeing the next stage in the evolution of a new American oligarchy. As Jonathan Chait has written in The New Republic, in the Bush administration “government and business have melded into one big `us.’ ” On almost every aspect of domestic policy, business interests rule: “Scores of midlevel appointees . . . now oversee industries for which they once worked.” We should have realized that this is a two-way street: if politicians are busy doing favors for businesses that support them, why shouldn’t we expect businesses to reciprocate by doing favors for those politicians – by, for example, organizing “grass roots” rallies on their behalf?

    What makes it all possible, of course, is the absence of effective watchdogs. In the Clinton years the merest hint of impropriety quickly blew up into a huge scandal; these days, the scandalmongers are more likely to go after journalists who raise questions. Anyway, don’t you know there’s a war on?

That last bit regarding impropriety might hit a nerve with those of us who thought that a Halliburton subsidiary getting that lucrative no-bid contract to put out Iraqi oil well fires was suspect.

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About moira

  • san

    I think Clear Channel (CC) has a mixed anecdotal record on the censorship issue. See this article in Salon about antiwar billboards. Granted, these are pretty mild antiwar billboards, but CC is running them across the U.S., even in Texas.

    I, like you, believe that there is no official CC “banned-songs list”. There may have been some wink-wink-nudge-nudge, but no head-office dictum. Probably deemed too risky. But the “banned list” is reaching the level of urban legend.

    The tactic of quietly organizing pro-war rallies is far more interesting, and stealthy. To continue the musical reference from the NYT piece, step out of line and the man come and take you away.

  • I received an email this morning that had the list. I too did some googling which is how I found you & this page. Thought you’d want to see the list:

    Clear Channel’s List of Songs
    with Questionable Lyrics

    The following is a list of songs deemed “questionable”
    by Clear Channel Communications. They own about 1200 radio
    stations, and I believe they’re asking them not to play any
    of these songs – “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews, “Safe in
    New York City” by AC/DC, “Burning Down the House” by Talking
    Heads, “Obli Di, Obli Da”, by the Beatles, etc. – songs that
    probably everyone knows. Beware of where your freedom is
    going and who’s going with it.


    3 Doors Down
    “Duck and Run”


    “Dirty Deeds”

    “Hell’s Bells”

    “Highway to Hell”

    “Safe in New York City”

    “Shoot to Thrill”

    “Shot Down in Flames”


    Ad Libs
    “The Boy from New York City”

    Alanis Morissette

    Alice in Chains
    “Down in a Hole”

    Alice in Chains

    Alice in Chains
    “Sea of Sorrow”

    Alice in Chains
    “Them Bone”

    Alien Ant Farm
    “Smooth Criminal”

    “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”

    Arthur Brown

    “Walk Like an Egyptian”

    Barenaked Ladies
    “Falling for the First Time”

    Barry McGuire
    “Eve of Destruction”

    Beastie Boys

    Beastie Boys
    “Sure Shot”

    Billy Joel
    “Only the Good Die Young”

    Black Sabbath
    “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”

    Black Sabbath
    “Suicide Solution”

    Black Sabbath
    “War Pigs”

    Blood Sweat and Tears
    “And When I Die”

    Blue Oyster Cult
    “Burnin’ For You”

    Bob Dylan/Guns N Roses
    “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”

    Bobby Darin
    “Mack the Knife”


    Brooklyn Bridge
    “Worst That Could Happen”

    Bruce Springsteen
    “Goin’ Down”

    Bruce Springsteen
    “I’m On Fire”

    Buddy Holly and the Crickets
    “That’ll Be the Day”

    “Speed Kills”

    Carole King
    “I Feel the Earth Move”

    Cat Stevens
    “Morning Has Broken”

    Cat Stevens
    “Peace Train”

    “Have You Seen Her”

    Creedence Clearwater Revival
    “Travelin’ Band”

    Dave Clark Five
    “Bits and Pieces”

    Dave Matthews Band
    “Crash Into Me”

    “Holy Diver”

    Don McLean
    “American Pie”

    “On Broadway”

    Drowning Pool

    Edwin Starr/Bruce Springstein

    Elton John
    “Benny & The Jets”

    Elton John

    Elton John
    “Rocket Man”

    “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise”

    “Santa Monica”

    “Hey Man, Nice Shot”

    Fontella Bass
    “Rescue Me”

    Foo Fighters
    “Learn to Fly”

    Frank Sinatra
    “New York, New York”

    “Bad Day”

    “Bad Religion”

    Green Day
    “Brain Stew”

    “See You in Septemeber”

    “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”

    J. Frank Wilson
    “Last Kiss”

    Jackson Brown
    “Doctor My Eyes”

    James Taylor
    “Fire and Rain”

    Jan and Dean
    “Dead Man’s Curve”

    Jerry Lee Lewis
    “Great Balls of Fire”

    Jimmy Hendrix
    “Hey Joe”

    John Lennon

    John Mellencamp
    “Crumbling Down”

    John Mellencamp
    “I’m On Fire”

    John Parr
    “St. Elmo’s Fire”

    Judas Priest
    “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”

    “Dust in the Wind”

    “Falling Away From Me”

    Led Zeppelin
    “Stairway to Heaven”

    Lenny Kravitz
    “Fly Away”

    Limp Bizkit
    “Break Stuff”

    Local H
    “Bound for the Floor”

    Los Bravos
    “Black is Black”

    Louis Armstrong
    “What A Wonderful World”

    Lynyrd Skynyrd
    “Tuesday’s Gone”

    Martha & the Vandellas
    “Nowhere to Run”

    Martha and the Vandellas/Van Halen
    “Dancing in the Streets”

    “Dread and the Fugitive”

    “Sweating Bullets”

    “Enter Sandman”

    “Fade to Black”

    “Harvester or Sorrow”

    “Seek and Destroy”

    Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
    “Devil with the Blue Dress”

    “Death Blooms”

    Neil Diamond

    “99 Luft Balloons/99 Red Balloons”

    Nine Inch Nails
    “Head Like a Hole”

    Norman Greenbaum
    “Spirit in the Sky”

    Oingo Boingo
    “Dead Man’s Party”


    Paper Lace
    “The Night Chicago Died”

    Pat Benatar
    “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”

    Pat Benatar
    “Love is a Battlefield”

    Paul McCartney and Wings
    “Live and Let Die”

    Peter and Gordon
    “A World Without Love”

    Peter and Gordon
    “I Go To Pieces”

    Peter Gabriel
    “When You’re Falling”

    Peter Paul and Mary
    “Blowin’ in the Wind”

    Peter Paul and Mary
    “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane”

    Petula Clark
    “A Sign of the Times”

    Phil Collins
    “In the Air Tonight”

    Pink Floyd

    Pink Floyd
    “Run Like Hell”

    “My City Was Gone”

    “Another One Bites the Dust”

    “Killer Queen”

    Rage Against The Machine
    All songs

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    “Under the Bridge”

    “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”

    Rickey Nelson
    “Travelin’ Man”

    Rolling Stones
    “Ruby Tuesday”

    “Click Click Boom”

    San Cooke
    Herman Hermits, “Wonder World”

    “Evil Ways”

    Savage Garden
    “Crash and Burn”

    Shelly Fabares
    “Johnny Angel”

    Simon And Garfunkel
    “Bridge Over Troubled Water”

    Skeeter Davis
    “End of the World”

    “Left Behind, Wait and Bleed”

    Smashing Pumpkins
    “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”

    “Blow Up the Outside World”

    “Fell on Black Days,” Black Hole Sun”

    “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey”

    Steve Miller
    “Jet Airliner”

    Stone Temple Pilots
    “Big Bang Baby,” Dead and Bloated”

    Sugar Ray


    System of a Down
    “Chop Suey!”

    Talking Heads
    “Burning Down the House”

    Temple of the Dog
    “Say Hello to Heaven”

    The Beatles
    “A Day in the Life”

    The Beatles
    “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

    The Beatles
    “Obla Di, Obla Da”

    The Beatles
    “Ticket To Ride”

    The Clash
    “Rock the Casbah”

    The Cult
    “Fire Woman”

    The Doors
    “The End”

    The Gap Band
    “You Dropped a Bomb On Me”

    Third Eye Blind

    Three Degrees
    “When Will I See You Again”

    Tom Petty
    “Free Fallin'”


    “Disco Inferno”

    “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

    Van Halen

    Yager and Evans
    “In the Year 2525”

    “Get Together”

    “She’s Not There”

    [This message contained attachments]

  • Pissed Bitch

    This is bullshit!