It’s that time of year again when we remember those we lost on September 11, 2001. And along with that reverence, we also cringe at the songs that Clear Channel requested radio stations not play in the subsequent weeks. The terrorists would have won were it not for the brave souls who decreed that your local shock jock DJ, Johnny Squeeze Nuts In the Morning, could no longer play Barenaked Ladies, Bush, and Alien Ant Farm.
There were 165 “lyrically questionable” songs, ranging from radio mainstays like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” to the recent-ish Godsmack’s “Bad Religion” and Sugar Ray’s “Fly.” I’m not for censorship, unless Sugar Ray’s involved, then I look the other way.
Clear Channel’s memorandum was dumb then, and it’s even dumber now, 14 years removed. It was a knee jerk reaction to a truly horrible event, when everyone felt like they needed to do something to prove their patriotism. Some bought miniature flags, others suggested that it was TOO SOON to hear “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” as if Paul singing about Desmond letting his children lend a hand would remind people of what happened on that terrible day. Or something? The only thing it makes me remember is that Clear Channel has always been, and will always be, horrible.
Here are some of their more ludicrous suggestions.
Alien Ant Farm – “Smooth Criminal”
What’s questionable about it? That someone might think Alien Ant Farm and/or Michael Jackson were calling our attackers “smooth” criminals.
Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World”
What’s questionable about it? Nothing. Literally nothing.