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.
Barenaked Ladies – “Falling for the First Time”
What’s questionable about it? Always looking for an excuse to get nudity off the radio, smh.
The Beatles – “Ticket to Ride”
What’s questionable about it? Again, literally nothing.
Drowning Pool – “Bodies”
What’s questionable about it? “Let the bodies hit the floor/Let the bodies hit the floor/Let the bodies hit the flooooor.” This one makes some sense, actually.
Limp Bizkit – “Break Stuff”
What’s questionable about it? Besides the entire song, it also, however briefly, turned Fred Durst into a martyr. “THEY THINK THEY CAN BAN THE BIZKIT,” someone in a red Yankees probably yelled at the time. “F*CK THEM. FRED’S BIGGER THAN RADIO, ANYWAY.”
Dave Matthews Band – “Crash Into Me”
What’s questionable about it? I’m seriously offended by the line, “Hike up your skirt a little more and show the world to me.” It’s so… gross.
Alanis Morissette – “Ironic”
What’s questionable about it? Isn’t it ironic that the number 11, as in September 11 (!), looks like the Twin Towers (!!), don’t you think?
Nena – “99 Red Balloons”
What’s questionable about it? I guess the “floating in the summer sky” line? Either that, or someone at Clear Channel wanted to give Goldfinger’s cover more exposure.
“All songs by Rage Against the Machine”
What’s questionable about it? No, really, “all songs by Rage Against the Machine.”
Frank Sinatra – “New York, New York”
What’s questionable about it? Patriotism reached a fever peak in the weeks after September 11, but it was an angry pride. It took everyone a while to realize things were going to be fine, eventually, and that we could be reminded of New York City without a trigger warning. “New York, New York” was actually one of three songs on Clear Channel’s list with N.Y. in the title, the others being AC/DC’s “Safe in New York City” and the Ad Libs’ “The Boy from New York City.” Simon and Garfunkel’s lovely “The Only Living Boy In New York” was oddly excluded, unlike the overly maudlin “Bridge over Troubled Water.” Clear Channel, you suck.
(Via the AV Club)