After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, several program directors at radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications compiled a list of songs with titles or lyrics that people might find to be insensitive. Some were listed for their lyrics, others for their titles. For one music group, Rage Against The Machine, it was not the title of their songs nor the lyrics that put them on the list, but their band name.
However, as word of the list spread, it was rumored that the corporate office of Clear Channel Communications had compiled the list, and banned its radio stations from playing the songs listed. It spread rapidly over the internet, and eventually made its way to the mass media, even after Clear Channel Communications made it clear they were not banning songs.
Upon browsing the list, it becomes apparent that many song were single out on title alone. John Lennon's Imagine was actually performed by Neil Young on a telethon to raise money for victims of the terrorist acts in New York City and Washington, D.C. Some songs, like Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, would be a song that could very well be a source of some measure of calm and soothing, if not comfort.
I went through the list, trying to figure out the connections between the songs and the tragedy of 9/11. My mind had to make some pretty big leaps to figure out how songs made the list. The more I tried to wrap my mind around it, the more the list seemed like some sick joke from rec.humor.tasteless. What seemed offensive was not the song titles or lyrics, but the possible rationale for putting the songs on the list in the first place.
- Dio's Holy Diver - As we know, terrorists used the name of Allah to justify hijacking airliners and diving them into building like kamikaze pilots. Seriously, these fuckers are to Islam what Fred Phelps is to Christianity.
- Pink Floyd's Run Like Hell - People in lower Manhattan certainly ran like hell as they saw the towers of the World Trade Center collapsing. If the terrorists that backed this plot know what's good for them, they'll Run Like Hell too. This comes from the rock music masterpiece known as The Wall, and anyone who's listened to the lyrics knows that Roger Waters was denouncing the very brand of hate embodied by religious and racist extremists.
- Norman Greenbaum's Spirit in the Sky - This is a song about wanting to go to heaven upon one's death. Yea, I suppose that's what the terrorists were hoping for too. But seriously, don't we hope the victims are in a place of peace as well? I certainly do.
- REM's It's The End Of The World as We Know it - In a way, 9/11 was the end of the world as we know it. It certainly changed. I know when I woke up and turned on my TV after receiving several voice mail messages advising me to do so, I thought it either the end of the world, or the beginning of World War III.
- Rolling Stones Ruby Tuesday - Mention of Tuesday bad. Guess we'll have to go to a six day week.
- The Beatles A Day in the Life - "I heard the news today, oh boy!" 3 other Beatles songs were listed too. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds: I guess the sky is bad too, now. Ticket to Ride: I guess it has to be for an airplane, right? It couldn't be for a train, which many people chose as an alternative to air travel even after airlines were allow to fly again. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da: For those of us among the living, life does go on, at least eventually. I guess this was deemed too upbeat. DrSeudo just pointed out to me that it could also be that O, B, and L form the initials of Osama bin Laden, and if true, that's extremely lame. Seriously, though, do we want to censor one of the best and most influential bands of all times?
Doesn't this play right into the hands of the terrorists that want to see our way of life destroyed? Are we this eager to hand over our culture, our freedoms, our way of life in the name of being "sensitive?" If so, then we might as well give up the war against terrorism, because terrorism has already won.
I acknowledge that fact that playing some songs really could have been in poor taste, of show lack of sensitivity. However, the mere idea of compiling a list of songs to not play is very offensive to me, and was also offensive and alarming to my grandmother.