Thursday, September 20, 2001
Stations Asked To Review Some Songs
By Leanne Potts
Journal Staff Writer
It's not censorship.
That's what the nation's largest radio station chain is saying about a list of 160 "lyrically questionable" pop songs that it told some of its 1,213 stations to consider pulling from the air after last week's terrorist attacks.
Clear Channel Radio officials say the song list -- which began appearing on the Internet within hours of being e-mailed last week to program directors and station managers in the Western United States -- was merely an attempt to be sensitive to its listeners, not an attempt to ban any music.
"All it said was we should review our play list and remove songs that may be offensive to our listeners," said Cindy Schloss, general manager for Clear Channel in Albuquerque. "The list was just songs we should consider. It was a suggestion, not a directive."
The list included songs with titles that suggested falling, dying, burning, bombing, doctors or flying on an airplace -- like the Gap Band's "You Dropped A Bomb on Me," AC/DC's "Shot Down In Flames" and Savage Garden's "Crash and Burn."
No surprise there.
But it also included Elton John's song about a rock group "Bennie and the Jets," James Taylor's love song "Fire And Rain" and most astoundingly, John Lennon's quintessential plea for peace, "Imagine."
The list drew a blast of criticism so harsh that Clear Channel issued a public statement Wednesday clarifying that it hadn't banned any songs from its stations.
"Each program director and general manager must take the pulse of his or her market to determine if play lists should be altered," the statement read.
Schloss said two songs had been pulled from one of the Clear Channel's five local stations, but they were back on the air now. She said she couldn't remember which songs had been yanked.
Schloss said that Clear Channel wasn't overreacting and that all the songs on the list warranted concern even the Bangles' bubblegummy "Walk Like An Egyptian."
"You or I may not be offended by that, but to somebody else it might be offensive," Schloss said. "As broadcasters, we're licensed to serve the community. We tried to be sensitive nationwide."
Clear Channel owns eight stations in the Albuquerque area, including KZRR-FM, KSYU-FM, KPEK-FM, KLSK-FM and KTEG-FM.
Clear Channel Radio is a division of Clear Channel Communications, which also operates Journal Pavilion and entertainment venues across the United States.
Painful Word Pictures
Clear Channel Communications advised its program directors to consider the lyrics of these songs and others before playing them in light of last week's attacks. This is a partial list.
"Head Like a Hole" -- Nine Inch Nails
"Bad Religion" -- Godsmack
"Blow Up the Outside World" -- Soundgarden
"Shot Down in Flames" -- AC/DC
"Suicide Solution" -- Ozzy Osbourne
"Jet Airliner" -- Steve Miller Band
"Jump" -- Van Halen
"It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" -- R.E.M.
"Walk Like an Egyptian" -- Bangles
"Dust in the Wind" -- Kansas
"A Day in the Life" -- The Beatles
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" -- The Beatles
"Doctor My Eyes" -- Jackson Brown
"Only the Good Die Young" -- Billy Joel
"(Na Na Hey Hey) Kiss Him Goodbye" -- Steam
"On Broadway" -- Drifters
"Johnny Angel" -- Shelley Fabares
"(You're the) Devil in Disguise" -- Elvis Presley
"Bennie and the Jets" -- Elton John
"Great Balls of Fire" -- Jerry Lee Lewis
"Leaving On a Jet Plane" -- Peter, Paul and Mary
"Ruby Tuesday" -- Rolling Stones
"Bridge Over Troubled Waters" -- Simon and Garfunkel
"I Feel the Earth Move" -- Carole King
"Peace Train" -- Cat Stevens
"Dead Man's Curve" -- Jan and Dean
"Nowhere to Run" -- Martha & The Vandellas
"A Sign of the Times" -- Petula Clark
"American Pie" -- Don McLean
"Imagine" -- John Lennon
"Mack the Knife" -- Bobby Darin
"Wipeout" -- Surfaris
"New York New York" -- Frank Sinatra
"You Dropped a Bomb On Me" -- Gap Band
"I'm On Fire" -- Bruce Springsteen
"In the Air Tonight" -- Phil Collins
"Down in a Hole" -- Alice In Chains
"Aeroplane" -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Have You Seen Her" -- Chi-Lites
"Devil With the Blue Dress" -- Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels
"Fire and Rain" -- James Taylor
"War" -- Edwin Starr and Bruce Springsteen
"Brain Stew"-- Green Day
"Dead and Bloated" -- Stone Temple Pilots