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From Harper’s Magazine, December 2001:

A song list compiled by Clear Channel Communications executives and distributed to their affiliates in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Clear Channel, with 1,200 stations the largest radio conglomerate in the country, suggested that DJs refrain from playing the songs due to their “questionable lyrics.”

“99 Luft Baloons/99 Red Balloons,” Nina
“A Sign of the Times,” Petula Clark
“Aeroplane,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“America,” Neil Diamond
“American Pie,” Don McLean
“Another One Bites the Dust,” Queen
“Bad Religion,” Godsmack
“Benny & The Jets,” Elton John
“Bits and Pieces,” Dave Clark Five
“Blowin’ in the Wind,” Peter Paul and Mary
“Brain Stew,” Green Day
“Break Stuff,” Limp Bizkit
“Bridge over Troubled Water,” Simon and
“Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” Smashing
“Burnin’ for You,” Blue Oyster Cult
“Burning Down the House,” Talking Heads
“Click Click Boom,” Megadeth
“Crash and Burn,” Savage Garden
“Crash into Me,” Dave Matthews Band
“Crumbling Down,” John Mellencamp
“Dancing in the Streets,” Martha and the Van-
dellas/Van Halen
“Daniel,” Elton John
“Dead Man’s Curve,” Jan and Dean
“Dead Man’s Party,” Oingo Boingo
“Devil with the Blue Dress,” Mitch Ryder and
the Detroit Wheels
“Dirty Deeds,” AC/DC
“Disco Inferno,” Tramps
“Down,” 311
“Dust in the Wind,” Kansas
“Eve of Destruction,” Barry McGuire
“Falling for the First Time,” Barenaked Ladies
“Fell on Black Days,” Soundgarden
“Fire and Rain,” James Taylor
“Free Fallin’,” Tom Petty
“Goin’ Down,” Bruce Springsteen
“Great Balls of Fire,” Jerry Lee Lewis
“Head Like a Hole,” Nine Inch Nails
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” The Hollies
“Hey Man, Nice Shot,” Filter
“Highway to Hell,” AC/DC
“Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” Pat Benatar
“Holy Diver,” Dio
“I Feel the Earth Move,” Carole King
“I Go to Pieces,” Peter and Gordon
“I’m on Fire,” Bruce Springsteen
“Imagine,” John Lennon
“In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins
“Intolerance,” Tool
“Ironic,” Alanis Morissette
“It’s the End of the World As We Know It,”
“Jet Airliner,” Steve Miller Band
“Jump,” Van Halen
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Bob Dylan/
Guns N Roses
“Learn to Fly,” Foo Fighters
“Leavin’ on a Jet Plane,” Peter Paul and Mary
“Love Is a Battlefield,” Pat Benatar
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” The Beatles
“Mack the Knife,” Bobby Darin
“Morning Has Broken,” Cat Stevens
“Na Na Na Na Hey Hey,” Steam
“New York, New York,” Frank Sinatra
“Nowhere to Run,” Martha and the Vandellas
“On Broadway,” Drifters
“Only the Good Die Young,” Billy Joel
“Peace Train,” CAt Stevens
“Rock the Casbah,” The Clash
“Rocket Man,” Elton John
“Ruby Tuesday,” Rolling Stones
“Run Like Hell,” Pink Floyd
“Safe in New York City,” AC/DC
“Say Hello to Heaven,” Temple of the Dog
“Shoot to Thrill,” AC/DC
“Shot Down in Flames,” AC/DC
“Smokin’,” Boston
“Smooth Criminal,” Alien Ant Farm
“Some Heads Are Gonna Roll,” Judas Priest
“Speed Kills,” Bush
“Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum
“Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin
“Suicide Solution,” Black Sabbath
“Sunday Bloody Sunday,” U2
“Sure Shot,” Beastie Boys
“That’ll Be the Day,” Buddy Holly and the
“The Boy from New York City,” Ad Libs
“The End,” The Doors
“Ticket to Ride,” The Beatles
“Travelin’ Man,” Ricky Nelson
“Tuesday’s Gone,” Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Walk like an Egyptian,” Bangles
“War Pigs,” Black Sabbath
“War,” Edwin Starr/Bruce Springsteen
“We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” The
“What a Wonderful World,” Louis Armstrong

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3 Responses to “9/11: Video Killed the Radio Star”

  1. Marta says:

    Looking back over this list is so striking. I immediately noticed “Head Like a Hole” because I’ve had it stuck in my head for the past week. It’s an interesting one to think about in this context because as far as I know it’s a reaction against corporate greed and corruption…how that factors into the decision to pull it from radio stations in light of 9/11 I don’t know. It seems more likely that the line “I’d rather die than give you control” was the offending bit, especially considering the (lack of) depth in which these songs seem to have been analyzed in the first place. Another funny thing is that “Head Like a Hole” was inspired by the band Ministry, who I mentioned in my first oral report.
    The sheer number of genres and subjects that this list spans is incredible. Reading all the titles of these very different and often fondly familiar songs compiled together for such a grave sort of reason is a little nightmarish. At the time that you posted this I was a little upset at what I perceived to be an outright irreverence for the songs’ semantic integrity…now I’m finding myself marvelling at the list itself, like it’s some absurd sculpture made of everyday objects to prove a gruesome point.

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