Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Banned In the USA

Banned in the U.S.A. - 2 Live Crew (mp3) - Banned in the U.S.A.

Although it's not on the cutting edge of the print medium, Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America (published in 2001) is still a great read. I'm impressed with Eric Nuzum's research and writing style. The general focus of the book concerns the history of music censorship in the United States, how the "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" sticker came into being, and why the music industry caved into demands from outside groups such as the PRMC to start using such a sticker.

Unbeknownst to many, music censorship is nothing new: it's been around for over a hundred years here in the USA. From early attempts in this century to limit the influence of African-American music on the white middle class, to our grandparents' generation trying to eliminate rock and roll and its immoral tribal beats, there has always been an attempt to curtail what the general public is listening to. In recent years, the heat has been on groups such as Marilyn Manson, Madonna, and pretty much any rap group in general, but ironically, the same people who are pushing for censorship now listened to music that their parents objected to as well: musicians such as Chuck Berry, the Doors, and Elvis.

Please do yourself a favor and check out the book if you get a chance. It's divided into chapters that focus on various censorship issues such as religion, sex, drugs, politics, etc... It's a fairly fast read and although it doesn't reveal any revolutionary ideas or newly released CIA documents, it does bring together some interesting information in a coherent and interest grabbing fashion.

In celebration of musical freedom, I offer up the following songs:
(If your name is Tipper, please DON'T download any of these)

the 50's

I Get A Kick Out Of You - Frank Sinatra (mp3) - The Capitol Years
(In this Cole Porter classic, the line "Some they may go for cocaine" was changed to "Some like the perfume from Spain")

Hound Dog - Elvis Presley (mp3) - Hound Dog [Import]
(On Elvis' third appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, the camera men were instructed to only show him from the waist up!)

the 60's

Pictures of Lily - The Who (mp3) - Who's Better, Who's Best
(Many radio stations banned this song because of its indirect reference to masturbation)

Louie, Louie - The Kingsmen (mp3) - The Kingsmen
(Fearing obscene messages, the FBI investigated it and the Indiana governor tried to ban this song. I don't know about you, but I couldn't tell you another line in the song other than Louie, Louie.)

Coming tomorrow...the 70's and 80's
ALL of this information is offered as tantalizing tidbits from Eric's book. PLEASE go out, or click here, and buy a copy for yourself!

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