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It's the End of the World as Clear Channel Knows It


On Thursday of last week Clear Channel Communications, a company that owns and programs air time at over 1,000 U.S. radio stations, sent e-mail to its program directors at stations across the country with an updated and expanded list of songs with "questionable lyrics" that they should avoid playing. Some of the 162 songs--more if you include the blanket directive against "All Rage Against the Machine Songs"--are understandable, such as Metallica's "Seek and Destroy" or Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution."

But many of the songs on the list are ridiculous in their tenuous connection to anything even remotely offensive to survivors of the Sept. 11 attack. The Bangles' utterly harmless piece of fluff "Walk Like an Egyptian"? Or what about Elvis' "(You're the) Devil in Disguise," Pat Benetar's "Love Is a Battlefield," and Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife"?



Large stretches of the list reveal a grisly perspective on the part of the authors: Boston's "Smokin," Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' for You," Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire," Judas Priest's "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll," and the Dave Clark Five's "Bits and Pieces." Several pro-peace songs made it onto the list: Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken" and "Peace Train," presumably because Stevens is now Muslim and goes by the name Yusuf Islam. The oddest inclusion has to be John Lennon's explicitly pacifist anthem "Imagine," unless Clear Channel is pushing a pro-war agenda.

Jack Evans, a regional senior VP of programming at Clear Channel insisted this list was not an effort initiated by management: "After and during what was happening in New York and Washington and outside of Pittsburgh, some of our program directors began e-mailing each other about songs and questionable song titles," though the finished list was distributed to the program directors by Clear Channel management.

Evans concedes that some of the songs are off base: "I think there were certainly songs on the list that people were reading too much into" (the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," perchance?) though he supports the list in general. "There were a substantial amount of songs in question that I'm glad the [program directors] brought up so we didn't air them at a very, very sad time." You can judge for yourself. Here's the list, with original spellings intact.

Clear Channel is now denying the existence of the list. Click here to find out more.

Drowning Pool Bodies
Mudvayne Death Blooms
Megadeth Dread and the Fugitive
Sweating Bullets
Saliva Click Click Boom
P.O.D. Boom
Metallica Seek and Destroy
Harvestor of Sorrow
Enter Sandman
Fade to Black
All Rage Against Machine Songs
Nine Inch Nails Head Like a Hole
Godsmack Bad Religion
Tool Intolerance
Sound Garden Blow Up the Outside
World
AC/DC Shot Down in Flames
Shoot to Thrill
Dirty Deeds
Highway to Hell
Safe in New York City
TNT
Hells Bells
Sabbath War Pigs
Sabbath Bloody
Sabbath
Suicide Solution
Dio Holy Diver
Steve Miller Jet Airliner
Van Halen Jump
Queen Another One Bites the
Dust
Killer Queen
Pat Benatar Hit Me With Your Best
Shot
Love is a
Battlefield
Oingo Boingo Dead Man's
Party
REM It's The End of the
World As We Know
It
Talking Heads Burning Down the
House
Judas Priest Some Heads Are Gonna
Roll
Pink Floyd Run Like Hell
Mother
Savage Garden Crash and
Burn
Dave Mathews Crash Into Me
Bangles Walk Like Egyptian
Pretenders My City Was
Gone
Alanis Morissette Ironic
Barenaked Ladies Falling for the First
Time
Fuel Bad Day
John Par St. Elmo's Fire
Peter Gabriel When You're
Falling
Kansas Dust in the
Wind
Led Zeplin Stairway to
Heaven
The Beatles A Day in the
Life
Lucy in the Sky With
Diamonds
Ticket To Ride
Obla Di, Obla
Da
Bob Dillon/Guns and Roses Knockin on Heaven's
Door
Arthur Brown Fire
Blue Oyster Cult Burnin' For
You
Paul McCartney and Wings Live and Let
Die
Jimmy Hendrix Hey Joe
Jackson Brown Doctor My
Eyes
John Melloncamp Crumblin Down
I'm On Fire
U2 Sunday Bloody Sunday
Boston Smokin
Billy Joel Only the Good Die
Young
Barry Mc Guire Eve of Destruction
Steam Na Na Na Na Hey Hey
Drifters On Broadway
Shelly Fabres Johnny Angel
Los Bravos Black is Black
Peter and Gordon I Go To Pieces
A World Without Love
Elvis (You're the) Devil in
Disguise
Zombies She's Not There
Elton John Bennie & The Jets
Daniel
Rocket Man
Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls of Fire
Santana Evil Ways
Youngbloods Get Together
Ad Libs The Boy From New
York City
Peter Paul and Mary Blowin' In The Wind
Leavin On A Jet Plane
Rolling Stones Ruby Tuesday
Shattered
Simon And Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled
Waters
Happenings See You In September
Carole King I Feel The Earth Move
Yager and Evans In The Year 2525
Norman Greenbaum Spirit In The Sky
Brooklyn Bridge Worst That Could
Happen
Three Degrees When Will I See You
Again
Cat Stevens Peace Train
Morning Has Broken
Jan and Dean Dead Man's Curve
Martha and The Vandellas Nowhere to Run
Martha and The Vandellas/Van Halen Dancing in the Streets
Hollies He Ain't Heavy He's
My Brother
San Cooke, Hermans Hermits Wonder World
Petula Clark A Sign of the Times
Don McLean American Pie
J. Frank Wilson Last Kiss
Buddy Holly and the Crickets That'll Be the Day
John Lennon Imagine
Bobby Darin Mack The Knife
The Clash Rock the Casbah
Surfari's Wipeout
Blood Sweat and Tears And When I Die
Dave Clark Five Bits and Pieces
Tramps Disco Inferno
Paper Lace The Night Chicago Died
Frank Sinatra New York, New York
Creedence Clearwater Revival Travelin' Band
The Gap Band You Dropped the Bomb
On Me
Alien Ant Farm Smooth Criminal
3 Doors Down Duck & Run
The Doors The End
Third Eye Blind Jumper
Neil Diamond America
Lenny Kravitz Fly Away
Tom Petty Free Fallin
Bruce Springsteen I'm On Fire
Goin Down
Phil Collins In the Air Tonight
Alice In Chains Rooster
Sea of Sorrow
Down in a Hole
Them Bones
Beastie Boys Sure Shot
Sabotage
Cult Fire Woman
Everclear Santa Monica
Filter Hey Man, Nice Shot
Foo Fighters Learn to Fly
KORN Falling Away from Me
Red Hot Chili Peppers Aeroplane
Under the Bridge
Saliva Click Click Boom
Smashing Pumpkins Bullet with Butterfly
Wings
System of a Down Chop Suey
Skeeter Davis End of the World
Rickey Nelson Travelin' Man
Chi-Lites Have You Seen Her
Animals We Gotta Get Out of
This Place
Fontella Bass Rescue Me
Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels Devil with the Blue
Dress
James Taylor Fire and Rain
Edwin Starr/Bruce Springsteen War
Lynyrd Skynyrd Tuesday's Gone
Limp Bizkit Break Stuff
Green Day Brain Stew
Temple of the Dog Say Hello to Heaven
Sugar Ray Fly
When It's Over
Local H Bound for the Floor
Slip Knot Left Behind, Wait and
Bleed
Bush Speed Kills
311 Down
STP Big Bang Baby
Dead and Bloated
Sound Garden Fell on Black Days
Black Hole Sun
Nina 99 Luft Ballons/99 Red
Ballons
Bad Company No Smoke Without a
Fire

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Eliza Truitt, a former editor at Slate, now works as a wedding photographer in Seattle.
E-mail Timothy Noah at .
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