CHUM pop songs casualties of war
Iraq conflict sparks ban on peace, love tunes at AM station
By BILL BRIOUX — Toronto Sun
TORONTO — All we are saying is Give Peace A Chance — to get on the radio.
John Lennon’s anti-war anthem is among 20 songs pulled off the playlist of Toronto oldies radio station CHUM AM due to sensitivity over the war in Iraq. The list includes the usual suspects — Revolution by The Beatles and War by Edwin Starr — but also some syrupy ballads like Soldier Boy by The Shirelles and One Tin Soldier by The Original Caste (see complete list below).
The banned titles were posted yesterday on the CHUM-owned CP24 Web site.
Calls placed by The Sun to CHUM AM program director Brad Jones were not returned.
The Shirelles had a No. 1 hit with Soldier Boy in 1962. Original member Beverly Lee maintains that it was just a simple love song. “This song served as an anchor to many many loved ones throughout the Vietnam era,” she said yesterday.
Lee and the current Shirelles are scheduled to appear at Casino Rama June 6 as part of a Dick Clark tour of rock ‘n’ roll bands. Their manager and musical director, John Hughes, has heard of no other radio station in North America blacklisting Soldier Boy. “It’s not a pro-war song, it’s a love song,” he said.
The CHUM ban follows news that MTV Europe has yanked several music videos in an attempt to keep disturbing images and war themes off screens during the Iraqi conflict. Paul Hardcastle’s 19 and Outkast’s Bombs Over Baghdad are both verboten on MTV Europe for the duration of the war. So is Boom! by System Of A Down, an anti-war video depicting Iraq war casualties.
A stranger decision is yanking anything by The B52s, who have apparently been deemed inappropriate just because they’re named after a fabled American bomber. Aerosmith’s Don’t Want To Miss A Thing (featuring scenes from the disaster movie Armageddon), Radiohead’s Invasion and You, Me And World War Three by Gavin Friday are also benched, as is Billy Idol’s Hot In The City (which features footage of an atomic explosion).
A spokesman for the digital network MTV Canada says they have not altered their playlist. “Canada is a different environment,” said communications supervisor Alexis Walker.
CHUM-owned MuchMusic also has no such no-no list said public affairs vice president Sarah Crawford. “MuchMusic is not going to pretend that there is not a war going on,” said Crawford, who notes that the station has already produced one MuchTalks war special. But she insisted that no specific artists or songs have been delisted for airplay during the war. “Basically, we don’t come up with lists,” she said, adding that she hasn’t seen one e-mail from a viewer upset at any Much video content since the conflict began.
Much senior music programmer Craig Halket recalled that certain videos were yanked post 9/11 but he couldn’t recall any band being blacklisted at this time.
“In a situation like this, it always comes down to a case-by-case basis,” he said.
After 9/11, U.S. radio giant Clear Channel Communications sent their 1,200 stations a list of more than 150 songs deemed “questionable.” Recommended for removal at that time were Steve Miller’s Jet Airliner, R.E.M.’s It’s The End Of The World As We Know It and Peter Paul and Mary’s Leavin’ On A Jet Plane. Even songs by artist killed in plane crashes, such as Ricky Nelson and Buddy Holly, were deemed disturbing, as, incredibly, was The Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian.
April Fool’s? Believe it or not, no.
WHAT THEY BANNED:
Soldier Boy by The Shirelles
Shotgun by Jr. Walker & The All Stars
The Universal Soldier by Donovan
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Cher
Abraham, Martin And John by Dion
Revolution by The beatles
Street Fighting Man by The Rolling Stones
In The Year 2525 by Zager And Evans
Give Peace A Chance By John Lennon
One Tin Soldier by The original caste
When I Die by Blood, Sweat and Tears
The Cruel War by Sugar And Spice
War by Edwin Starr
Live And Let Die by Paul McCartney
The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace
Billy, Don’t Be A Hero by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
Fighting On The Side Of Love by The T.H.P. Orchestra
The Dream Never Dies by The Cooper Brothers
CHUM pop songs casualties of war