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Lyrically Questionable

The Twisted History of 9/11 with Large and Saint Anne 

In 1982, a musical group consisting of 3 brothers called "The Gap Band" released a single called "You Dropped A Bomb On Me” which is one of my favorite songs ever. It's been featured in films like "Next Friday," in commercials for Animal Planet, in video games including "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," and is staple arena music for multiple teams including the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Florida Gators, and the New York Mets.

It wasn’t until last week that I heard it was said to have been written in memory of the 1921 race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So I did some digging, and it winds up it is not true. But why would some consider it true? Well, the Race Riots involved a shitload of bombs. Numerous eyewitnesses from the riots described airplanes carrying white assailants, who dropped firebombs on buildings, homes, and fleeing families. 

Also, the aforementioned 3 brothers who started the group - Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, grew up in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, OK - that was Black Wall Street before the riots burned the place to the ground.

However, that is where the coincidences end. The real fact of the matter is the brothers have stated on numerous occasions the song was about a guy who was head over heels in love with a girl who broke up with him, which devastated him as if she dropped a bomb on him.

Sooooo … Why do I mention it this week? 

As I was researching the origin of the song’s lyrics I ALSO found out that "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" was one of the many banned songs in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks for being “lyrically questionable."

You see, following 9/11, Clear Channel Communications (which i believe is now iHeartMedia), the largest owner of radio stations in the United States, circulated an internal memo containing a list of songs that program directors were not outright banning, but the list was a “suggestion.” to "not play these songs."

The Clear Channel memorandum contains songs that even vaguely refer to open subjects intertwined with the September 11 like airplanes, collisions, death, wars, and violence, as well as the sky, falling, and weapons, and even a handful of celebratory or happy songs were deemed inappropriate.

"Hells Bells"
"Highway to Hell"

"Shoot to Thrill"

"T.N.T.”  parallels

Louis Armstrong

What A Wonderful World

Beastie Boys"Sabotage"
"Sure Shot"
The Beatles
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

"Hit Me with Your Best Shot” and "Love Is a Battlefield"
Pat Benetar

Black Sabbath

"War Pigs"

The Clash"Rock the Casbah"
Phil Collins"In the Air Tonight"

The Doors"The End"

Bob Dylan and GNR’s"Knockin' on Heaven's Door” 

Filter"Hey Man, Nice Shot"
Foo Fighters"Learn to Fly"

The Gap Band"You Dropped a Bomb on Me"

Billy Joel"Only the Good Die Young"

Elton John
"Bennie and the Jets"

"Rocket Man"

Kansas"Dust in the Wind"

Led Zeppelin"Stairway to Heaven"

Jerry Lee Lewis"Great Balls of Fire"

Martha and the Vandellas"Dancing in the Street"
"Nowhere to Run"
Dave Matthews Band"Crash into Me"
Paul McCartney and Wings"Live and Let Die"

Metallica"Enter Sandman"
"Fade to Black"

"Seek & Destroy"
Steve Miller Band"Jet Airliner"

Tom Petty

"Free falling"

All of them.
Rage Against the Machine
Red Hot Chili Peppers"Aeroplane"
"Under the Bridge"
R.E.M."It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Talking Heads"Burning Down the House"

And that is just a small percentage of this list. Hollywood was also subject to these same decisions:

The release of the film "View from the Top" was originally scheduled for Christmas 2001, but because the story revolves around a flight attendant on numerous planes, and the release was pushed back to 2003.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Collateral Damage" was postponed because the film featured a terrorist bombing in front of an L.A. building.

The release of "Training Day" was shifted due to "a variety of reasons".

The 2002 version of "The Time Machine" was held back because of a scene where a meteor shower destroys New York. The scene was ultimately edited out.

Tim Allen’s film "Big Trouble" was postponed seven months because it involved a nuclear bomb being smuggled onboard an aircraft.

The 2002 action-comedy film "Bad Company"  with Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock had its release date pushed back several months because the plot involved a criminal mastermind planning to detonate a bomb in the Grand Central Terminal.

Then there are HUNDREDS of films, video games and tv shows that had images of the WTC edited out, and then dozens of others shot after 9/111 but that took place prior to 9/11 that had to have the towers digitally restored. All of this because those 2 towers were such an iconic symbol of a legendary skyline. 

I shared my story in a blog 2 years ago that I will publish again on Friday. Annie recounts what happened to her that day on this podcast:

Next week is listener supported topic suggestions …more clips to come this Friday. #NeverForget9/11