Banned and Censored Music

Banned and Censored


The discussion of whether or not the censorship
of music is constitutionally sound has come about. This problem has
been around since the beginning of music in one way or another. The
fact of the matter is that there is technically no such thing as the censorship
of music in the United States(Banned Music 1). Although that is supposedly
the case, that statement can be very misleading. It is stated in
the First Amendment of the United States Constitution that every

American is granted the Freedom Of Speech. This includes all musicians.

Contrary to this statement, there has been a numerous amount of cases in
which a song or music group has been banned of either their right to perform
their act on stage, or the sale of their album has been condemned as
illegal. The troubling fact about music censorship is that music
is considered to be an art form, and there are certain laws set up to protect
art from being censored. People should have the right to choose what type
of music they want to listen to in this country.

Censorship is the control of what people
may say or hear, write or read, or see or do. Censorship can affect
books, newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television programs,
and speeches." (World Book 345)

Most of the early problems with the
censorship of music came about in the early 1950\'s. This was the
first real era of rock and roll in America. In 1954 a Michigan Congresswoman
tried to pass a bill that stated that the mailing of any explicit or pornographic
album could lead to some hefty jail time, up to five years if convicted.

When looking back, the 50\'s had some of the most laughable incidences when
songs were banned. There was a Billie Holiday song by the name of

"Love For Sale," none of the radio stations were allowed to play it because
of its strong sexual content and its depiction of prostitution. In
even a funnier case there was a song by the name of "Transfusion" banned
because it was felt that a blood transfusion was not a laughing matter.

Perhaps the most farcical form of censorship in the 50\'s came about in

1957 when Elvis Presley was scheduled to perform on the Ed Sullivan show.

Cameramen were instructed not to film any of Elvis\'s lower body because
his dancing was considered inappropriate for the viewing audience(Elvis

To Ice-T 3). What is so offensive about that to have it censored from the
public. Times have changed though, today we just sit back and laugh at
that type of censorship.

The 1960\'s brought about a new wave of
censorship. During the 1960\'s, popular music diversified, and so
did the censors. Although the censorship supposedly diversified, the uncalled-for
censorship of certain music continued. In 1964 the state of Indiana
banned the song " Louie Louie" because they felt that it had some sexual
content in it. But if you listen to the words it is obvious that
sexual content is no where to be found. In 1967, the Rolling Stones were
forced to change the lyrics of a song in order to perform it on national
television because, of course, it had sexual content. The song was
called "Let\'s Spend The Night Together" and they were forced to say "Let\'s

Spend Some Time Together." Later that decade John Lennon and Yoko Ono\'s
album "Two Virgin\'s" featured a naked picture of the two. These albums
were confiscated before they even had a chance to hit the record stores.

There was one Chicago retailer shut down by the vice squad for carrying
this album(The 1960ís 1). A piece of art is destroyed if altered. What
would Michael Angelos\' famous sculpture "The Thinker" be like if somebody
carved clothes on to him. it wouldn\'t be what he attended and therefore
the art piece would loose most of its significance.

People often times do not get offended
as easily as they use to. In the early 1990\'s an album released by Nirvana
featured a naked baby on the cover. There was very little controversy
over the cover and there was no ban of the record sale. Unlike the 1950s,
the 60s proved to have a few more controversial topics. That goes to show
how people change their views about morality as time passes.

The 1970s proved to have just as many controversial
cases about censorship, as the fifties and sixties. In April of 1971

Officials in Illinois released a list of popular music that contained drug
references. The