Music has the extraordinary ability to express almost anything we can feel or think. It is an expression of life, just in a few minutes a song can express ideas, events, and emotions. It can express hopes, admirations, joy or sorrow, music expresses ones culture in society in a song. The imagination can speak through music in a way otherwise impossible. Be it the instruments that play, or lyrics that sing, music is an expression of speech in our society.
Music can mean something different to every individual, and can get people through tough times, or express the good times and enhance any event in life. Music has the ability to save lives, or make life worth living. You would think it would be a crime to hamper an artist’s ability to create something that can speak to people and save lives, however in some parts of the world, any song that goes against the people in power can be censored from the public, and the artist can be punished for making it. Artists of all kinds throughout time have been persecuted for creating controversial works of art, be it through song, painting or literature.
Elvis is the “King of Rock” yet in his time he was thought to be controversial with his swaying hips that were deemed too sexual in its day and age… so he was censored from the waste down on TV shows. Even a song as beautiful as “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison was banned until a more acceptable version was produced because the original version presented issues of premarital sex and teen pregnancy. These issues were thought to be expressed too naturally and socially tolerable in the song… so the government banned the original version.
The Doors were thought to be very controversial because of Jim Morrison’s cryptic lyrics, and his unpredictable stage presence. One of his most famous acts of censorship was when Jim was maced backstage before a show in New Haven, however the show went on as planned. Then while on stage after Jim began to tell the audience of what happened, they came on stage and arrested him… aka censored his freedom of speech!
The list goes on forever of artists that were too controversial for the censors and tough for the government to handle. Artists such as; Eminem, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Madonna, The Sex Pistols, The Doors, Bob Marley and Black Sabbath just to name a few have been censored for using too much profanity, or hinting to drug abuse, violence, Satanism, anti-Americanism or sexuality in their music. Even the amazing album “Abbey Road” by the Beatles was thought to be too controversial for it’s thoughts of drug abuse, and Satanism.
America is supposed to be the land of the free, home of the brave, we have rights such as the freedom of speech, and expression, however the very art our society makes is banned and censored by the government that we are supposedly in charge of. Some stores don’t even carry albums with a “Parental Advisory Label” even though those albums can’t be purchased by anybody under the age of 18.
The radio or television rarely plays anything controversial or deemed inappropriate by certain administrations such as the FCC. How many times have you heard songs such as “Legalize it” originally by Peter Tosh (also Bob Marley made a version with Peter Tosh), and all the song is about is expressing a thought on how Marijuana should be legalized. Or on a similar topic how about the song “Burn one down” by Ben Harper. The songs beloved by millions… yet I’ve never heard it on any public broadcast. The song commits no crimes or violations, just speaks out on a controversial topic that the government tries to censor the general public from hearing about. Most any song that touches base with topics such as these are avoided by the radio mainstream no matter how good the song may be, and that to me violates the freedom’s our American forefathers fought and died to give us.
I understand the idea that music effects vulnerable minds of children, however that’s what parents are for. If you don’t want your child to hear or see something, then don’t allow them to. It’s not the duty of an artist to censor what they have to say but the responsibility of the parents to pick and choose what’s allowed in they’re homes. In today’s age of V Chips and programs to censor what’s viewed on the internet, it’s increasingly easier for parents to censor what they’re parents can view or hear, so that’s a non issue in my mind.
Censorship not only effects an artists ability to fully express themselves in any way they see fit, but it can almost eliminate certain controversial young striving artists from receiving mainstream popularity in today’s day and age. Censorship forces these artists to remain in the underground markets where they will never achieve the rewards they may deserve. How much profound art has been made that we have yet to hear because of these songs remaining in the underground due to government censorship? How many artists have been pushed around by the industry due to censorship to the point of them giving up?

MuzicNotez Crew