Dialing back on offensive lyrics

LadyOnArooftop

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Elvis Costello has asked radio stations to stop playing his song "Oliver's Army" because the lyrics contain a racial slur. He wrote the song in 1979, you'd think he'd have known then how offensive the word was... The Rolling Stones are showing similar unease over their song "Brown Sugar". I imagine there are other examples?... of the changing ethical considerations musicians must now navigate in order to maintain a 'social license'.
 

PandemicOfFear

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Oh dear, are the poor widdle listeners going to cwy.
This cancel culture needs to stop. Everyone is offended by everything so of course everything must go.
I’m offended by Rap Music but I don’t demand it to be taken off the radio, I just don’t listen.

Now people are cancelling their own songs to save them from being “shamed” by the woke ‘I can tear down what I want with impunity’ rabble?

What a fecked up world we are creating for ourselves. :mad::mad:
 
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Saphire

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Elvis Costello has asked radio stations to stop playing his song "Oliver's Army" because the lyrics contain a racial slur. He wrote the song in 1979, you'd think he'd have known then how offensive the word was... The Rolling Stones are showing similar unease over their song "Brown Sugar". I imagine there are other examples?... of the changing ethical considerations musicians must now navigate in order to maintain a 'social license'.
Great thread. :cool:

He covers a lot of conflict in this song, and the racial slur seems to be directed towards the Irish not the blacks, though, like you say, he knew the word was offensive even then.

It's his right to disown the song, the one that probably made him more money than any other, but it smacks of bandwagon jumping a bit to me.
History is history, be it in popular culture or great works of art, should we hide or destroy it all because it doesn't fit with todays world?
 

Saphire

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Oh dear, are the poor widdle listeners going to cwy.
This cancel culture needs to stop. Everyone is offended by everything so of course everything must go.
I’m offended by Rap Music but I don’t demand it to be taken off the radio, I just don’t listen.

Now people are cancelling their own songs to save them from being “shamed” by the woke ‘I can tear down what I want with impunity’ rabble?

What a fecked up world we are creating for ourselves. :mad::mad:
Maybe slapping your b**** and calling your mate a mother f***** will also be deemed to be offensive one day too....hopefully.
 

SamBally

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White n***** was commonly used by the British Army in Northern Ireland during the conflict as a derogatory insult for Catholics and used in the Costello song, in context, to highlight that prejudice and abuse. Costello himself states he would not use the term now because it would not be appropriate, this is 2022 and not 1979.

It shows emotional maturity that he recognizes why it would be so offensive now and why he has apologized for it and why he alone decided to retire the song.
 

Saphire

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White n***** was commonly used by the British Army in Northern Ireland during the conflict as a derogatory insult for Catholics and used in the Costello song, in context, to highlight that prejudice and abuse. Costello himself states he would not use the term now because it would not be appropriate, this is 2022 and not 1979.

It shows emotional maturity that he recognizes why it would be so offensive now and why he has apologized for it and why he alone decided to retire the song.
I agree it's his right, and obviously the way he expressed himself in his 20's wont be the same way he expresses himself now he is pushing 70.

It's also good that it's his decision, and not one of the permanently offended, always on the lookout for something to whinge about.
 

PandemicOfFear

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Maybe slapping your b**** and calling your mate a mother f***** will also be deemed to be offensive one day too....hopefully.
I find it offensive that black people only find the ‘n’ word offensive when uttered by whitey, but it’s just fine to use the term amongst themselves, or in song lyrics. If they are really hurt by the meaning of the word, or rather it’s derivation, then surely it’s the word itself, not who is using it?
 

Saphire

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I find it offensive that black people only find the ‘n’ word offensive when uttered by whitey, but it’s just fine to use the term amongst themselves, or in song lyrics. If they are really hurt by the meaning of the word, or rather it’s derivation, then surely it’s the word itself, not who is using it?
Obviously double standards.
But....don't we all call our mates words we wouldn't use towards others? Sometimes in jest, sometimes not
It's like...I can moan about my OH and call him all the names under the sun, but if anyone else does it...watch out.;)
 

SamBally

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This thread was always only going to lead in one direction.

...
 

PandemicOfFear

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Obviously double standards.
But....don't we all call our mates words we wouldn't use towards others? Sometimes in jest, sometimes not
It's like...I can moan about my OH and call him all the names under the sun, but if anyone else does it...watch out.;)
Fair point, but would you call him those names in a song and then cry when he complained? :p
 

LadyOnArooftop

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Another one that springs to mind is "Melting pot" by Blue Mink, There's a few racial slurs in that song. That's one that does need taking off the airways.
 

SamBally

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It's the direction some Forum'ers take it :(

It's an interesting topic I wasn't having a pop at you. Would I say the same things I said 40 years ago, make the same jokes, of course not, why should Costello be any different?
 

LadyOnArooftop

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It's an interesting topic I wasn't having a pop at you. Would I say the same things I said 40 years ago, make the same jokes, of course not, why should Costello be any different?
You, have a pop at me? never! fact-check me to death, yes! but never a popping at :)
 

UKRaider

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The 'offensive' bit refers to a name given to a Private in the British Army according to Elvis:

"... it has recently fallen foul of cancel culture owing to his barbed inclusion of the “n” word to describe a British private (“Only takes one itchy trigger/ One more widow, one less white n-----”)."

“If I wrote that song today, maybe I’d think twice about it,” he says. “That’s what my grandfather was called in the British army – it’s historically a fact...."

Telegraph 8 Jan 2022 interview.
 

AGirlHasNoName

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Grime music with young men telling other young men to beat up the cops and stab each other is okay though.

Oliver's Army is a tune.

 
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CrazyCatLady

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Maybe slapping your b**** and calling your mate a mother f***** will also be deemed to be offensive one day too....hopefully.
I love a bit of slapping your bait and calling your mate a mother ducker....Lol :p

And I agree. This is a fab thread! Love it!
 

CrazyCatLady

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Elvis Costello has asked radio stations to stop playing his song "Oliver's Army" because the lyrics contain a racial slur. He wrote the song in 1979, you'd think he'd have known then how offensive the word was... The Rolling Stones are showing similar unease over their song "Brown Sugar". I imagine there are other examples?... of the changing ethical considerations musicians must now navigate in order to maintain a 'social license'.
Firstly, very cool thread! Very relevant topic, given the censorship everything and everyone is coming under lately.
I played the song after reading this, because although I'd heard it (and badly sang lyrics I didn't know!), had never really listened to the words. On Youtube, so it gave me a few more of his and I subsequently have a new appreciation of Elvis Costello & The Attractions!

I love offensive lyrics- the more F's in a song, the more likely I am to listen to it! And I believe vocal art should be exempt from 'wokeness' or offence. Music & stand up, there should be no rules- they are rights of expression.
Rap & Grime music is obviously the biggest offender- Eminem was rapping about drugging women, raping and murdering them in his earlier days and some rappers still are, yet there is little regulation of it, so I find it unfair they are going for the oldies.

I wonder- we have all the peado music from the past- will that eventually be slapped with a ban? Stray Cat Blues- Rolling Stones; Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen- Neil Sedaka; Christine Sixteen- Kiss; The Blowers Daughter- Damien Rice to name a few.
 
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