In the process of sorting through all the available media out there to post (and at date of post that sorting is nowhere near complete and I’m beginning to suspect it maybe an impossible task!), somewhere along the way I flitted past a comment about ‘Killin’ Kind‘ being banned from US radio after the 9/11 attacks. I may or may not be blessed to have a diligent little portion of my brain that gathers such random snippets of information and carefully files them away for later. So this quirky little ‘fact’ came top of mind as I struggled getting a version of the ‘Killin’ Kind’ that would play in Australia. Thank you, Jordie, for sorting that out.
So I threw myself off the Google cliff, found an interview from 2008 published in the New York Times. In an era of pointless, vacuous (music) journalism I loved reading this, for once the journalist possesses genuine writing ability combined with coherent research and an obvious love of music. It did not, however, provide much insight into’ banning’ of said single. Except for this “There’s no way that radio was going to play anything with ‘kill’ in the title,” says her manager, Elizabeth Jordan.
But I couldn’t let it go, in 2001 I was working for a chain of music stores in Sydney called Fish Records and I was sure that I had heard something about an insanely long list of songs that were not being played in the US. I did find a list on a site called Freemuse; in a nutshell it would seem that one of the largest radio networks did have a list of ‘best to avoid’ tracks…… hilariously among the artists are Petula Clark, Neil Diamond, The Hollies, Buddy Holly & the Crickets……. I mean, Really? The argument being that these songs were insensitive……… when the media is flooded everyday with spoken commentary about death, maiming, destruction, racism, homophobia seemingly without concern for the populations sensitivities … radio stations took it upon themselves to vet out material far beyond six degrees of separation from current affairs of the day…. in some instances songs were recorded 50 years before 9/11!!!
But maybe it was all as it was meant to be, perhaps in an alternate reality Shelby Lynne had a massive hit with Killin’ Kind, got sucked into the Pop music factory and came out the other end chock full of extender, flavor enhancers, color numbers, emulsifiers and preservatives, perfect to be carted around Oprah, Ellen De-Generes and Entertainment Tonight, sound bite perfect and video clip air brushed.
But in this reality she didn’t and selfishly I’m glad.