The 164 songs that were banned from the radio after 9/11

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks struck New York City and killed almost 3,000 people, the impacts were hugely significant.

It was the moment that shook a superpower, with the images of the Twin Towers and their destruction burned into the memory of a generation who woke up on 11 September, 2001 thinking it was going to be a completely normal day.

There were a huge amount of changes in the aftermath, with George W Bush announcing a ‘War on Terror’ in retaliation and the US government introducing a whole raft of new restrictions and rules surrounding security.

It was an event which would come to define the modern world for years to come, and in those days immediately after the attack, minds turned towards how to avoid causing further upset to a traumatised and shocked nation.

One of those changes was the music people listened to, and part of that is because certain radio stations banned a whole load of songs they thought would be insensitive after the terrorist attacks.

The 9/11 attacks shook the world. Credit: World History Archive / Alamy Stock PhotoAccording to Kerrang, broadcaster Clear Channel Communications drew up a list of 164 songs which they deemed to be ‘lyrically questionable’ or insensitive to play.

The list was sent out to around 1,100 radio stations they owned, with DJs told not to play the music for fear that people wouldn’t want to hear certain lyrics at such a sensitive time.

Some of the reasons behind certain songs being taken off air for a while are pretty obvious, but other choices are really mystifying.

It’s understandable that people probably wouldn’t want to listen to ‘New York, New York’ or ‘Leavin’ on a Jet Plane’ in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, but some DJs chose to play the songs anyway.

The full list of 164 songs is here:

3 Doors Down – Duck and Run

311 – Down

AC/DC – Shot Down in Flames

AC/DC – Shoot to Thrill

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

AC/DC – Safe in New York City


AC/DC – Hell’s Bells

Several AC/DC songs weren’t allowed to be played on air. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock PhotoAd Libs – The Boy from New York City

Alanis Morissette – Ironic

Alice in Chains – Rooster

Alice in Chains – Sea of Sorrow

Alice in Chains – Down in a Hole

Alice in Chains – Them Bones

Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal

Animals – We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Arthur Brown – Fire

Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian

Barenaked Ladies – Falling for the First Time

Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction

Beastie Boys – Sure Shot

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

The Beatles – A Day in the Life

The Beatles – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

The Beatles – Ticket To Ride

The Beatles – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Billy Joel – Only the Good Die Young

Ironic by Alanis Morrissette was part of the list of banned tracks. Credit: jeremy sutton-hibbert / Alamy Stock PhotoBlack Sabbath – War Pigs

Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Blood Sweat and Tears – And When I Die

Blue Oyster Cult – Burnin’ For You

Bob Dylan/Guns N Roses – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Bobby Darin – Mack the Knife

Boston – Smokin’

Brooklyn Bridge – Worst That Could Happen

Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire

Bruce Springsteen – Goin’ Down

Bruce Springsteen – War

Buddy Holly and the Crickets – That’ll Be the Day

Bush – Speed Kills

Carole King – I Feel the Earth Move

Cat Stevens – Peace Train

Cat Stevens – Morning Has Broken

Chi-Lites – Have You Seen Her

The Clash – Rock the Casbah

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band

The Cult – Fire Woman

Dave Clark Five – Bits and Pieces

Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me

Dio – Holy Diver

Don McLean – American Pie

The Doors – The End

Drifters – On Broadway

Drowning Pool – Bodies

Edwin Starr – War

Elton John – Benny & The Jets

Elton John – Daniel

Elton John – Rocket Man

Elton John had multiple songs on the banned list. Credit: imageBROKER / Alamy Stock PhotoElvis – (You’re the) Devil in Disguise

Everclear – Santa Monica

Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot

Fontella Bass – Rescue Me

Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly

Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

Frank Sinatra – New York, New York

Fuel – Bad Day

The Gap Band – You Dropped a Bomb On Me

Godsmack – Bad Religion

Green Day – Brain Stew

Happenings – See You in September

Herman’s Hermits – Wonderful World

Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

J. Frank Wilson – Last Kiss

Jackson Browne – Doctor My Eyes

James Taylor – Fire and Rain

Jan and Dean – Dead Man’s Curve

Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire

Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

John Lennon – Imagine

John Mellencamp – Crumbling Down

John Mellencamp – I’m On Fire

John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire

Judas Priest – Some Heads Are Gonna Roll

Kansas – Dust in the Wind

Korn – Falling Away From Me

Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven

Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away

Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff

Local H – Bound for the Floor

Los Bravos – Black is Black

Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone

Martha & the Vandellas – Nowhere to Run

Martha & the Vandellas – Dancing in the Streets

Megadeth – Dread and the Fugitive

Megadeth – Sweating Bullets

Metallica – Seek and Destroy

Metallica – Harvester or Sorrow

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Metallica – Fade to Black

The music of Metallica was censored after 9/11. Credit: James Jeffrey Taylor / Alamy Stock PhotoMitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels – Devil with the Blue Dress

Mudvayne – Death Blooms

Neil Diamond – America

Nina – 99 Luft Balloons/99 Red Balloons

Nine Inch Nails – Head Like a Hole

Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky

Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party

Ozzy Osbourne – Suicide Solution

Paper Lace – The Night Chicago Died

Pat Benatar – Hit Me with Your Best Shot

Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield

Paul McCartney and Wings – Live and Let Die

Peter Gabriel – When You’re Falling

Peter and Gordon – I Go To Pieces

Peter and Gordon – A World Without Love

Peter Paul and Mary – Blowin’ in the Wind

Peter Paul and Mary – Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

Petula Clark – A Sign of the Times

Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight

Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell

Pink Floyd – Mother

P.O.D.- Boom

Pretenders – My City Was Gone

Queen – Another One Bites the Dust

Queen – Killer Queen

All Rage Against The Machine songs

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Aeroplane

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge

REM – It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Ricky Nelson – Travelin’ Man

Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday

Saliva – Click Click Boom

Sam Cooke – Wonderful World

Santana – Evil Ways

Savage Garden – Crash and Burn

Shelley Fabares – Johnny Angel

Even Simon and Garfunkel ended up having one of their songs on the banned list. Credit: CBW / Alamy Stock PhotoSimon And Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Skeeter Davis – End of the World

Slipknot – Left Behind

Slipknot – Wait and Bleed

Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Soundgarden – Blow Up the Outside World

Soundgarden – Fell on Black Days

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

Steam – Na Na Na Na Hey Hey

Steve Miller – Jet Airliner

Stone Temple Pilots – Big Bang Baby

Stone Temple Pilots – Dead and Bloated

Sugar Ray – Fly

Surfaris – Wipeout

System of a Down – Chop Suey!

Talking Heads – Burning Down the House

Temple of the Dog – Say Hello to Heaven

Third Eye Blind – Jumper

Three Degrees – When Will I See You Again

Tom Petty – Free Fallin’

Tool – Intolerance

Tramps – Disco Inferno

U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday

Van Halen – Dancing In The Street

Van Halen – Jump

Youngbloods – Get Together

Zager and Evans – In the Year 2525

Zombies – She’s Not There

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