BBC gets heat for censoring Elvis Costello’s 1979 hit “Oliver’s Army”

tags: Salon, BBC, Elvis Costello, Oliver's Army, censorship



The BBC is fielding complaints for editing the 1979 Elvis Costello hit “Oliver’s Army” on a 6 Music radio broadcast last week. The Mail reports that BBC censored the “one more widow, one less white n****r” lyric, despite the fact that the song has generally played uncensored on the radio for more than thirty years.

According to the Telegraph, one listener said, “‘Although it is not a nice phrase and I wouldn’t condone the use of the word these days, it is an anti-war song as far as I believe, arguing against British colonialism and the word would be appropriate for that song.”

BBC DJs Mike Read and Trevor Nelson also criticized the censorship on a program called Feedback. Nelson called the conspicuous edit “a little patronizing,” while Read said, “I think cutting a piece out and changing the whole tempo of the music simply draws attention to it. If you don’t like the sentiment or you don’t agree with the sentiment then don’t play it but to take the scissors and cut a bit out of it, I am sure Elvis Costello might have something to say about that.”...



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