Music Censorship

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Unit 3 Individual Project
By Harold Ray Robinson III
Cause and Effect Essay: Music Censorship

Abstract: This cause and effect essay analyzes the lyrical content of popular music recordings, cited as censored. Out of 60 articles from the music trade magazines, "Billboard" and "Rolling Stone," 77 instances of censorship were recorded and analyzed. The categories for evaluation were the year of citation, music style, and reason for censorship. Nineteen ninety was the year with the highest number of journal articles (21) covering music censorship. Rap (48%) and rock (44.2%) music accounted for a large portion of the total censored recordings and the majority of recordings were censored because of lyrics seen as explicit, profane, obscene or vulgar. In addition, five rock recordings were censored because of objectionable artwork on or inside the covers. Recordings were also censored because of opposition to a view the artist expressed. Two tables depict the years of citation and the reasons for censorship, each according to music styles. (Anthony K.S 1995)

Music has historically been, and continues to be, censored in an attempt to enforce morality. It’s not a coincidence that music censorship in America began to accelerate during the 1950s, when traditional and conservative values began to unravel. At the time, order, strict obedience to authority, and conservative values were part of the accepted mindset.(Lambordi, Victor 1991) With the advent of rock ‘n’ roll, however, young America began to loosen attitudes on issues relating to morality. Technology also played an important part in shaping the moral power struggle in the 1950s. (Lambordi, Victor 1991) For example, the 1920s era saw similar complaints against flappers and jazz musicians; however, radio wasn’t as dominant at that time. In the 1950s, radio provided access to new types of music that challenged traditional morality and created the dynamics for music censorship. (Lambordi, Victor 1991) In 1956,...
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