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June 17, 2005

Corrupting Our Musical Memories

This week's court case decision on Michael Jackson made me breathe a sigh of relief. I've been a big fan of his music, the whole planet has been, for the last 20 years. If he'd been found guilty of this crime, then could I ever again listen to his songs without feeling guilty by association?

Cast your mind back a few years. What was the biggest live concert draw in Britain around Christmas. Gary Glitter. Everyone loved him and his Glitter Band. "Leader of the Gang" was a national anthem. When did you last hear it? We've had our memories stolen from us. We're not allowed to listen to him any more. When they had a Top 100 hits of the '70s program recently on TV, Gary Glitter obviously had to feature in the listing - but though they showed a still photo of him, they instantly moved on without any video footage or music. I'm sure this is the correct decision - we now know what a thoroughly nasty man he is, but it's all very sad and disappointing all the same.

Likewise, we don't hear any Jonathan King on the radio any more - "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" was one of his, "Una Paloma Blanca", that's another. I quite liked them, but I'm not allowed to now. You won't hear them on the radio, and I doubt they'll have a CD in HMV if you could even bring yourself to take it to the till.

The same thing almost happened to Pete Townshend from The Who last year, Michael Jackson has just narrowly escaped. Who's next?

There are many scandals that our pop stars can recover, even thrive from. Gangsta Rap stars like Snoop Doggy Dog and 50 Cent sell more records if they get shot or sent to prison for violent crimes, and they perform songs glamourising hatred and degradation of women. Harry Connick Junior got into trouble with the police carrying a gun through an airport, and the Rolling Stones and Beatles famously had run-ins with the law over drugs. Luckily these crimes just increase an artist's appeal, and do nothing to harm our enjoyment of the music.

So while like any other sane person I obviously abhor any crime involving children and grown men, I do have a private reason too for hoping that my favourite stars are blameless in this area. If they get convicted, their entire back catalogue will be off the radio, they'll effecively become non-people, and my happy childhood memories of listening to them will be corrupted forever. And that's a crime too.

Posted by se71 at June 17, 2005 02:19 PM

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