Bleep! Censoring Rock and Rap Music

By Betty Houchin Winfield; Sandra Davidson | Go to book overview

"Let Me Count the Ways": Censoring Rock 'n' Rap Music

Betty Houchin Winfield

Bleep! Censoring Rock and Rap Music is about societal attempts to control rock V rap music in a democracy. This book explains how governmental statutes, agency regulations, business controls and parents have tried to censor the music and when they have succeeded or why not. In particular, Bleep! discusses rock 'n' roll music, the offending lyrics and the surrounding youth culture beginning in the mid-1980s, and the rap beat, lyrics and hip-hop culture beginning in the mid-1980s. The book also focuses on the dilemma of a people who ideally believe in free expression as part of a democracy, yet at the same time are not absolute in that belief for various reasons. The limits of such tolerance about popular music are explained in Bleep!

The exploration of various aspects of rock and rap music censorship involves diverse and wide-ranging topics. The controls concern general societal reactions to new and alien music, racism, governmental responses, media outlets such as Rolling Stone, the New York Times and "The Ed Sullivan Show," and the music industry itself. All serve as gatekeepers, in a way controllers of the music and lyrics. The methodologies used here are qualitative: historical, legal and cultural. The chapter emphases go from general to specific.

In Chapter 1, "From Fine Romance to Good Rockin' -- and Beyond: Look What They've Done to My Song," musicologist Michael J. Budds explains why American post-World War II popular music became so controversial in the 1950s, with examples and references to human sexuality and societal racism.

In. Chapter 2, "Because of the Children: Decades of Attempted Controls of Rock 'n' Rap Music", press-government scholar Betty Houchin Winfield discusses the attempted prohibitions by American parents who organized and pressured government and industry toward controlling youth-based music and the subsequent youth culture. She traces how mostly Caucasian adults have censored under the guise of protecting

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