Radio Station Clips Eagles’ Wings
“Life in the Fast Lane,” a track from the Eagles 1976 album Hotel California that everyone you ever met can probably sing part of, has been censored by a classic hits radio station with the rather ironic name Eagle 106.9 FM, according to Birmingham Weekly.
The offending line? (Sing along now):
We’ve been up and down this highway, haven’t seen a goddamn thing.
That’s it. Not a b**** or a ho in sight. Just a curse that you probably learned before you got to first grade (to the horror of your mother, no doubt).
Obviously a classic hits rock station is unlikely to play a song by the Underground Kingz or any other hip hop artist for that matter. But come on, censoring the Eagles? Why? And how?
Eagle 106.9 program manager Mike Schoenherr, a.k.a. Hurricane Shane, replaced “god” with a snippet of lyric-less music from elsewhere in the song.
This was neither per any FCC policy or a mandate from Eagle 106.9’s owner, Cox Radio.
“It’s everybody’s policy,” says Eagle 106.9 station manager Ray Nelson, explaining his decision. “People find it offensive.” Of note, Nelson is a veteran of nearly 40 years in radio.
“Everybody’s policy.” Uh huh. Everybody, that is, but the thousands of programming directors and station managers who’ve been playing the song intact for more than 30 years. So how do the members of the Eagles feel about being aurally redacted?
“This is the first time this issue has come to my attention,” says Don Felder, guitarist for the Eagles from 1974-1980 and 1994-2001. A native of the South, he agrees with Nelson in one respect: “There are people who have extreme religious beliefs that would find it offensive. I can understand why they wouldn’t like to hear it.”
Felder believes the song should be broadcast as the Eagles recorded it, though. His long list of reasons includes his determination that classic rock fans prefer it that way. Legally, the Eagles have no recourse.
A quick suggestion (if not an obvious one) for those “classic rock fans” who are offended: Listen to another station or turn off the radio when the song comes on.
Here’s another one: If the station is worried the song is offensive, don’t play it. Problem solved, right?
The Birmingham Weekly doesn’t mention if 106.9 feels the need to censor songs by other artists who find themselves on classic hits stations. For example:
From Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”: But she never lost her head, even when she was giving head
From Steve Miller Band’s “Jet Airliner”: That I don’t want to get caught up in any of that funky shit goin’ down in the city
From The Who’s “Who Are You”: Oh Who the f*** are you?
From Pink Floyd’s “Money”: Money, it’s a hit. Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
And here’s something else that’s puzzling: The people who are offended by the phrase “goddamn thing” are apparently okay with “They had one thing in common. They were good in bed” and “There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face.” Really? So sex and drugs are fine – just make sure you don’t take the lord’s name in vain.
There is one ray of hope for Eagles fans living in Birmingham. The station’s program manager said that he would consider playing the song intact.
“I’d be happy to conduct an online poll to gauge listener opinion, because after all the station is theirs, not mine,” Hurricane Shane said. “I just mix the music and try to amuse and entertain listeners occasionally.”
Better late than never I guess.
Read the Birmingham Weekly’s coverage of the issue and take the online poll here.