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Elton John World News: Bennie's Jets cooled as radio no-no

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Off air after airbourne disaster

Thursday 7 August 2003 @ 21:16 - GMT

Imagine the fan's favourite, Elton's Bennie and the Jets being banned!

That's what happened after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

As media reported "aircraft jets slamming into New York's Twin Towers", so officials at one of the United States' largest radio empires looked to slam Bennie, according to a report released later this month by U.S. magazine The Nation.

No doubt because of the term "The Jets" in the title, some officials at Clear Channel were looking to amend a list of songs not considered suitable for airplay.

Clear Channel holds a large stable of U.S. radio stations and its playlists often determine airtime across the nation.

The Nation reported: "The week the war on Iraq began...DJs had Dan Bern's Talking Al Kida Blues - a song that could make the Dixie Chicks blush - in heavy rotation.

"Let's not forget that an overzealous Clear Channel official circulated a list of more than 150 songs with "questionable" lyrics affiliates might have wanted to avoid playing immediately after September 11, most of them - like Elton John's Bennie and the Jets - a hundred times tamer than Bern's ditty."

Two U.S. civilian planes crashed into New York's World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and another hit Washington's Pentagon, as terror groups commandeered the planes. A fourth plane crashed near Pittsburgh after passengers foiled another terror attempt. Around 3,000 people died.