Posts Tagged ‘90′s’
True stories and Spike Lee joints teach us that between police and certain fringes of black population there’s bad blood, either because the first has always been seen as the armed wing of the white power that continues to oppress blacks, either because the latter often has culpably failed to exploit the rights won by the blood of previous generations, preferring to remain isolated in name but not in respect of those battles.
The early 90s attended the exploding of this tension and the triggering elements were the events linked to the arrest of Rodney King, a black American who was arrested for speeding March 3, 1991 in Los Angeles by LAPD after his refusal to a patrol intimated order to approach. King resisted arrest and suffered a beating by four cops that was accidentally filmed by a a bystander and accepted as the main evidence in the subsequent trial against the officers accused of brutality. King came out with broken bones but survived.
The following year, an unthinkable first verdict acquitted the 4 officers: President Bush himself declared that he felt it difficult to associate a similar decision to associate the images of the incident. The retaliation of the black community in Los Angeles was devastating: for three days the city was on fire, 53 people died, the wounded were more than 2000, only a battered Rodney King’s appeal to non-violence on live TV was able to gradually restore calm.
In the spring of 1992, the rap metal band Body Count came up with the first self-titled album containing the song “Cop Killer”, written in 1990 by singer Ice T and music by guitarist Ernie C, and inspired by the famous Talking Heads hit, Psycho Killer. The band’s large following among the black minorities and the combination of events ended up slamming the Body Count in the dock: the public was scandalized by the song’s lyrics, even the White House, especially Vice President Dan Quayle’s mouth, intervened to persuade Warner Bros. Records to pick up the album. Many associations linked to the police lined up against the band, the publisher and record stores selling the offending disk, threatening to boycott any requests for help if Cop Killer was not removed from the shelves.
Ice T claimed that the lyrics brought back the thinking of a fictional character and that he just played him firsthand. He admitted that he sometimes had “hostile thoughts” against the police, but he never tried to give rash to these instincts. A part of the public, including the National Black Police Association, sided with the Body Count in the name of freedom of expression enshrined in the First Amendment: the world of music, in the past, expressed in a hostile way toward the “guardians of ‘Order and Justice “, as in the case of” I Shot the Sheriff “, revived by Eric Clapton in the middle 70s without any pandemonium unleashed.
In July 1992, when the controversy had already dominated the clamor and appreciation for the song, Ice T, in agreement with the band and Warner Bros., decided to withdraw the album and republish it without the offending track that was supposed to go alone as a single. In fact the band left the label and the only reproposition of Cop Killer dated 2005, in “Body Cont: Live in LA”.
Although there has been nearly 20 years, the echoes of that time does not tend to decline and the curiosity of many fans and other bands, even the youngest, is directed to that song that embodied the energy of an emerging group, but was found to be present in spite of hell: in a recent interview, Ernie C defines it as something without half-measures, a love/hate thing. Imagine that Ice T is now a cop on Law & Order TV series.
Depeche Mode, the British band born in Basildon, Essex, in 1980, hold a very special record at home: the trio consisting of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher is the band with the greatest number of singles entered the UK Top 40 (43 between 1981 and 2009) that never peaked in the top three positions in this ranking. 14 songs entered the Top 10, while the rank No. 4 has been reached three times in different periods of their long career, as if to demonstrate the continued success of public they gathered all over 30 years.
The first occasion was in 1984 with People Are People, written by Martin Gore, who later said he don’t really love this track because it sends a too direct message, not subtle and introspective as the songs he likes.
The second in 1997 with Barrel Of A Gun, perhaps the darkest Depeche Mode song, so that Gore, who wrote it, was very undecided if relaese it as the first single from the album Ultra that, in fact, signed the artistic resurrection despite DM were on the brink of dissolution for the departure of Alan Wilder, Andrew Fletcher’s depression and Dave Gahan’s attempted suicide by overdose.
The third in 2005 with Precious, also written by Gore, who, contrary to his habits, said he wrote it thinking of his children and especially of the suffering they would have faced because of the separation between him and their mother.
On 3 October 1992, irish rock singer Sinead O’Connor was a guest on Saturday Night Live. After running the latest single from the new album, Am I Not Your Girl?, she engages in an a capella version of “War”, a Bob Marley’s song that in the past had been censored because it was said openly inciting violence. Sinead, dressed in white and surrounded by candles during the performance substitutes the words “racial injustice” with “sexual abuse” and at the end of the song, shouting “Fight the real enemy!” she took out from nowhere a Pope John Paul II photo and ripped it into pieces just in front of the cameras. Ice invaded the studio, NBC sent advertising, but they were immediately deluged with protest calls accusing the singer of blasphemy. In the meantime, Sinead herself said nothing about what she’d done or why she’d done it and hes the gesture thereby triggered endless controversies, so that two weeks later at Bob Dylan’s birthday, in a fully packed Madison Square Garden, she was greeted by a deafening mix of insults and applause: evidently influenced by that warm she repeated the show a capella with a force almost uncontrolled as if, alone, she tried to silence the crowd. At the end of that desperate performance she collapses in Kris Kristofferson’s arms in a sea of tears : that moment also marked the beginning of the artistic decline of this eccentric irish performer.
The formal reconciliation with the Pope took place in September 22, 1997: during an interview she ask the Holy Father to forgive her. He characterized his behavior as “a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel,” committed “because I was in rebellion against the faith, but I was still within the faith.” Quoting St. Augustine, he added, “Anger is the first step towards courage”, so that by the end of the 90 Sinead join the congregation of the controversial irish bishop Michael Cox, who ordained her as a priest without Vatican permission, who dismissed the incident calling it simply “bizarre.”
\ “War \” performance at Saturday Night Live, 0ctober 3, 1992