British radio bans records Gary Glitter

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Gary Glitter will probably have been tried, convicted and sentenced for abusing two girls in Vietnam by the time these words appear. He has already been in jail here for possessing child pornography. Once the sequined godfather of glam rock, he is the very definition of a fallen star. But anyone who wants to hear any of the No 1 hits that made him a household name will be disappointed. British radio bans his records, both officially and unofficially. The same applies to Jonathan King, another singer from the 1970s, who is now on parole after being jailed for offences involving teenage boys. His records, too, have been airbrushed from the airwaves. This is not a topic the industry likes to talk about, and PPL (the body that collects royalties for performers) refuses to discuss it. [...]

But where do you draw the line? Lord Archer is a convicted perjurer, but nobody suggests that shops stop selling his books. James Brown has a record (robbery, drugs, assault) stretching back 50 years, yet he is now being fêted with a four-part celebration on Radio 2. Johnnie Walker has a cocaine conviction, yet has just collected his MBE (and, though sadly leaving his Drivetime show at the end of this month, will continue to enjoy a high profile on Britain’s most listened-to station). Pete Doherty and George Michael both have criminal records, but their songs are not banned. At the very least, there is the principle of consistency. [...]

You do not have to feel sympathy for either man to feel there is something not quite right here. Should artists be expunged because of offences that have nothing to do with their music, and should there not be, at the very least, open discussion about it?

source: Article 'Radio Waves: Paul Donovan: The ban plays on'; www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-2064714,00.html; The Sunday Times; Times Online; 5 March 2006