Monday, June 17, 2024

Patti Smith “N” Word Song Removed From Streaming, Forgotten John Lennon-Yoko Ono Title Likely Next


From time to time in the old days rock and roll artists tried to reinvent the “N” word. It just never worked.

Now reports are that Patti Smith’s Rock and Roll “N” has been removed from all streaming services. It’s still on her album, 1978’s “Easter,” and can be bought for download. But it can’t be heard just by pressing a button on a subscription service.

Since that’s happened, without explanation (and maybe none needed), the next removal is fairly obvious. “Woman is the “N” Word of the World” was Yoko Ono’s protest song, sung by John Lennon on his 1972 album, “Sometime in New York City.” The song meant well as a protest for women’s rights, but it never felt right. (Even as a teenager, it made me very uncomfortable and I never listened to it. I’d have to skip it on the album.)

At the time of the Lennon-Ono song’s release, there was an uproar, of course. Lennon tried to appease critics and even did interviews at the time with Jet and Ebony magazines with Black activist Dick Gregory. As time went by, of course, the song sort of drifted into disuse, all of Lennon’s other remarkable work superseded it, and that was it. It was never played on the radio and isn’t to this day.

But now it’s time to expunge it. No one anywhere will miss it. And I am not providing a link. All songs with this word should be removed from streaming, frankly, no matter who they’re from.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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