Controversy

Episode 6

John Walker Blues

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Aired Unknown Unknown on CMT - Country Music Television
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John Walker Blues
On Sept. 11, 2001, the entire world watched as the Twin Towers fell, killing scores of innocent Americans. U.S.-led efforts to hunt down the perpetrators in Afghanistan yielded the discovery of a young American serving as a Taliban soldier. John Walker Lindh's very existence offended renewed patriotic sensibilities throughout the nation. In this volatile climate, somewhere between grief and angry revenge, many artists chose to express their feelings about the tragedy through song. Steve Earle's decision to give voice to Lindh's life created a firestorm of public debate. On July 21, 2002, months before the song was officially released, a New York Post story claimed the song "glorified" Lindh and called him "Jesus-like." Few radio stations wanted to play the song, and the controversy brought Earle a tremendous amount of criticism, calling into question his patriotism and loyalty and provoking issues of censorship and freedom of speech.moreless
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