Music icon Elvis Costello calls on radio station to stop airing one of his biggest hits for racial slur

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Rock music legend Elvis Costello has said he will no longer perform one of his biggest hits, ‘Oliver’s Army’, and urged radio stations to also stop playing it without censorship.

The Associated Press/Richard Shotwell


The 1979 tune was inspired by the conflicts in Northern Ireland that took place in the 1970s and uses a racial slur to describe a British soldier. The song has drawn criticism in recent years due to the use of the N-word.

The song was played uncensored on radio in the UK for decades until 2013 when it was paged by a BBC station, which attracted widespread criticism from listeners.

“Only takes one itch trigger; one more widow, one less white [expletive]says the song.


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In a recent interview with the telegraphCostello said he plans to tour this summer, but will omit the popular song from his setlist.

“If I was writing this song today I might think twice about it,” he told the Telegraph.

“That’s what my grandfather was called in the British Army – it’s historically a fact – but people hear that word ringing like a bell and accusing me of something I didn’t have the intention,” he said.

“On the last tour, I wrote a new verse about censorship, but what’s the point? So I decided not to play it,” Costello added.

Costello said playing the edited song on the radio “is a mistake” and added stations make the song worse by making it bleep.

“Because then they highlight it. Don’t play the record! he said.


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