The national anthem and "From a Distance" are definitely hot. "War is Hell on the Homefront" and "Give Peace a Chance" are definitely not.
It's easy to gauge the mood of America as its soldiers fight in the Persian Gulf through the music heard - and not heard - on the radio.Despite pockets of musical dissent, radio stations said they've been appealing to Americans' fighting spirit and need to be soothed in times of trouble through the music they play. War is big on the hit parade.
"Public opinion here is running about where the polls are so people tend to get feisty," said Gary Evans, program director for WDUZ in Green Bay, Wis. "You don't want to knock the troops or anything like that."
In the early weeks of the month-old war, one of the biggest hits is an old one - "The Star-Spangled Banner." From Whitney Houston's Super Bowl version to Jimi Hendrix's guitar solo from Woodstock, the national anthem is getting unprecedented air time.
It is played at sunrise and sunset on WMYU in Knoxville, Tenn., and at noon on WERZ in Exeter, N.H. Chicago's WBBM-FM encourages motorists to honk their horns when the song is played.
Bette Midler's "From a Distance," with the refrain of "God is watching us," and Styx's "Show Me the Way," with news reports interspersed with music, are popular.
"Get Here" by Oleta Adams is frequently requested, and rock stations poke fun with the Clash's "Rock the Casbah."
Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" has "become the second national anthem," said music director Jim Tapley of Georgia's WCHY.
Many country stations promote fist-pumping support of the troops through songs like Hank Williams Jr.'s "Don't Give Us a Reason" and Merle Haggard's "When You're Runnin' Down the Country, You're Walkin' on the Fightin' Side of Me."
War also has inspired songwriters. Alabama state Rep. Bob McKee, strumming guitar on his own "Message to Saddam," warns the Iraqi president that he could "end up barbecued."
At WGR-FM in Buffalo, N.Y., Sean Lennon's remake of his father's "Give Peace a Chance" was dumped because "it didn't feel right," said program director John Hager. A song titled "Kick Ass USA" is more popular, he said.
Britain's BBC has banned several songs it feels could be controversial for the duration of the war, like John Lennon's "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance."
There are no organized bans in the United States, but many stations are practicing self-censorship. Stations in Las Cruces, N.M.; Newark, N.J.; Huntington, W.Va.; Deadwood, S.D.; and Carbondale, Ill., all said they've pulled the plug on "Give Peace a Chance."
"Since the war started, people have forgotten that song; the time for that is past," said Garett Michaels, music director at WZPL in Indianapolis.
Many Vietnam War era songs, like Edwin Starr's "War" and Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," have vanished from the airwaves.
Anti-war messages, or at least pleas for peace, are heard on some stations. Buffalo's WBLK has mixed its own version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On" with political speeches, and WUEV in Evansville, Ind., reports rap band Public Enemy's anti-war message is popular.
"I think it's imperative to play ("Give Peace a Chance") because that's why we're over there," said disc jockey Tom Tucker of WRNR in Martinsburg, W.Va. "As a Vietnam veteran, I didn't go over there to make war. I went over there hoping that someday there would be peace."
Two songs off country playlists are "War is Hell on the Homefront," a T.G. Sheppard song about a woman who has an affair while her husband is at war, and "A Dear John Letter" by Jean Shepard.
Station WNNK in Harrisburg, Pa., pulled a version of Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" that featured a boy reading a letter to his father in the gulf when family members of soldiers overseas called in tears, said music director Scott Shaw.
Other stations are extraordinarily sensitive to anything listeners might misinterpret. A big band station pulled an instrumental called "In a Persian Market," and others have yanked the Gap Band's "You Dropped a Bomb on Me."
One Pennsylvania station stopped playing Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock" because some listeners complained "a rock" sounded too much like the country we're fighting.