The Cure - "Killing an Arab"
"It was a short poetic attempt at condensing my impression of the key moments in 'L'etranger'" (Robert Smith, singer).
Indeed, the song was inspired by Albert Camus' book The Stranger (also known as The Outsider). Camus published The Stranger in 1942. The song the Cure wrote is not a racist song, but still caused a lot of controversy because many people assumed it was, due to the title. The book deals with existentialism, and the title "Killing An Arab" was taken from a passage where the main character thinks about the emptiness of life after killing a man on a beach.
Arab groups protested this song because of the title. For The Cure, it wasn't worth the trouble to defend it so they asked radio stations to stop playing it. At the time, any music considered controversial could get you on lists created by conservative groups who would then pressure radio stations not to play your songs and stores not to sell your music. Smith: "The song was written in 1976, when I was 16. We used to play it in a pub in Crawley and it didn't seem that earth shattering at the time, and it seemed quite ludicrous to me that it suddenly became an issue afterwards. It was only when someone suggested that it was somehow some sort of publicity stunt that I thought, 'This has really gotten out of hand,' and that's when I asked for it to be withdrawn from airplay, just to make it obvious that we had no interest in perpetuating it as an onrunning issue. It was just unfortunate that the real world intruded".
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee raised objections to the air-play of the song when "Standing on a Beach" (a Cure best of) was later released. Smith and his record company (Elektra) drew up a cover sticker explaining the song's intent and requested that radio stations discontinue airing the song.
Available on the album "Three Imaginary Boys"