Wednesday, 7 September 2011


For your end-of-summer blues, some songs which were (temporarily) banned from the airwaves. It all started in 1942, when the BBC decided to ban pop music as detracting from the war effort!
We have recently adopted a policy of excluding sickly sentimentality which, particularly when sung by certain vocalists, can become nauseating and not at all in keeping with what we feel to be the need of the public in this country in the fourth year of war.
Ewan McColl was banned in the 50s and 60s: not because of his bloody awful voice (good songs though), but because people shouldn't hear songs by communists.
Denim's 'Summer Smash', released the week of Diana Windsor's failure to clunk-click:

The Smiths' 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out': Jo Whiley played it on the day Diana died: presumably she was being sympathetic. I took it as a subversive nod to the silent majority (I hope) who were sad that someone died young but resented being forced to emote loud and long by the dictatorship of the tabloids/news media/politicians/royalist mob. All together now:
And if a double-decker busCrashes into usTo die by your sideIs such a heavenly way to dieAnd if a ten ton truckKills the both of usTo die by your sideWell the pleasure, the privilege is mine
Take me out tonightTake me anywhere, I don't careI don't care, I don't careAnd in the darkened underpassI thought Oh God, my chance has come at lastBut then a strange fear gripped meAnd I just couldn't ask

And of course, The Cure. How unfortunate to write a song called 'Killing An Arab' only for our political lords and masters to do just that for the last 30 years. And how hypocritical to declare the song offensive, not the act. Honourable mentions too for Phil Collins' 'In the air tonight' and John Lennon's 'Imagine': banned presumably in case it incited mass pacifism. I do wonder what the broadcasters think they're doing: I doubt most listeners take their political and moral direction from pop songs, nor do I think the BBC should be adapting their policies to suit governments.

Then there's The Shamen's 1992 cheerily unsubtle homage to Ecstasy, or rather 'Ebeneezer Goode': I remember seeing this on Top of the Pops before the Beeb caught on:

Sadly, George Formby's 1937 masterpiece, 'With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock' was never offered for airplay: cheeky George knew what would happen. Like most of his songs, it's purest filth!

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