August 13, 2007

History and Trends in Rock Music That's Been Banned

One of the very best Classic Rock sites on the Internet is
If you have never checked them out, you should. I want to thank them because according to my site meter, I get a quite a few hits from people who find me via their site.

I got the info below from them. It's pretty amazing to see the changes over the years....this is just a glimpse comparing 1967, 77, 87, 97. Their site has ALL the years! Fascinating to see how times have changed.

What do you think? Have we come along way or gone to far? Do you think any music should be censored? If you have kids do you let them listen to rap/hip hop with explicit lyrics?


The BBC bans the Beatles' "A Day In The Life" from its airwaves, claiming it contained explicit drug references.

Because of its vague reference to masturbation, many radio stations ban The Who's single "Pictures of Lily".

The Rolling Stones appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was in jeopardy until Mick Jagger promised to change the words of "Let's Spend The Night Together" to "Let's spend some time together." When the line came up during the performance, Mick mumbled the words.

Sonny & Cher are barred from Pasadena, California's Tournament of Roses Parade for supporting some Sunset Strip rioters.

Radio programmers refuse to air Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" because the lyrics refer to premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. Morrison records an alternative version with more acceptable lyrics and the song becomes his first solo hit in the U.S.

When The Doors' are booked to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, producers insist that Jim Morrison change the lyrics to "Light My Fire". Morrison agreed to alter the lyric "Girl we couldn't get much higher" but during the live performance, Morrison sings the original lyric.

Sponsors go into an uproar and threaten to pull support after a television program shows interracial "touching." During the taping of a duet between Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte, Clark lays her hand on Belafonte's arm (Clark is white and Belafonte is black).


According to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, disco music promotes promiscuity and drug use and he calls for its removal from U.S. radio stations. This is the same Jesse Jackson who admitted in January, 2001 that he fathered a child out of wedlock, behind the back of his wife of 38 years and their five children.

Jefferson Starship was prevented from staging a free concert in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, because of a city by-law against the use of electronic instruments. The ban was lifted two years later.

Two weeks after signing the Sex Pistols, Virgin Records releases "God Save the Queen" to coincide with Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee celebration in June. The tune is banned from British airplay because of its "treasonous sentiments." Nonetheless, it becomes Number One in the U.K., listed in some reports with a blank line where the title should be.

Lou Reed was banned from appearing at The London Palladium because of his punk image.


In Callaway, Florida, a record clerk is arrested for selling a copy of 2 Live Crew's album,
"2 Live Is What We Are" to a fourteen year old boy.

George Michael's single "I Want Your Sex" is removed from the play lists of radio stations in Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Denver, and New York, because of its explicit sexual content. It is also banned in Britain by the BBC.

Heavy metal icon Ozzy Ozbourne is unsuccessfully sued by the parents of a 19 year old boy who claimed their son committed suicide after listening to Ozbourne's song "Suicide Solution".

The Beastie Boys become the first act censored on "American Bandstand".

Jello Biafra, leader of the punk group 'the Dead Kennedys' is acquitted of distributing pornography. The case involved the artwork by H.R. Giger, featured on the band's "Frankenchrist" album. Biafra was prosecuted after an attorney's daughter bought a copy of the record for her brother as a Christmas present. Copies of the album were seized and destroyed.


Florida legislator John Grant pushes through an initiative to withhold $104,000 in Florida Department of Education funding for public radio station WMNF. Grant's objection to the station noted that the station frequently aired programming he felt was inappropriate for a publicly supported station. Objectionable material included on-air praise for Kurt Cobain, and heavy air play of a social-protest song "Wasteland" by singer Iris DeMent (containing the lyric "We got CEOs makin' 200 times the workers' pay, but they'll fight like hell against raisin' the minimum wage").

Because he was wearing a Marilyn Manson tee shirt, 18-year-old John Schroder is arrested in a New Braunfels, Texas, grocery store and charged with making an obscene display.

Oklahoma City Council is urged by group calling themselves the "Oklahomans for Children and Families", to cancel a lease with a concert promoter who is planning a Marilyn Manson concert at the State Fairgrounds.

In Oxford, Mississippi, the three owners of Lyric Hall are arrested and sentenced to six months in jail for booking a performance by 2 Live Crew.

A band called "The Crucifucks" and their label, Alternative Tentacles, are sued by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, for featuring a photo of a dead policeman on the cover of the band's album, "Our Will Be Done".

A Marilyn Manson concert is cancelled by city officials in Richmond, Virginia, because they feel the his songs promote rape, murder, and self-mutilation.

"The Great Milenko" by Insane Clown Posse, is removed from store shelves because of the album's lyrical content, just hours after it was issued. The group is quickly released from their recording contract and the band's label, Hollywood Records, is dumped by their parent company, Disney, even though company officials had known of the album's content for nearly a year.

Texas lawmakers pass a law prohibiting state-employee pension funds from investing any money in record companies whose music "explicitly describes, glamorizes or advocates" violence, bestiality, gang activity or the denigration of females. The Employees Retirement System of Texas currently has $7.2 million (of its $15.2 billion portfolio) invested in Seagram, the owner of Universal Music Group, home of Interscope Records.)

Officials at Giant Stadium in New Jersey refuse to host the Ozzfest, because one of the performing acts was the controversial band Marilyn Manson. The courts disagree, saying the public facility had to be available on a "content neutral" basis.

Techno band Prodigy found their new single, "Smack My Bitch Up" resulted in their album being pulled from K-Mart and Wal-Mart store shelves. The album had been out for almost six months before the single was released. Chain stores that banned the record had themselves sold more than 150,000 copies of the record without receiving a single customer complaint.

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Bond said...

So, the more things change....the more they stay the same....

Cyberoutlaw said...

A Day in the Life has the line "I'd love to turn you on." But it also has a somewhat nasty veiled reference to their young female fans:

I read the news today oh, boy
Four thousand holes in blackburn, lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall
I'd love to turn you on

Darrin said...

While I don't support government censorship, I do support a ratings system that helps parents be more cognizant of the material available to their children (movies, music, video games, and etc.) It's not the government's job to play babysitter or monitor what the children of this nation listen to-- that's the parents job.

However, with all the new bands coming out of the woodwork all of the time I think a ratings system (like what is in place for video games already) would go a long way towards helping parents better monitor the music their children listen to.

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Bond, hmmm, I guess you could say that.

Outlaw - I NEVER KNEW THAT BEFORE! I don't think I will ever be able to sing along with those lyrics again...

Darrin, yeah you visited my blog! Here's my tip to parents: Ban it ALL and force your kids to listen to the classics....The Doors, Zeppelin, Dylan, The Beatles..... :)

bob_vinyl said...

Some of those bands should have been banned for sucking! Seriously, I'm opposed to both bans and rating systems, because they're so subjective. Listen to music with your kids and talk about it. Nothing is more dangerous than silence!

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Bob, good point. Being involved in what are kids listen to and watch is vital. I have always kept an ear and an eye on those things with my son and its been a great opportunity to talk about so many issues - racism, drugs, sex, respect, violence. He still likes a lot of things that I don't necessarily appreciate, but at least I know he's not letting the lyrics determine his values.

Bond said...

Cyberoutlaw is incorrect....

An article in the Daily Mail about a plan to fill potholes in the town caught John Lennon's eye as he was writing the song, giving birth to the lyric: "I read the news today. Oh, boy. 4,000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire".

Perplexio said...

Here's one of my favorite censorship stories:

In 1969, when the Sons of Champlin released their 2 LP debut album, Loosen Up Naturally the record label recalled "all"* copies after it was discovered that the words "Big Fucking Deal" appeared on the LP cover. The word "Fucking" was airbrushed out and the album was re-released. The album cover was designed when one of the guys in the band pulled a drape off a window in a friend's apartment and got out a box of crayons. The entire band sat on the floor and contributed to the "artwork" that ended up gracing the album's cover.

Coincidentally it was released on exactly the same day as Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago's debut). Both bands had 7 members, featured a 3 piece horn section, and had guitarists named Terry. Also the longest track on Chicago Transit Authority was the 14+ minute Liberation, the longest track on the Sons of Champlin's debut was the 14+ minute Liberation. In 1981, 4 years after the Sons of Champlin split up (in 1977) lead vocalist/keyboardist, Bill Champlin joined Chicago.

Perplexio said...

*apparently some copies of the album did slip into the public's hands. The uncensored copies are apparently worth quite a bit of money to the right record collectors.

Perplexio said...

whoops, just noticed I mistpyed-- the longest track on the Sons of Champlin's Loosen Up Naturally was the 14+ minute Freedom

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