NOTE! From NME 13th Sept 1997- A BBC spokesman
said commenting on the lack of airplay for the new Prodigy single - Smack My Bitch,
"We just don't ban records any more". KEEP LISTENING!
Last Updated:26 April 2002
Please Email me
Thanks to Geoffrey Corner of Philadelphia for
starting the list in April 1996.
For a comprehensive list of US Banned recordings: http://www.ericnuzum.com/banned/
For a detailed account of the recordings listed
here and more, in November 1998 a book titled Smashed Hits was published by The Freedom of
More stuff on "bans" in
the UK can be found in the book "Banned! Censorship of Popular
Music in Britain: 1967-1992" by Martin Cloonan firstname.lastname@example.org
(Arena, Aldershot, UK, 1996).
NOTE! The ban on many of the records has subsequently
been lifted and some only carried a daytime ban.
Banned by the BBC
- Jane Birkin - Je
Taime - Maybe it wasn't helped by Serge Gainsbourg singing about the joys of going
"entre tes reins" - between your kidneys - i.e. up your bum (alledgedly). On top
of the pops an instrumental version by "Sounds Nice" was used - 1969 & 1974
- Frankie goes to Hollywood - Relax - Sexual
references - 1983
- The Au Pairs - Come Again - Referred to orgasm -
- Lil Louis - French Kiss - "Heavy
breathing" - 1989
- The New Yorkers - Love For Sale -
"Sexual" content - 1930??
- Judge Dread - Several records with titles as Big
6, Big 7,Big 8, 10 etc - "Sexual" content - 1972 - 1975
- Ivor Biggun - The winker's song (misprint) -
Sexually explicit - 1978
- Troggs - I Cant Control Myself - The sound
Reg Presley makes at the end of the song was said to be like someone climaxing. -
- Rolling Stones - Lets spend the night together -
Promoted promiscuity - 1967
- Cliff Richard - Honky tonk angel - Self imposed
ban as "saint" Cliff didnt know that a Honky tonk angel was a Hooker!
circa 72 -73.
- Adam Faith - Made You - Banned for
lewdness/Sexual Content Double A-Side with "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" -
- The Stranglers - Peaches - Considered "woman
baiting" - 1977
- Scott Walker - Jackie - Reference to
"authentic queers" - 1967
- George Michael - I Want Your Sex - banned only
before the "watershed" - 1987
- Paul McCarney & Wings - Hi Hi Hi - Banned,
not due to drug references but to explicit sexual lyrics - 1972
- Joe Brown & The Bruvvers' revival of George
Formby's "My Little Ukelele" (1963, Piccadilly/Pye) was banned as "too
- Max Romeo - Wet Dream - A song about his bedroom
ceiling. No the BBC wouldn't buy that - 1969
- Donna Summer - Love to love you - Groans &
heavy breathing secured the ban - 1976
- The Prodigy - Smack my bitch up - Despite
denials, this single was never herd during the day - 1997
- Pete Shelley - Homosapien - "SPIN
Alternative Record Guide." The book claims "Homosapien" was banned for
containing the line "Homo superior in my interior."(About 1982)
- Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band - Open Your Box
- From the album of the same name and B side of a single, it was
banned for containing the lyric "open your legs" - 1970
- Marxman - Sad Affair - Contained IRA slogan -
- Police - Invisible Sun was banned (certainly by
R1/TOTP, maybe others)
references to Northern Ireland (Barrel of an Armalite, etc.) - 1981
- Paul McCartney - Give Ireland Back to the Irish -
Obvious - 1972
- Johnny Horton - Battle of New Orleans - Reference
to "Bloody British" - 1959
- Hawkwind - "Urban Guerrila" - early
1970's. Banned due to mainland UK terrorist attacks at the time.
- Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen - Anti monarchy
- Blow Monkeys - The Day After You - Anti Margaret
Thatcher - 1987
- Split Enz - Six Months In A Leaky Boat - Too
provocative (Falklands) - 1980
- Elaine Page/Julie Covington "Don't Cry for
Me, Argentina" Falklands Crisis - 1980
- McGuiness Flint - Let the people go - Government
policy on the IRA - 1975
- Heaven 17 - (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove
Thang" - The "All-Music Guide" says "Fascist Groove
Thang" was banned by the BBC for its overtly political nature. (About 1981)
- Six Months In A Leaky Boat. - 'Split Enz' 1984 - During the Falklands war, their
song that went 'I just spent six months
in a leaky boat, Lucky just to keep afloat.'
I think that you might have to be careful about using
the term "banned". E.g. During the Falklands those records were not
banned as such, but local BBC radio DJs were asked to think carefully about what
to play - especially close to news bulletins on the war. Martin Cloonan email@example.com
Political 2 - The Gulf War
All these recordings were banned during the
gulf war in 1990.
- Jose Felicano & The Doors - Light My Fire
- Something Happens - "Parachute"
- The Cure - Killing an Arab
- Little angels - Bone yard
- Massive Attack had the word
"attack" dropped during the gulf war.
- Bomb the Bass also suffered during this period.
The Word, listed 64 songs on
its February 1st program that BBC Radio have deemed "unsuitable" to
play during the Gulf Crisis: Lee McMurray
A-ha Hunting High And Low
Alarm 68 Guns
Animals We Got To Get Out Of This
Arrival I Will Survive 6.
Joan Baez The Night They Drove
Old Dixie Down 7.
Bangles Walk Like An Egyptian 8.
The Beatles Back In The USSR 9.
Pat Benetar Love Is A Battlefield
Big Country Fields Of Fire
Boomtown Rats Don't Like Mondays
Brook Bros. Warpaint
Arthur Brown Fire
Kate Bush Army Dreamers
Cher Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me
Eric Clapton I Shot The Sheriff
Phil Collins In The Air Tonight
Cutting Crew I Just Died In Your
Skeeter Davies End Of The World
Desmond Dekker Israelites
Dire Straits Brothers In Arms
Duran Duran View To A Kill
Jose Feliciano Light My Fire
First Choice Armed And Extremely
Roberta Flack Killing Me Softly
Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two
Eddie Grant Living On The
Eddie Grant Give Me Hope Joanna
Elton John Saturday Night's
Alright For Fighting
Johnny Hates Jazz I Don't Want To
Be A Hero
John Lennon Give Peace A Chance
John Lennon Imagine
Jona Louis Stop The Cavalry
Lulu Boom Bang A Bang
McGuinness Flint When I'm Dead
Bob Marley Buffalo Soldier
Maria Muldaur Midnight At The
M*A*S*H Suicide Is Painless
Mike And The Mechanics Silent
Rick Nelson Fools Rush In
Nicole A Little Peace
Billy Ocean When The Going Gets
Donny Osmond Soldier Of Love
Paper Lace Billy Don't Be A Hero
Queen Killer Queen
Martha Reeves Forget Me Not
B.A. Robertson Bang Bang
Robinson War Baby
Kenny Rogers Ruby (Don't Take Your Love To Town)
Spandau Ballet I'll Fly For You
Specials Ghost Town
Springsteen I'm On Fire
Edwin Starr War
Status Quo In The Army Now
Status Quo Burning Bridges
Stevens I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun
Donna Summer State Of Independence
Tears For Fears Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Ball Of Confusion
CC Rubber Bullets
Stevie Wonder Heaven Help Us All
- The Moontrekkers - Night Of The Vampire - morbid
/"scary" content (backing group to Rod Stewart, produced by Joe Meek - 1961
- Sam M.Lewis - Gloomy Sunday - Too mournful -
- Mike Berry & The Outlaws - Tribute To Buddy
Holly -"morbid concern" for a dead teenage idol - A Joe Meek masterpiece - 1961
- Ricky Valance - Tell Laura I love her - banned
because of the reference to dying in a stock car race? - 1960
- The Downliners Sect's 1965 EP, "THE SECT
SING SICK SONGS" was banned for poor taste/morbidity; it included a cover of Jimmy
Cross' - I WANT MY BABY BACK (where a necrophiliac boyfriend digs up & jumps in his
- Napoleon XIV - They're coming to take me away
ha-haaaa - Preceded rap by some 25 years. Man going bonkers over lost dog - 1966
Banned but saved by the radio edit - F word
Thanks to Liam
O'Brien for reminding me of the following...
- Lemonheads-"Big Gay Heart". Lyrics changed
from "suck my dick" to (comically) "duck my sick" for
radio play. Also "piss me off" to "tick me off"
- Smashing Pumpkins-"Vieuphoria" (video) on back
cover "Silverfuck" re-named "Silvercrank".
- Puff Daddy & Jimmy Page "Come To Me",
obviously all single versions had F-word deleted, but the Japanese Import
single had Godzilla roars over the swearing moments.
- Marilyn Manson-"Beautiful People". They
rerecorded a version substituting "every other hater" for
"every mother fucker", but left the word "shit" on their
that had to be blanked out when played.
- MC5's-"Kick Out The
Jams", first recorded use of motherfucker, banned by major chain
in US (can't remember who, might be Wal*Mart) so the band ran a full
page advert in mags saying FUCK...(whoever it was). Fucking Heroes ay?
Then they got dropped by the record company, SPINELESS BASTARDS!!!
- And finally when the Sex Pistols were taken to court for
their album title "Never Mind The Bollocks" and the judge decreed
that "Bollocks" isn't a swear word. HOORAY!!!
- Nero & The Gladiators' - "Hall Of The
Mountain King" was banned for its spoken intro-a short beatnik query about the
location of "the king's pad" - 1961
- Roberta Flack - Killing me softly - Reason
Unknown - 1973
- Mungo Jerry - Have a Whiff on Me - Drug
references - 1971
Banned by "Top of the Pops" (BBC)
- D-Mob - We Call It Acieed - Drug reference - 1988
- The Pouges - A pair of brown eyes - Video ban -
- Bjork - Alarm Call - For her animated nipples! -
Lonnie Donegan - Digging my Potatoes -
This song seems to be generating more discussion
than any other banned recording....
- Lonnie Donegan's single "Digging My Potatoes" was banned in the UK and
US on its release in 1956 for lyrical references to sex, including the
following (from memory so approx.):
"suck on my [sweet?] bone"
"I thought you was [sic] my friend until I caught you in my bed"
"I love you best between the sheets"
Given the above I think it's remarkable that Decca chose to release it on any format, let
alone as a follow up to the transatlantic hit "Rock Island
Hope this helps... Andrew Rose firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Lonnie Donegan song "Diggin' My
Potatoes" was banned in 1955. The reason was that it included the line, "Thought
you were my friend till I caught you in my bed". The "bed" in the song is
another word for "garden". Also the verse, "Love you in the winter/ Love
you in the fall/ But in between them blankets, baby/ I love you best of all". It was
to be issued as a single that year, but after the ban it wasn't. It is only availible on
EP's. Many mothers broke the EP's when the children bought them. A few still survive.
This song was on the same EP as his two smash
hits "John Henry" and "The Rock Island Line". The banned song didn't
hurt Lonnie's popularity, though. He had hits on the charts until the Beatles (his own
followers) took over the charts.
- Lonnie Donegan's "Digging my potatoes" was certainly issued in UK as a
single on the Decca Jazz label, with "Bury my body" on the flip side. I once
owned this record on a 10 inch 78 rpm record. C.Pryce email@example.com
Banned in the USA (Probably UK)
- The Beatles - A day in the life - Banned in the
'60's for drug references - 1967
- Rolling Stones - Stoned - Original B side to I
Wanna be your man - Drug references - 1964
- Ten Years After - Good morning Little Schoolgirl
- Under age sexual references - 1969
- Chumbawamba - We Are the World - Explicit direct
action support - 1985
- Junior Delgardo - Broadwater Farm - Prophecising
riots - 1985
- Mark Dinning - Teen Angel - Called a "death
disk" - 1960
- Falco - Psycho Terror - Line "all Vienna is
on heroine" - 1979
- The Heptones - Fattie Fattie - Lewd and
- Napolean XII - There Coming to Take me Away -
Reference "mentally challenged" - 1966
- Smoke - My Friend Jack - Was indeed banned
because of drugs refs (my friend Jack eats sugar lumps, my friend Jack eats sugar lumps
... he's been travelling everywhere) - 1967
- Eurythmics - Sex Crime (1994) - Reapeated use of
the words 'Sex' & 'Crime' - 1984
- Chef - Chocolate salty balls - 1998 -Apparently
the US public have filthy minds!
- Although the Marvin Gaye Record Sexual Healing was not
banned, The DJs On UK's national "Radio One" had to drop the word
"sexual" from the title!
- Tom Petty's "You
Don't Know How It Feels" was censored on MTV so
that the line "let's roll another joint" became "lets hit another
When the video is shown on VH1, "roll" is left in, but the word
"joint" is mangled so that it is impossible to make out (it sounds like the word
is being played backwards).
- Brian Eno's Album "My life in the bush of
ghosts" now exclude the track "Qu'ran" (in the UK) due to serious fatwahs
from Islamic fundamentalists.
Up For Discussion
As the BBC won't admit to even having a banned list,
here are some of the candidates that I have received. Some of these suggestions
may have been banned at some time.
- I'm not sure, but wasn't "Eight miles high"
by the Byrds also banned, due
to drug reference? Tobias Andrasson firstname.lastname@example.org
- During the gulf war I remember Simon Bates at the birthday spot for Edwin Starr
playing a song other than War, because he it was
'inappropriate'. He sounded apologetic about this so it may not have been his idea to play
Gordon Taylor email@example.com
- The Beatles - "Come together"
was banned by the
BBC for the words coca cola. David Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org
- "3 am Eternal" by
the KLF had a section at the start of the record taken out by Radio 1
during the Gulf War. It was the sound of a machine gun being fired. Richard Doy
- I didn't see the song/album listed by the artist Ice T.
I know that it was banned for the song "Cop
Killer". adecker email@example.com
Sorry to stick my nose in but didn't some
of the songs like Terry by
of the Pack by the Shangri-Las and Pipeline by The Ventures also
get banned at one time???
Obviously Terry and LOTP was due to the
dumped lad riding off and "deliberately" crashing their
motorbikes but I heard that Pipeline was banned because it was a slang
term for a comdom in the States, but I don't know that one for sure.
Also what about Gary
Gilmores Eyes by The Adverts, brill track.
Another song brought to mind by your
brilliant (& nostalgic) page is "Moratorium"
by Buffy Sainte Marie, on the flip side of the Soldier Blue single. It was a
juke box hit here in Gt Yarmouth because it contained the words "fuck
the War and bring all our brothers back home again", naturally in
1972(ish) all us teenagers would quite happily sing along to this at the top
of our voices.
Thank You to....
Email your comments and corrections