1 January

Pick a Day

Music History Events: Bans

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September 14, 2001 Program directors at Clear Channel Communications, the largest owner of radio stations in the United States, begin circulating a list of songs that might be considered offensive in light of the September 11 attacks.More

September 15, 1998 Marilyn Manson release their third album, Mechanical Animals. Target, Walmart and some other retailers refuse to stock it because of the cover, which depicts the group's frontman in naked female form.More

November 27, 1990 MTV bans the video for Madonna's "Justify My Love," which is too racy for the network. The singer responds by releasing the video on VHS, which sells over a million copies.

November 6, 1990 Madonna releases "Justify My Love," which stirs controversy when MTV bans the video. The brouhaha piques interest in the song, which becomes her ninth #1 hit in the US.More

July 6, 1988 MTV refuses to play Neil Young's video for "This Note's For You," citing a policy against videos that mention products. The video is a parody of various ad campaigns, with lyrics mentioning Coke, Pepsi, Miller and Bud.More

January 13, 1984 The BBC bans the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song "Relax" due to sexual content. The controversy generates tremendous interest in the song, which reaches #1 in the UK the following week.More

February 19, 1982 Ozzy Osbourne urinates on a statue near the Alamo, desecrating a Texas landmark.More

December 17, 1977 Elvis Costello gets banned from Saturday Night Live when he abruptly halts his performance of "Less Than Zero" and plays the searing "Radio Radio" instead.More

March 11, 1972 Wings' "Give Ireland Back To The Irish" is listed at #23 in the Melody Maker chart. An article in the same issue reports it has been banned by the BBC as "unsuitable for broadcasting."

January 7, 1972 The St. Cleve Chronicle reports that a "Major Beat Group" will put music to the epic poem "Thick As A Brick," written by 8-year-old Gerald Bostock. The Society for Literary Advancement and Gestation (SLAG) had disqualified Bostock's poem from their competition, citing an "extremely unwholesome attitude towards life, his God and Country."

June 3, 1970 With the BBC refusing to air The Kinks' new single "Lola" because of its reference to "Coca-Cola" (brand names being a no-no for the corporation), lead singer Ray Davies flies all the way from London to New York to re-record the line as "Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola."More

April 10, 1969 Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's steamy duet "Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus" hits #1 in the UK, where it's banned by the BBC.More

January 4, 1969 Jimi Hendrix is banned from the BBC after going off-script when he and his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, appear on the show Happening for Lulu, hosted by the "To Sir With Love" singer Lulu.More

September 4, 1968 "Street Fighting Man" by The Rolling Stones is banned in Chicago and some other cities as local officials fear it will incite riots.

April 3, 1959 Because of its references to bad behavior in school (writing on the wall, throwing spitballs), The British Broadcasting Corporation bans The Coasters song "Charlie Brown." The ban is lifted two weeks later.

March 12, 2003 The Chinese government gives The Rolling Stones a list of songs they will not be allowed to play on their upcoming tour of the country. The list includes "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Women" and "Let's Spend The Night Together."

October 15, 1973 Stones guitarist Keith Richards is banned from entering France for two years when he is found guilty by a Nice court of using, supplying and trafficking cannabis.

September 10, 1973 The BBC, predictably, bans The Rolling Stones' single "Star Star," better known as "Starf----r."

January 16, 1970 John Lennon's "Bag One" exhibit at the Arts Gallery in London is closed down by Scotland Yard. The original Lennon lithographs in the exhibit are ruled obscene. Eight prints are confiscated.

August 24, 1967 Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, drives his Lincoln Continental (not a Rolls Royce, as is often thought), into the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, to celebrate his 21st birthday, earning the entire band a lifetime ban from the chain.

August 13, 1966 Napoleon XIV's goofy breakup song "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-haaa" peaks at #3 on the Hot 100. It quickly drops to the bottom of the Top 40, however, as several radio stations ban the tune, fearing its lyrics might be interpreted as being insensitive to the mentally ill.

December 14, 1964 In spite of (or, perhaps, because of) being banned by some radio stations, The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" hits #2 on the Hot 100 (held off the top spot by The Singing Nun's "Dominique").

November 3, 1964 Mayor Ralph Locker of Cleveland, Ohio, bans The Rolling Stones from playing the city ever again after a teenager falls from a balcony during the group's concert. Locker is quoted as commenting, "Such groups do not add to the community's culture or entertainment."

November 17, 1963 Headmaster John Weightman of Surrey Grammar School in Guildford, England, bans the popular Beatle "moptop" haircuts, explaining that "this ridiculous style brings out the worst in boys physically. It makes them look like morons."

September 10, 1962 The BBC bans Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Halloween novelty single "Monster Mash," finding it in poor taste. However, in 1973 the radio giant lifts the ban, sending a re-release of the holiday favorite to #3.

June 29, 1957 The government of Iran officially bans rock and roll after declaring rock dancing "harmful to health." The ban would stay in place until the 1990s.

September 18, 1956 Rock shows are banned at the US Naval Station in Newport, Rhode Island, after a fight breaks out during a Fats Domino concert.

November 20, 1955 After agreeing to perform Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit "Sixteen Tons" on CBS-TV's Ed Sullivan Show, Bo Diddley instead plays the song he was actually there to promote, his own hit "Bo Diddley." A furious Sullivan blackballs Bo from ever appearing on the show again. The singer has claimed he was never paid for the performance.

November 18, 1954 ABC Radio stations ban Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" due to what it considers "offensive lyrics," more than likely the exaggerated Italian patois and words "goombah" and "gidrool."

November 6, 1953 Frankie Laine's "Answer Me" is banned by the BBC, who claim the lyrics "Answer me, Lord above" are mocking Christian prayer. Also banned is Lee Lawrence's "Crying In The Chapel."

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