Five Songs the BBC Didn’t Want You to Hear

A clip from the MGM musical The Wizard of Oz

With the recent censorship of Wizard of Oz classic ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ (currently placing at number 2 in the charts) due to it being seen as “distasteful”, we thought we’d present a list of five other classic songs which the BBC has, at one point or another, censored or banned from airplay.

The Beatles – ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

The BBC’s reaction to the Beatles famous ode to LSD was to ban it from being played, even though the band themselves originally insisted that it was inspired by a drawing by John Lennon’s son Julian. Later however, Paul McCartney was to admit that it was pretty obviously about the hallucinogen.

The Prodigy – ‘Smack My Bitch Up’

Only a lyric-free version of this big beat classic was allowed to be played on radio one after outrage from people deeming it to be misogynistic (the band claimed that the lyrics actually meant “doing anything intensely”). On the radio 1 chart show, the title of the track was even forbidden from being mentioned. Owing to the amount of contention this track caused, it was named the most controversial song ever in a 2010 survey.

The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl- ‘Fairytale of New York’

Yes, this Christmas classic was actually censored by the BBC in 2007, who objected to the use of the words “faggot” and “slut”, so dubbed them out on Radio 1 to avoid offence. MTV also removed and scrambled the words faggot, slut and the highly offensive “arse”. The BBC’s decision was reversed later that day after a wave of outrage from listeners.

The Kinks – ‘Lola’

This number 2 single from the Kinks was initially refused airtime by the BBC as it contradicted their policy of having no product placement. Singer Ray Davis had to make a six thousand mile round-trip flight to London during the bands USA tour to change  the offending words “coca-cola” to the more neutral sounding “cherry cola” in order for the BBC to allow it to be played.

Sex Pistols – ‘God Save The Queen’

Punk rock legends (and now butter advertisers) The Sex Pistols released this classic just before the Queen’s silver jubilee, prompting massive sales and a huge amount of outrage. Not only banned by the BBC for it’s anti monarchist content, but by EVERY independent radio station, this record is the most heavily censored in British music history – there is even evidence that the charts were rigged at the time to stop it reaching the number one spot.

Written By Michael Goodier.

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