A user writes:
The number of songs which the BBC has banned is long and undistinguished. In fact I regularly use the BBC ban-list in debates when people talk about what ‘snowflakes’ we have become (looking at some of the older items on that list - we have always been snowflakes).
But the era that I find particularly fascinated was 1991 during the First Gulf War. The BBC banned a huge number of songs because they thought that they were either offensive and/or would lower the morale of the country. These included:
- Walk Like An Egyptian, by The Bangles.
- (I Just) Died in Your Arms, by Cutting Crew
- Back in the U.S.S.R., by The Beatles
- Gimme Hope Jo’anna, by Eddy Grant
- I Don’t Like Mondays, by The Boomtown Rats
- Sailing, by Rod Stewart
Yeah, I don’t get it either. But on the other hand, the morale of the nation definitely did not crack during the war, so…. job well done?
My pick is that brilliant ground breaking track by the Kinks, “Lola”.
The song involves an inexperienced young man going to some seedy Soho club and being picked up by man dressed as a woman and taken home.
The law decriminalising homosexuality in the UK was only passed three years previously and was still very restrictive as to the acts and the age of consent was 21.
However it wasn’t this that got the record banned, it was the use of Coca Cola, Ray Davies changed it to cherry cola and it got played.
A T writes:
Mike Read, who was the morning DJ on Radio 1 at the time, was doing the chart rundown, when he announced that he wasn’t going to play Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
He went on a mini rant about how disgusting the lyrics were. I noticed at the time he was happy to play other songs with innuendo in the lyrics that I thought was as blatant as Relax, but they implied straight sex, whereas Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s two frontmen were unapologetically gay.
The BBC announced that Relax wouldn't be played on any other programmes. The publicity set it straight to Number One, where it stayed for five weeks.
The ban was eventually, erm, relaxed. Some time later there was an advert on television for Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s greatest hits. The voiceover was done by Mike Read, at the end he said “good clean fun, even for me”.