Check Out The Songs Banned By The BBC For Being ‘Dangerous’

The list includes songs by George Michael and Eliza Doolittle (Really?)


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

The BBC has been repeatedly criticised over the years for its over-zealous radio censorship but now they've released their pedantry for our enjoyment. And by pedantry, we mean, has anyone ever seen Eliza Doolittle as too controversial? Quite.

A list of 16 songs which have been banned over the years by the BBC has been released on the BBC's website (FYI they are no longer all banned).

**The Kinks 'Lola' - **you'd suspect Ray Davies' song to be banned because it's about a relationship between a young guy and a transvestite - but it's actually because of the beeb's ban on product placement which included the brand Coca Cola.

The Sex Pistols 'Anarchy in the UK' - The band's debut single wasn't banned particularly because of the lyrics, but because the band were seen as such a liability - they swore on television, so were latterly banned from radio.

**John Letyon 'Johnny Remember Me' - **Actor John Leyton's first and only song was banned because it qualified as a 'death disc' - about a man haunted by his dead lover. Not sure about the term 'death disc' tbh.

George Michael 'I Want Your Sex' - How anyone could ban such an eloquently titled song, we'll never know. George Michael's debut solo single after breaking out of Wham! was banned because it had 'sex' in the title. Duh. The BBC also argued that it was promoting casual sex during the apex of AIDS fears. (Sidenote: George Michael was still considered straight at this point.)

Tom Robinson 'Glad to be Gay' - Out and proud songwriter Tom Robinson wrote this in 1976 for Pride. The BBC refused to play it but John Peel broke rank and played it anyway on Radio 1's chart show. Hero. (Sidenote: Tom went on to marry a woman.)

Blondie 'Atomic' - This was one of 67 songs to be banned by the BBC during the Gulf War, because of the bombing connotations. Cher's Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) was also banned.

Gang of Four 'I Love A Man In Uniform' - The post-punk band found their single banned when the British army entered the Falklands.

Scott Walker 'Jackie' - Banned for homosexual references, the BBC took umbrage at 'phony virgins' and 'authentic queers'.

Shirley Bassey 'Burn My Candle' - This was 19 year old Shirley's debut single but the word 'sex' in the lyrics - noticing a theme, here? - made it outrageous to the BBC.

Heaven 17 '(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang' - Never before or since have the words 'fascist' and 'groove' been lyrical bedfellows. Anyway named song was banned for it's damning lyrics about Reagan. In 2010 Radio 6 started playing them again.

Serge Gainsbour & Jane Birkin 'Je T'aime... Mon Non Plus' - It was banned for being too sexy, natch. (Sidenote: rather meanly, Serge had actually written this for his ex-girlfriend Brigitte Bardot and when it was released, Brigitte begged Serge not to release the track as she was now married. The old dog still did though.)

Lil Louis 'French Kiss' - Panting, moaning - it was clearly never going to make the grade.

Ian Drury and The Blockhead 'Spasticus Autisticus' - A polio sufferer himself, Ian Drury wrote this in protest againt the International Year of Disabled Persons. Which is kind of fair enough, we'd argue - except sadly due to his lyrics like 'I wibble when I piddle cos my middle is a riddle' it didn't get airplay. (Sidenote: the song was played in the opening ceremony to the 2012 Paralympics.)

Radiohead 'Creep' - This was banned partly because it had the F word in it but mainly because it was too depressing. Which makes us think that whoever was calling the shots at the BBC in 1992 hadn't listened to approximately half of the songs ever written, in the history of time. The song was re-released in 1993 without the ''fuck' and was played.

Screaming Lord Sutch 'Jack The Ripper' - The pretty odd Lord Sutch, the founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party, had his song banned in 1963 for being in bad taste.

Eliza Doolittle 'Walking on Water' - This one you might all remember. Eliza's song was banned earlier this year for the lyric 'Sometimes I wish I was Jesus, I'd get my Air Max on and run across the sea to you' - and she subsequently ommitted 'Jesus'. The BBC had clearly got slack on product placement, though; there's a nice clear mention of Air Max still in the edited version.

Picture: Ray Stevenson/REX

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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