The BBC has been banning music for years, occasionally keeping artists off the airwaves for the public good, but more often than not giving said artists a massive boost in sales.
As early as 1932 Norman Long was poking fun at the BBC's conservatism with the single We Can't Let You Broadcast That. Unsurprisingly, the single was banned. But now, Radio Merseyside DJ Spencer Leigh is collecting the BBC's banned tracks on a CD.
The BBC's mysterious censoring body, the Dance Music Policy Committee, was set up in the 1930s to 'protect' the masses from unsuitable material. Originally, the committee was primarily concerned with the innuendo that kept cropping up in music-hall and blues tracks.
Gatekeeping was never easy, however, as one member of the committee expressed when he said he felt 'like a crazy weathervane in a storm.' He was promptly told by the Controller of Sound Broadcasting: 'No one is more alive than I to the need to buttress the forces of virtue against the unprincipled elements of the jungle.' That was in the mid-'50s.
Over the years records have been banned for various reasons, including the most obvious - 'death, drugs, sex and swearing.' Thus, The Byrds' Eight Miles High, The Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen and D Mob's We Call It Acieed were all pulled from the BBC playlists.
However, some groups have seen stranger bans. Massive Attack were only allowed to be referred to as 'Massive' during the first Gulf War. Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax was famously banned, not because of the song itself, but because the video featured simulated anal sex and urinating into people's mouths.
Having said all that, MusicRadar believes that the BBC had it spot on in 1942, with a directive that stated, 'We have recently adopted a policy of excluding sickly sentimentality which, particularly when sung by certain vocalists, can become nauseating'. Now if only they'd stuck to that one…
This Record Must Not Be Broadcast: Banned By The BBC is out on Acrobat Records on August 25 2008.
(via Times Online)