15 Famous Songs You Might Be Surprised To Learn Were Banned On The Radio

Senior Pop Culture Editor
12.19.12 15 Comments

We’re not against the idea of Ke$ha being banned from the radio, but not like this. Not like this.

Kesha’s “Die Young,” the number three song on Billboard’s Hot 100 weekly singles chart, is drastically losing radio airplay in the wake of Friday’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. (Via)

It’s not just Ke$ha, but “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People and “Titanium” by David Guetta, too, while songs like “Wind Beneath My Wings” (ugh) and “Tears in Heaven” (double ugh) have received greater airplay this week. This is a typical well-meaning, but ultimately pointless decision made by radio channels for fear of offending, not unlike the infamous Clear Channel 9/11 memorandum, which banned such “shocking” songs as Barenaked Ladies’ “Falling for the First Time” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” in 2001.

Here are 15 other famous songs that have been denied radio airplay for curious reasons over the years.

Artist: The Bangles
Song: “Walk Like an Egyptian”
Banned for: Having the gall to mention the Middle East during the Gulf War.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Song: “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
Banned for: The phrase “God-almighty world,” by the BBC

Artist: The Beach Boys
Song: “God Only Knows”
Banned for: The 1960s did not like songs with “God” in them.

Artist: Kitty Wells
Song: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”
Banned for: Being “suggestive,” meaning men didn’t like having the “unfaithful” label placed on them.

Artist: The Beatles
Song: “A Day in the Life”
Banned for: BBC assumed the line “I’d love to turn you on” was a drug reference.

Artist: The Police
Song: “Can’t Stand Losing You”
Banned for: Suicide. It’s a song about suicide. BUT IT SOUNDS SO PEPPY.

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Song: “Street Fighting Man”
Banned for: Out of fear that it would incite violence during the National Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968.

Artist: Van Morrison
Song: “Brown Eyed Girl”
Banned for: Allegedly promoting premarital sex (“making love in the green grass”).

Artist: Jimmy Boyd
Song: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Banned for: Married women be having affairs (even though Santa is the father of the singer…).

Artist: Sheryl Crow
Song: “Love Is A Good Thing”
Banned for: The line “Watch our children as they kill each other with a gun they bought at the Walmart discount stores.” Needless to say, Walmart wasn’t stoked about the publicity.

Artist: Billy Joel
Song: “Only the Good Die Young”
Banned for: Being anti-Catholic. (The song’s about a guy trying to convince a Catholic girl to let him take her virginity.)

Artist: Bobby Darin
Song: “Mack the Knife”
Banned for: Thought to encourage gang violence.

Artist: The Shirelles
Song: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”
Banned for: “I’d like to know that your love is love I can be sure of.” SO SEXUALLY CHARGED.

Artist: U2
Song: “Walk On”
Banned for: The song’s about Burmese activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to house arrest in 1989 because she protested the government, and is therefore banned in Burma.

Artist: “Physical”
Song: Olivia Newton-John
Banned for: *sigh*

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