BBC Banned Music: Top Singles Banned By the BBC

(Last Updated On: July 26, 2022)

The British Broadcasting Corporation, often known simply as the BBC, is a public broadcasting organization in the United Kingdom.

As a result, it gives itself the authority to prohibit things that vary from particular standards of politeness. Many singles that were deemed to be too graphic, offensive, or have the potential to offend the British audience were barred from being played on BBC radio over several decades. You can read about a few of them in this section.

God Save the Queen was the title of the second single that the Sex Pistols released. It was released in 1977, the same year England celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee. The contentious lyrics, which rhyme the title of the national anthem with the fascist regime, are included in the song. In addition, the record’s front cover had a photograph of the Queen with a safety pin inserted into her nose.

The BBC decided not to play the single because it contained offensive language, but this did not prevent it from climbing to number two on the official singles chart maintained by the BBC. Myth has it that God Save the Queen was the record that sold the most copies at the time in the UK, but it was kept from reaching number one to sidestep any potential controversy.

The scandalous duet “Je TAime… Moi Non Plus” by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin was the first BBC number one ban. The song’s English translation is “I love you… me neither.” Although it was released in 1969, a year in which the sexual revolution was celebrated, British radio was not yet prepared to deal with such graphic lyrical content; this is not even considering Birkins’s moans and groans.

Although it was banned by the BBC and denounced by the Vatican, Je TAime… Moi Non Plus was nonetheless able to become the best-selling single in the United Kingdom and worldwide. On October 7, 1969, the record climbed to the top spot on the official singles list maintained by the BBC. At the same time, it had climbed up to number 69 on the singles list in the United States.

Another single that the BBC banned was a disco pioneer by Donna Summers from 1976 named “Love to Love You Baby.” The song was taken off the air by the British Broadcasting Corporation after an investigation revealed that Summer had staged 23 orgasms while performing Love to Love You Baby. Moi Non Plus was a significant influence on this song.
However, this was not enough to prevent it from being a huge success.
Although it only reached number four on the UK single charts, Love to Love You Baby earned its highest position on the Billboard pop chart at number two.

Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood is one of the tracks that has caused the greatest controversy and one of the singles that has been the most successful commercially. The BBC did not only prohibit the music from being played, but it also did not prevent BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read from publicly expressing his feelings of revulsion due to the filthy lyrics of the single. In 1984, Relax spent 42 weeks at number one on the UK singles charts.

It maintained its position as number one in five of the polls. By 1984 came to a close, a sheepish Auntie Beeb had lifted the restriction. Relax is still highly popular worldwide, and it is one of the emblems of the era that is most widely recognized. The debates regarding whether or not it became such a tremendous success despite the BBC prohibition on it or whether or not the BBC ban helped promote it have not yet been resolved.

The answer that Paul McCartney and the Wings released in 1972 in response to the horrors of Bloody Sunday was titled “Give Ireland Back to the Irish,” and it was prohibited by every media resource in the United Kingdom. The Independent Television Authority, the BBC, and Radio Luxembourg placed bans on its airing, so the public could not hear it.

Additionally, the song’s title was not permitted to be spoken on the radio, so when it arrived on the chart show on BBC Radio 1, it was presented as a record by the group Wings. On the other hand, Give Ireland Back to the Irish climbed to the top of the singles charts in Ireland.


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