BBC Banned Music: Top Singles Banned By the BBC


 BBC Banned Music: Top Singles Banned By the BBC

For decades, radio stations have played a central part in the world of pop music. They've been used as a way to boost sales in the music industry and find new talent. But what happens when they stop playing your song?

Before 2012, major radio stations like BBC Radio 1 would play an artist's single on rotation until it got too old or was replaced with a newer track, but as streaming companies such as Spotify emerged on the scene, this changed. Nowadays, singles are streamed for free and only need to chart well if they want to generate significant income. Radio stations rely more on music supplied by the labels to play and this is where problems can arise as they must abide by the music's contract.

During the 1980s and 1990s, pop music was arguably at its most extreme and this resulted in many records being banned from radio because they were deemed offensive. This doesn't only happen to mainstream artists; it sometimes happens to underground or independent musicians as well. Here are ten of the most notable examples of tracks that didn't make it on air:

1. Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" (1998)

The song was heavily criticised for its sexist lyrics, particularly lines like "It was a silly love song on the radio, on the radio". After it was released in 1998, it ran to number one in several European countries and by 1998 an MPAA rating of PG-13 had been put on it. The song was eventually banned by Radio 1 after just four days of being played due to claims that it glorified domestic abuse. The song's original music video caused controversy as well when a photo of McCartney and his wife Yoko Ono kissing appeared on screen during the lyric "That stupid look she wears / But her legs are mine."

2. Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" (2010)

Many musicians have been condemned for using lyrics relating to homosexuality, but Lady Gaga took it a step further with the teaser video for her song "Alejandro". It showed people dressed as religious cult members and was deemed too provocative for radio when it came out in 2010. The full music video was also banned from YouTube at the time because of its sexually explicit content. Radio stations were criticised for keeping the song off their playlists until 2011.

3. Eminem's "Rap God" (2013)

Eminem is of course one of the most popular rappers in the world, but his track "Rap God" from "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" was deemed unfit for radio play in 2013. The original six-minute version of the song, which features a freestyle rap from Eminem and an appearance by Kendrick Lamar, was ranked as one of the best songs of 2013 but was pulled from BBC Radio 1 and Capital FM because it featured lyrics that didn't meet their broadcasting standards. Features such as "I'm starting to feel like a Rap God / All my people from the front to the back nod", were deemed too offensive for their listeners.


Conclusion: "Bang Bang" by Jessie J (2013)

This song was banned by the BBC because of its controversial lyrics. The song itself was a collaboration between Jessie J and Ariana Grande and it quickly gained popularity with the media. In the song, Jessie J sings: "Don't wanna know if he has a gun / If he's packing or not / We both could be shot right now / Right this minute". The lyrics were deemed too suggestive for their listeners and there was no way they could play it on air. 4chan even made a petition to have the song banned, but at full length, it only managed to reach 817 signatures.


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