Censorship of music

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Censorship of music is the practice of restricting free access to musical works. This censorship may stem from a wide variety of motivations, including moral, political, military or religious reasons. Censorship can range from the complete government-enforced legal prohibition of a musical work, to private, voluntary removal of content when a musical work appears in a certain context.

BBC Radio[edit]

An early example of censorship of music on the radio is from the 1940s. George Formby's "When I'm Cleaning Windows" was banned from BBC radio due to the "smutty lyrics", though Formby's wife Beryl managed to change the BBC's opinion.[1] considered more appropriate. Due to its position as a public broadcaster, BBC Radio formerly had a policy of not playing songs that contain product placement; Ray Davies of the British rock band The Kinks was forced to travel back to the United Kingdom during an American tour in order to change references to Coca-Cola to "cherry cola" from their hit song "Lola" in order to allow it to be given airplay in the country.[2] BBC Radio was also involved in a controversy surrounding their play of the Sex Pistols single "God Save the Queen" released by Virgin Records on 27 May 1977 to coincide with the Queen's silver jubilee celebrations. Sales of the single were not prohibited, but BBC's Radio 1 banned it from airplay. It had reached number two in the BBC's own charts, but the public service broadcaster — at that time the BBC's most popular radio channel — pulled it because of its lyrics. Many claimed that the song had been denied the number one spot by stealth.[3] The band was harassed by police when it (loudly) performed the song from a boat on the Thames.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Free society still has limits". BBC News. 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  2. ^ "Banning songs not a rare occurrence for the BBC - Radio Industry - NZ Herald News". Nzherald.co.nz. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  3. ^ Ascherson, Neal (2002-06-02). "Is the UK OK?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  • Banned In The UK, Channel 4, 7 March 2005 – 10 March 2005
  • Freemuse - Freedom of Musical Expression: the world's largest knowledge base on music censorship
  • Napier, Kristine, "Antidotes to Pop Culture." Policy Review (1997): 12. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.

External links[edit]