5 Classic Songs You Won't Believe Were Once Banned

On June 3, 1956, rock and roll was banned in Santa Cruz, California, after it was believed to be detrimental to the morals and health of the community’s youth. Here are 5 surprising songs that were once deemed too scandalous for public consumption…

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Bad Timing Got “Walk Like an Egyptian” Banned Following the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, a radio network based in Texas requested that its stations remove 150 songs from their playlists. "Walk Like an Egyptian" by the Bangles was one of those songs because of its references to northern Africa. The song was also included in a "list of records to be avoided" drawn up by the BBC during the Gulf War.  Other songs included on the list were  "You Dropped the Bomb on Me," by the Gap Band, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul, and Mary. John Lennon's "Imagine," was also banned due to the lyrics "Imagine there's no heaven," which was regarded as anti-religious.

Immorality Was the Cause of A Rolling Stones Banned Song Morals appeared to be the issue with the 1967 song “Let’s Spend the Night Together” by The Rolling Stones when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Stones were not supposed to sing this song on the show but insisted, saying they would change the lyrics to “spend some time together” instead of “spend the night together,” but when singing, he substituted “mmmm” for the missing word.  Sullivan subsequently banned The Rolling stones from ever appearing on the program again.

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Free Advertising Banned a Song by The Kinks In 1970, “Lola” came out and was about a man in love with a transvestite, but that wasn’t the problem. The BBC banned the song because of the lyrics "where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola."  Ray Davies, the band's lead singer, was flown from the United States to the United Kingdom to re-record this one line, as the government-run station could not be seen to support any specific product. Now, according to the song, the champagne "tastes like cherry cola" and all was well in the world again. 

"My Generation" Was Deemed Unfair To The Disabled As lead singer of The Who, Roger Daltrey provided lead vocals for “My Generation,” the 1965 anthem which is considered to be the most renowned rock song with stuttering vocals. When the song was recorded, Roger Daltrey sang the lyrics "Why don't you all f.f.f...fade away because he was having trouble reading Pete Townshend's lyrics. They chose to retain the stutter and incorporate it into some other lines too ("don't try to dig what we all s.s.s...say") Surprisingly, the song almost did not receive any airplay because the BBC initially banned the song on the grounds that it was offensive to people who stutter. However, due to the song's tremendous popularity, the BBC removed the prohibition and permitted it to be broadcast.

Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash” Was About a Guy in a Towel “Splish Splash,” sung by Bobby Darin, was a popular song about a fellow who gets out of his bath and joins a party. The ban was because he never mentions getting dressed. Apparently, he attended the party wearing only a towel, which wasn’t enough to pacify some listeners.