1964. USA. Johnny Cash
1965. USA. Frank Zappa
1966. USA. The Beatles
1968. USA. The Rolling Stones
1968. USA. Bob Dylan
1968. USA. Frank Zappa
1969. USA. John Lennon & Yoko Ono
|A more extensive list of censorship incidents in the USA 1950-2000 was created by Eric Nuzum. See below, or see: web.archive.org/ericnuzum.com/banned/
Bob Dylan refuses to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in February after producers tell him he cannot sing “Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues.” Dylan is never invited to perform on the show again.
Cleveland Mayor Ralph Locher bans all rock concerts in the city following a Rolling Stones performance.
The Barry McGuire song “Eve of Destruction” is pulled from retail stores and radio stations across the country after some groups complain that it is nihilistic and could promote suicidal feelings amongst teens.
The Curtis Knight single (featuring Jimi Hendrix) “How Would You Feel” is given little airplay on radio because of the song deals with the plight of blacks in America.
In June, radio stations across the country ban the Rolling Stones hit “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” because they believe the lyrics are too sexually suggestive.
Many radio stations ban The Who’s single “Pictures of Lily” because the song contains a reference to masturbation.
MGM Records alters the Frank Zappa song “Money” because it contains a sexual reference.
A statement by John Lennon in March, comparing the popularity of the Beatles to that of Jesus Christ, results in wide-spread Beatles record burnings and protests. Lennon’s comments regarding what he perceives as a decrease in Christianity’s popularity with teens are taken out of context. He says, “We’re more popular than Jesus now.”
After radio stations refuse to air the original, The Swinging Medallions are convinced by their record company to re-record their song “Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love)” with more benign lyrics.
In June, Capitol Records recalls all copies of the Beatles’ Yesterday And Today album following complaints over the album’s gory cover art. The “butcher” cover depicts the four Beatles wearing white smocks and covered with decapitated baby dolls and raw meat.
Police attempt to shut down a James Brown concert, alleging the singer’s dancing is obscene.
After enduring calls for censorship over the song “Rhapsody in the Rain,” Lou Christie agrees to change the song’s suggestive lyrics.
Against his wishes, Frank Zappa’s record company removes eight bars of his song “Let’s Make the Water Turn Black.” This occurs when a well-intentioned executive from Verve Records hears the lyric, “And I still remember mama with her apron and her pad, feeding all the boys at Ed’s café.” The executive thinks the referred-to “pad” is a sanitary napkin.
Radio programmers pass on Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” because the lyrics reference premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. Morrison cuts an alternative version with more acceptable lyrics.
Producers of the Ed Sullivan Show request that Jim Morrison change the lyrics to “Light My Fire” for The Doors’ September appearance on the program. Morrison initially agrees to alter the lyric “Girl we couldn’t get much higher” to a more innocuous phrase. During the live performance, Morrison sings the original lyric. The band is not invited back on the program.
The Doors’ single “Unknown Soldier” is banned from airplay at many radio stations because of its anti-war theme.
Sponsors go into an uproar and threaten to pull support after a television program shows interracial “touching.” During the taping of a duet between Petula Clark and Henry Belafonte, Clark lays her hand on Belafonte’s arm (Clark is white and Belafonte is black).
Jim Morrison is arrested on stage in New Haven, Connecticut, for making lewd gestures and profane remarks during a concert. The arrest is one of several that occur during Doors concerts after Morrison is marked by the FBI and several police organizations as a troublemaker.
Fearing the Rolling Stones’ song “Street Fightin’ Man” will incite violence during the National Democratic Convention in September, Chicago radio stations refuse to play the song. During the ban, the single sets all-time sales records in the Chicago area.
After being invited by the Smothers Brothers to perform his anti-Vietnam anthem “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” on their TV show, Pete Seeger is edited out of the program by the censors at CBS television.
Controversy over the cover of Blind Faith’s debut album prompts their label to issue the record with two different covers. The original cover, released in February, features a photograph of a naked 11-year old girl, holding a metallic, rather phallic-looking model airplane. The airplane points toward her lower abdomen. Atco Records eventually drops the benign second cover because it doesn’t sell as well as the original.
In September, the local Roman Catholic Diocese runs a two-page ad spread in the Seattle Post Intelligencer calling for the criminal prosecution of rock musicians and for bans against “rock festivals and their drug-sex-rock-squalor culture.”
Record company officials delay the release of Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane over concerns with the album’s lyrical themes.
In July, one-half of the country’s Top 40 stations refuse to play “The Ballad of John and Yoko” because they feel that the lyrics are blasphemous. The song’s lyrics contain references to Christ and crucifixion.
After Hudson’s, a large department store chain, refuses to carry the debut record from MC5 when it is released in April, the group agrees to delete the expletive “motherfucker” from “Kick Out The Jams.”
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