These Songs were Banned from the Radio for the Weirdest Reasons
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when certain songs were banned from the radio for ridiculous reasons. Some pieces were excluded because they were considered too sexy, while others were deemed offensive or dangerous.
This blog post will look at some of the most famous songs banned from the radio for strange and outlandish reasons.
‘Atomic’ – Blondie
The new wave song “Atomic” by Blondie was released in 1980 and quickly rose to the top of the charts. However, the song’s success was short-lived, as it was soon banned from many radio stations across the country for its strange and suggestive lyrics. The lyrics of “Atomic” are full of innuendo and double entendres, which likely contributed to its bans.
In addition to its sexual content, the song also references nuclear war, a controversial topic at the time. Despite its ban, “Atomic” remains one of Blondie’s most famous songs and has been covered by many artists over the years. It is also considered one of the classic examples of new wave music.
‘God Only Knows’ – The Beach Boys
In the early days of rock and roll, many songs were banned from the radio for being too suggestive or simply because they were seen as a bad influence. “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys is one of those songs. While it may seem harmless now, at the time it was released, many people felt that it was promoting a lifestyle that was not appropriate for young people.
Despite its controversial subject matter, “God Only Knows” is considered one of the greatest pop songs. It has been covered by many artists over the years and continues to be popular today. Who knows what would have happened if it had never been banned from the radio? We might never have heard it! Thank you, Beach Boys, for giving us this incredible song.
‘Royals’ – Lorde
The song was banned for its seemingly anti-royal sentiment. The lyrics, “And we’ll never be royals (royals),” were interpreted as a diss against the British monarchy. The BBC later clarified that the song was not actually about the royal family but rather a commentary on society’s obsession with wealth and status. Nevertheless, many radio stations chose to ban the song for fear of offending listeners.
“Royals” ultimately became a massive global hit, reaching number one in several countries and earning Lorde a Grammy Award for Song of the Year. It’s safe to say that the radio ban didn’t do much to hurt its success. If anything, it probably only made more people curious about the song and eager to listen to it.
‘I Want Your Sex’ – George Michael
While plenty of songs have been banned from the radio for more mundane reasons, such as drug references or explicit lyrics, some pieces have been banished for much stranger reasons. Here is another example of tunes considered too sensual to be played on the radio.
“I Want Your Sex” by George Michael was reportedly banned by several radio stations in the early 1990s not because of its racy lyrics but because of its graphic music video. The video features close-ups of various body parts and sexual acts deemed too explicit for daytime television.
‘Red Nation’ – The Game
The song “Red Nation” by The Game was one of the songs banned from the radio for weird and outlandish reasons. This is because the lyrics are about violence, drugs, and sex. This is not the kind of radio content that should be played.
However, some people believe this song should be played on the radio because it is a realistic portrayal of what happens in some parts of the world. What do you think? Should this song be played on the radio?
‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ – The Shirelles
The Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was one of the first pop hits to deal with teenage sexuality, and many radio stations banned it for its frankness. The song is about a young woman wondering if her boyfriend will still love her after they’ve slept together. The lyrics were considered too explicit for radio, and the subject matter was taboo.
Nevertheless, the song became a huge hit, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has since been covered by many artists, including Carole King, Amy Winehouse, and Linda Ronstadt. Despite its controversial subject matter, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is now considered a classic pop song.
‘War’ – Edwin Star/Bruce Springsteen
There are a few reasons why “War” was banned from the radio. One reason is the lyrics, which some people felt were too anti-war. Another reason is how the song was recorded, which some people felt was too harsh and aggressive. Whatever the reasons, “War” is a song that has been banned from the radio for weird and outlandish reasons.
Despite being banned from the radio, “War” still became a huge hit. It peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became Edwin Starr’s signature song. It also went on to be covered by many other artists, including Bruce Springsteen, who released his version of the song in 1985.
‘What a Wonderful World’ – Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” was one song banned from the radio for its strange lyrics. The song is about a world where everyone gets along, and there’s no need for war or hatred.
However, many people found the lyrics disturbing, and the song was eventually pulled from the radio. Some still argue that the song is a beautiful ode to peace and love, but its dark undertones continue to make it one of the most controversial songs of all time. What do you think?
‘You Don’t Know How it Feels’ – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Drugs and addiction are complex topics to talk about, let alone sing about. Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” does both with ease, which might be part of why it was banned from radio play upon its release in 1994. The lyrics detail an addict’s spiral into drug use and how it affects them and those around them. While Petty doesn’t shy away from describing the dark reality of addiction, he also offers a glimpse of hope in the form of recovery.
The song is an essential listen for anyone struggling with addiction or who knows someone who is. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to those who need them. Let’s break the stigma around addiction and start having these critical conversations. What are your thoughts on “You Don’t Know How It Feels”?
‘Imagine’ – John Lennon
The song “Imagine” by John Lennon was banned from the radio for various reasons. Some people felt the lyrics were too anti-religious, while others thought they were too controversial. The song was also banned in some countries because of its political message.
In the end, though, the song became one of the most popular and well-loved songs of all time. It is still played on the radio today, and its message continues to resonate with people worldwide.
‘Louie, Louie’ – The Kingsman
Kingsman’s song “Louie, Louie” is about a man in love with a woman who is not interested in him. The lyrics are full of sexual innuendoes and references to alcohol and drugs. The song was banned because it was considered too explicit for radio. However, the ban did not stop the band from becoming one of the most popular.
Despite the ban, “Louie, Louie” continues to be among the most popular songs ever written. It has been covered by numerous artists and featured in many movies and television shows. If you’ve never heard “Louie, Louie,” you’re missing out on one of the most iconic songs.
‘Like a Prayer – Madonna
“Like a Prayer” is one of Madonna’s most iconic and controversial songs. The song caused quite a stir when it was released in 1989 due to its religious imagery and references to race relations. Some radio stations even banned the music from their airwaves.
However, the song’s message of hope and unity resonated with many people, quickly becoming one of Madonna’s most successful singles. “Like a Prayer” is still considered one of the greatest pop songs of all time, despite its tumultuous beginnings.
‘Rolling in the Deep – Adele
“Rolling in the Deep” was banned from many radio stations due to its suggestive lyrics. Some believe the songs are about a woman avenging her cheating partner by sleeping with her best friend.
Others believe the lyrics are about a woman struggling to get over a break-up. Regardless of the interpretation, the suggestive nature of the lyrics led to many radio stations banning the song.
‘If You Seek Amy’ – Britney Spears
‘If You Seek Amy’ is about a girl named Amy who is supposedly easy to find and sleep with. Many people found the lyrics offensive, particularly the line “All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to If You Seek Amy.”
Despite the controversy, Britney Spears performed the song on her Circus tour. Some radio stations did edit out the offending lyrics, but others refused to play the music at all. In 2010, ‘If You Seek Amy’ was voted one of Pitchfork’s worst songs. It’s safe to say that this is one tune you won’t hear on your local radio station anytime soon.
‘The Real Slim Shady’ – Eminem
Eminem is no stranger to controversy. He often embraces it. “The Real Slim Shady” is just one example of this. It is about a man trying to be famous and willing to do anything to get there. This includes lying, cheating, and even murder. While the song is satirical, many people found it offensive and inappropriate. The song’s music video also features Eminem in various outrageous costumes and situations, adding to the controversy.
Ultimately, “The Real Slim Shady” was too weird and offensive for radio stations to play. However, this didn’t stop the song from becoming a massive hit with fans. It remains one of Eminem’s most popular songs to date. Who knows? Maybe its taboo subject matter is part of its appeal. Either way, it’s clear that “The Real Slim Shady” is not a song for everyone. But then again, that’s probably what Eminem was going for in the first place.
‘Take the Power Back’ – Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine is acquainted with political controversy. The band’s name is taken from a song by Zack de la Rocha’s previous band, Inside Out, which was critical of then-President George H.W. Bush. So it’s no surprise that their 1992 debut album “1992” would be full of politically charged songs like “Take the Power Back.”
However, what is surprising is that this particular song was banned from many radio stations across the country. The reason? The lyrics were deemed too explicit for airplay. In particular, lines like “We got to f*ckin’ fight back!/ Now!” and “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer/, And I’m sick
‘Light My Fire’ – The Doors
It is hard to imagine a world without the Doors, yet there was a time when their music was considered so controversial that radio stations refused to play it. “Light My Fire” was one of the songs banned from the radio for weird and outlandish reasons. The song’s opening line, “Come on, baby, light my fire,” was thought to be suggestive and inappropriate for broadcast.
The lyric “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” was also interpreted as a reference to drug use. Despite these objections, “Light My Fire” became one of the Doors’ most iconic and beloved songs. It is a testament to the power of music that something so seemingly innocuous can be seen as dangerous or subversive. Ultimately, it is the music that we remember, not the politics.
‘Lola’ – The Kinks
Lola was released in 1970 by the Kinks, and it tells the story of a young man’s encounter with a transvestite. The song caused quite a stir at the time, and many radio stations refused to play it. Some people found the subject matter offensive, while others thought it was too strange for mainstream audiences. Whatever the reason, Lola was one of the first songs to be banned from the radio for weird and outlandish reasons.
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Lola, and some high-profile artists have even covered it. Despite its controversial past, there’s no denying that Lola is a catchy tune with an intriguing story. It’s safe to say that the Kinks were ahead of their time, and they continue to be an influence on musicians today. Who knows, maybe one day Lola will be considered a classic! Until then, it remains one of the most exciting songs to be banned from the radio.
‘Juicy’ – The Notorious B.I.G.
You would think that with all of the content on the radio these days, there would be very little that could be considered taboo or inappropriate. However, there are still a few songs out there that have been banned from the radio for weird and outlandish reasons. One of these songs is from The Notorious B.I.G.
“Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.: This song was banned from many radio stations due to its graphic and explicit lyrics about sex and drug use.
‘Physical’ – Olivia Newton-John
The song was released in 1980 and quickly became a hit. However, it was soon banned from the radio for its suggestive lyrics. The song is about a woman attracted to a man who is not her husband. She describes him as “physical” and talks about how she wants to have an affair with him. The lyrics were considered too explicit for the radio then, and the song was banned.
Olivia Newton-John later said that she did not intend for the song to be sexual; instead, she described a physical attraction. Nevertheless, the ban remained in place, and the music was never played on the radio again. Despite its controversial history, physical remains one of Olivia Newton John’s most popular songs. It is a classic example of a song banned from the radio for its suggestive lyrics.
‘Living in Sin’ – Bon Jovi
The song is about a young couple living together without being married. At the time, this was considered a very taboo topic, and many radio stations refused to play the song. Bon Jovi was banned from performing the music on many TV shows. The lyrics caused quite a stir among conservative groups, but ultimately, the song became one of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits.
It is still played regularly on radio stations today and is considered one of their classic songs. Who would have thought such a seemingly innocent song would cause controversy? I guess that’s just the power of rock ‘n’ roll!
‘In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
Banned for its suggestive lyrics, this song was written about Collins’ failed marriage. The lyrics, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord,” were inspired by a fight he had with his wife where she told him she was leaving. The rest of the song is about waiting for something terrible to happen.
Despite its meaning, many radio stations banned the song because they felt it was too suggestive.
‘WAP.’ – Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
The song’s lyrics are very explicit and talk about sex in a very graphic way. This is one of the reasons why the music was banned from the radio. The other reason is that the song contains a lot of profanity. Some radio stations felt the song was too explicit and offensive for their listeners.
Despite the controversy, “WAP” was a huge hit, debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It also received much critical acclaim and many people calling it a feminist anthem. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that “WAP” is one of the most controversial songs of 2020.
‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ – Various
Interestingly, Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been banned from the radio multiple times. In 1945, the song was denied by a Cleveland station after listeners complained that it was ‘suggestive.’ The ban was lifted after just one day, but the song’s controversy didn’t stop.
In 1959, another radio station in New York pulled the plug on Baby; It’s Cold Outside after receiving complaints from listeners. And in 2010, a Canadian radio station caused an uproar when it banned the song from its holiday playlist.
‘Judas’ – Lady Gaga
The song, about a woman in love with a man who has been resurrected from the dead, was banned by several radio stations due to its suggestive lyrics. Gaga defended the song, saying that it was about “the power of love.” However, many listeners found the lyrics to be inappropriate and offensive.
So if you’re ever in the mood for a bit of controversy, give some of these banned songs a listen. Just don’t be surprised if you get some strange looks from your friends and family members.
‘Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead’ – The Wizard of Oz
The song ‘Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead’ was written in 1939 by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg for the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz. The lyrics celebrate the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, who has been killed by Dorothy’s house falling on her. The song became a hit, reaching number one on the Billboard charts, but it was also banned from many radio stations because of its subject matter.
Some people felt it was inappropriate to celebrate the death of a character, even if she was a villain. Others thought the word ‘witch’ was too loaded and could be considered offensive to witches or women. Either way, the song remains a classic and is still loved by many people today.
‘Brown-Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
It’s hard to believe that such a sweet, soulful song would be banned for any reason. But alas, several radio stations reportedly banned ” Brown-Eyed Girl ” in the late 1960s due to its supposedly suggestive lyrics. The lyric in question is the line “making love in the green grass.” While it’s certainly not the most explicit lyric ever written, some radio programmers thought it was too risqué for their listeners.
Interestingly, the song was banned in Ireland (Van Morrison’s home country) for a time. Again, the supposed reason was its racy lyrics. However, some believe that the real reason was that the Irish government didn’t want people singing about making love in the green grass when there was so much political unrest in the country at the time.
‘Splish Splash’ – Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash” is about a man who goes to a party and takes a girl home, but she won’t let him in because her parents are home. So, he decides to take a dip in her pool instead. While swimming, he hears someone coming, so he hides under the water, thinking it’s the girl’s father. It turns out to be a police officer who arrests him for trespassing.
The song was banned because some thought it encouraged teenage girls to have sex with older men.
‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ – Peter, Paul, and Mary
In 1963, the song “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary was banned from many radio stations across the United States. The reason for the ban was that some people believed the song lyrics were about drug use. Specifically, they thought that “Puff” was a reference to marijuana and that the “dragon” was a reference to LSD.
While there is no evidence to support these claims, the song was still banned from many radio stations. In recent years, however, music has been embraced by children and adults and is now considered a classic. It shows that you can’t always believe what you hear!
‘My Generation’ – The Who
It’s hard to believe that a song as seemingly innocuous as “My Generation” by The Who could be banned from the radio, but it was. There were several reasons why the music was banned, including its supposed reference to masturbation and its use of the word “freak.”
But whatever the reason, there’s no denying that “My Generation” is a classic song that continues to resonate with people today. Who knows, maybe someday it will even be allowed on the radio again! Until then, we can enjoy them in our own homes.