Music can often stir up controversy in ways that are both surprising and, at times, downright bizarre. Here are ten songs that have been banned or censored for the most peculiar reasons.
10. ‘My Generation’ – The Who
In 1965, ‘My Generation’ by The Who was banned from radio airplay due to its stuttering vocals. The song was interpreted as mocking those with speech impediments.
9. ‘God Only Knows’ – The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ is widely regarded as one of the greatest pop songs of all time. However, it was banned in several Southern states in the U.S. because the word ‘God’ appeared in the title. At the time, many considered it inappropriate to use ‘God’ in a secular love song, leading to its prohibition despite its innocent lyrical content.
8. ‘Louie Louie’ – The Kingsmen
Perhaps most infamous for its misunderstood lyrics, ‘Louie Louie’ by The Kingsmen faced bans in various parts of the U.S. The garbled vocal delivery led to speculation that the lyrics were vulgar or obscene, even though they weren’t. The song’s supposed indecent content only added to its notoriety.
7. ‘Physical’ – Olivia Newton-John
This ’80s hit was banned in several countries because of its sexually suggestive lyrics and accompanying music video.
6. ‘Girl Crush’ – Little Big Town
Only in America! Several country music stations in the U.S. refused to play this song as they claimed it promoted homosexuality.
5. ‘Imagine’ – John Lennon
This iconic peace anthem was temporarily banned on American Clear Channel stations following the September 11 attacks, due to fears that it could be considered unpatriotic.
4. ‘Lola’ – The Kinks
Initially, the BBC refused to play this song because it mentioned Coca-Cola, a brand name, violating their policy against product placement.
3. ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ – Michael Jackson
This song faced criticism and occasional bans for allegations of anti-Semitic lyrics, even though Jackson claimed the song was actually an anti-racist statement.
2. ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ – The Bangles
Briefly banned on U.S. radio following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there were concerns that the song might be offensive to Arabs.
1. ‘I Am the Walrus’ – The Beatles
The BBC banned this song, deeming it to contain “too obscure and sexually suggestive” lyrics, even though the meaning of the song itself remained unclear even to the band members.