Sunday, August 30, 2009


This fascinating and thoroughly entertaining 3CD set is now available!
Here's what I had to say about it on All Music Guide:
"The idea of ‘banning’ a song from being broadcast over the airwaves is a familiar story here in the U.S., especially when it comes to offensive lyrics. Many of the decisions made by the FCC have been no-brainers and have met with some resistance but were, for the most part, justifiable. But in the UK (especially during the years covered on this three CD set), the BBC’s judgments on what was inappropriate for airplay made U.S. radio sound like a crowded brothel during happy hour!
This Record Is Not To Be Broadcast: 75 Records Banned By The BBC 1931-1957 is a fascinating three CD glimpse into the inner-workings of the BBC, offering 75 examples of songs that these good folks didn’t want the public to hear!
Some of them are understandable, such as Cab Calloway’s drug references in “Minnie The Moocher”, but banning songs by Bing Crosby? Perry Como? LIBERACE??? The liner notes, expertly researched and written by Spencer Leigh, explain it all in sordid detail.
You see, songs weren’t just banned by the BBC because of rude and offensive lyrics, they were banned because of simple things such as ‘borrowing’ a melody for classical music, mentioning (i.e.: endorsing?) a product, references to religion and, believe it or not, for being too catchy? In hindsight, of course, it all seems so silly, but ‘back in the day’, the BBC’s reasoning was deadly serious.
Was Bing’s “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” too infectious and could it really have caused factory workers to bang their tools (and distract them from their jobs)? Would the lyrical content of the Mills Brothers’ “Paper Doll” really cause distress in soldiers separated from their significant others? And just why did they ban an instrumental piano piece by Liberace? Well, you’ll just have to grab a copy of This Record Is Not To Be Broadcast to find out (here’s a hint: it had NOTHING to do with his lifestyle)!
A brilliant, well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable audio trip through an innocent age that will never pass this way again.
Banned by the BBC,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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