F#@K MUSIC CENSORSHIP!
March 14, 2009
Two of my favorite songs out today are “My World Would Suck Without you” by Kelly Clarkson and “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry, both have become #1 in spite of their racy titles and graphic lyrics. As I sit back and enjoy these songs on my I-Pod, I think of another time when radio and television would never even have considered playing these great recordings just because of the titles.
“For decades radio wouldn’t play “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday, with it’s depiction of “Negroes” who were lynched and left to hang in trees, for fear it would cause riots. In the late 50s, “Tell Laura I Love Her”(Raleigh/Barry) by Ray Peterson hit #1, which told the story of an ill fated teenage romance and a deadly race car crash, opened the floodgate of “so-called” sick songs. Although “Patches” (Mann/Kolber) by Dickie Lee, and “Ebony Eyes”(Bryant/Bryant) by the Everly Brothers made it to the top of the charts, radio soon banned any other “sick” records from being played.
It isn’t long before songs with sexual innuendos, or drug references aren’t allowed on the air. We’ve all seen the clips of Mick Jagger Rolling his eyes on the the Ed Sullivan Show, when he’s forced to change the lyrics of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together”.
“The first time I was affected personally by censorship was back in 1966.The day the Troggs, “Wild Thing” (Chip Taylor), hit #1 on two labels at the same time, my wife Sheilah and I had their producer Larry Page and his wife Lee over for dinner.* As a joke, 10 minutes before they arrived, I wrote a blatantly sexual parody, called, “Somewhere My Girl Is Waiting”. After dinner, I introduce the song as a special dessert. While Sheilah rolls her eyes, I half-talk and half-sing then fall to my knees as I sing the last verse imitating Reg Presley, lead singer of the Troggs.
“When I look down at you…there by the fireside…reaching up…to touch me You make it hard…to say goodbye”, then Larry jumps up starts singing the last chorus with me, “Somewhere My Girl Is Waiting…Somewhere her heart is breaking…so let me go…please let me go…(groan)…ah…yes…..Yes…..YES!!”***
Sheilah looks like she’s about to kill me, until Larry screams, “I love it…I love it!” He records it in London the following week, unfortunately it’s pulled off the market three days after they rush release it, for being too suggestive.**
I wonder how many good records never saw the light of day…because we were never allowed to hear them.
Here is a story of two of those records, one by my alter ego, Shadow Mann, “Come and Live With Me”, the other by my protégé Rainbo (a/k/a Sissy Spacek) “John You Went Too Far This Time”, and how the Legendary Morris Levy (Roulette Records) tried to make us into stars! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/06/legendary-music-man-morris-levy-meets-shadow-mann-a-legend-in-his-own-mind/
*Because Greene and Stone Productions made a deal with two different record companies for the US rights, the Troggs single was available on two competing labels: Atco and Fontana (distributed by Mercury). Because both pressings were taken from the identical master recording, Billboard combined the sales for both releases, making it the only single to simultaneously reach #1 for two different companies.”
***””Somewhere My Girl Is Waiting” Words and music by Artie Wayne. Copyright 1968/2009 by Wayne Art Music
FOR A FREE SHADOW MANN RINGTONE! http://www.thetones360.com/browse/david-holmes/shadow-mann/
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