March 14, 2009

tinkTwo 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.”


**From the forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne


 ***””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/


To go back to Artie Wayne On The Web https://artiewayne.wordpress.com


8 Responses to “F#@K MUSIC CENSORSHIP!”

  1. ountry Paul Says:

    Censorship is such a waste of time; in the case of “bleeped” words, it only highlights what wa censored and makes the veboten verbiage even more tempting. Let’s face it, people are now saying on the air (and on satellite radio and on-line) stuff we couldn’t say even in the “progressive rock” era of the ’60s and ’70s, like “piss” and “ass” as two examples. But it’s a moving target; what’s OK now won’t be and vice versa, underscoring the lameless of censoing to begin with.

    Now, what the hell was I saying?

  2. Joe Nelson Says:

    The other day I got in my catr and turned on the engine, and the already-on radio commences mid-“Stronger” by Kanye West – specifically, right at the line “I’d do anything for a blonde dyke”, only the word “dyke” was muted and without any context from the rest of the song it sounded like Kanye was saying “I’d do anything for a blunt”. Not what the label intended. (I’m pretty sure.)

  3. jimmyboi2 Says:

    Was there really a furor over “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)’ back in 1962 ? Or did Spector just feel that it wasn’t as good as ‘He’s A Rebel’ was going to be, and pulled it to spare the group’s reputation ? (Even though the name “The Crystals” was only relative to Spector’s need.)

  4. dave heasman Says:

    That wasn’t the first Stones cop-out over a dodgy lyric. On their very first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On”, they had to change Chuck’s “some stupid jerk” to “some stupid guy”. It showed us, at the time, just how well-chosen Chuck’s lyrics were – the Stones’ change made it a much weaker song.

  5. Dennis Putnam Says:

    I think in today’s world CENSORSHIP is as useless as tits on a boar hog(the male). Young kids today don’t have any concept of reality. They can’t tell what is real and what is illusion. . Don’t take me wrong there’s a place for all music, my 11 year old grand daughter was amazed when I knew the words to a song she was singing except they leave out a line or two and at that age,it is ok. For God’s sake she will have time to grow up and hear a lot worse but let’s let them be kids as long as possible. When I think about I grew up listening to one of the most misunderstood songs, they wanted it off the air but it was also one of the most played, Louie Louie! The only thing wrong, the words were not bad at all just not clear. We as parents need to use common sense about music and everything else but in most cases it is to late. You can’t unring a bell. I am 58 years old so I have seen and heard a lot of crap. I don’t think censorship is the true problem, it’s the idiots that let their kids do what ever they want to and the others who want to take out God from our schools. This country was based on God, guts and guns and if that statement offends anyone well that’s just to F#@KING sad and bad.

  6. Andrew C. Jones Says:

    The British band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich would have hitmakers in the US (I think) if their single “Bend It” hadn’t been barred from his stations by one radio-station owner who was so powerful that others followed suit.

  7. Country Paul Says:

    In response to Dennis Putnam, while I appreciate and agree with the majority of your comment, I disagree with blaming parents “who want to take out God from our schools.” I am one who does not want to see organized religion in schools, but I do want to see the understanding and teaching of spirituality and common decency. Civility is breaking down, in my opinion, not because organized religion isn’t taught, but because the social contract isn’t taught and enforced. I see the social contract as incorporating parental responsibility (including what kids can and can’t be exposed to) and the teaching of respect and concern for the rights of others. It also encompasses the understanding that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion, but it does NOT exclude the understanding that most people acknowledge a Higher Power and reach it in their own way. To me, however, it DOES exclude prosyletizing for a particular religious tradition; if someone has a belief system that works for them, does not hurt others and respects them, that’s fine; and if they don’t, that’s their business unless they force it into being mine.

    I don’t expect we’ll convince each other of the correctness of our positions, Dennis, nor do I have the time to get into a long philosophical discussion; but I do believe the above needed to be said. Thank you for reading it.

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