Last night I was channel surfing and I watched “Two and a Half Men”, which at first glance looked like a family show. But when I saw Charlie Sheen bedding some starlet, while his little nephew stood around making wisecracks and sexual innuendoes, I knew I wasn’t watching “Father Knows Best”!

I wondered what other little treasures I’d find, as I zipped around the channels. I saw a little of “Brett Michaels Nasty Bus Of Love”, “Flava Flav’s Flavorites”, and a comedy about two rappers (Ludacris and 50 cent) who open a lingerie shop called, “Britches and Hose”.

Then in less than 30 seconds I saw a promise of things to come.

Being in the music business for much of my life I’ve seen sentiments in songs go from “Give Me A Little Kiss Will Ya’ Huh?” to “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, From “I Want To Hold Your Hand” to “May I Just Rest It On Your Leg?” Seriously, I’m not a prude my any means, but it wasn’t so long ago that anything that was the least bit suggestive wouldn’t make it to the airwaves!

My friend producer/songwriter Jerry Ross (“Sunny”, “98.6”, “Sunday Will Never Be The Same”) tells me about a problem with censorship back in the ‘60s.

“The success of a recording Artist is part of the complete collaboration of many. The record (a single promo) is released to Radio programmers & deejays that are usually very supportive of a recording artist who has consistently provided Radio with Music & Song and built up a fan base.
Actually they like to get an a Advance copy so that they can be the first in town to play it. Then, there are the  programmers who like to play ‘control freak’ and only see that the glass is half filled…..Instead of applauding a great new record and its craft….they look for reasons not to play the follow up release. In many cases it is censorship without justification and it  has been a train wreck set-back  for many artists…..I recall one particular instance that I personally  experienced….In my body of work, I had the pleasure of discovering  a New Artist from Philly who I called KEITH. We had major success with “AIN’T GONNA LIE” and “98.6”. His next single was titled “SUGAR MAN”, about someone who brings love and comfort to his loved ones…”I’m Your Sugar Man”. PAUL DREW, who programmed a major Detroit station, criticized the record calling the lyrics ambiguous and not appropriate for radio listeners! His unflattering and a bad call remarks were picked up by other shakers and movers who, must have enjoyed knocking down the king of the hill with their power or could give you a thumbs up……Jay Cook/WFIL-Dean Tyler/WIBG Philly/ Bill Drake-

syndication -KYA San Francisco all power brokers who reported to THE GAVIN REPORT (the industry bible at the time)…..THE RECORD WAS DEAD…….CENSORED!


Tommy James (“Hanky, Panky”, “Crimson and Clover”), remembers what happened to him around the same time.

“What hypocrisy!” I Think We’re Alone Now” was out at the same time as the Rolling Stones, “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and they were worried about my record!

Seriously, what got the radio stations in Detroit upset was the album cover that showed two sets of yellow footprints walking along together. If you followed them along, at the end it was clear that the two people were in a compromising position.

So they told us that if we didn’t change the cover, they wouldn’t play the next Tommy James record, which was “Mirage.” CKLW in Detroit banned “I Think We’re Alone Now” but Keener, WKNR, played it.”


Tommy smiles and says, “We changed the album cover.”

How far have we come? WTF, listen to what Lady GaGa Says in her #1 song, “Poker Face”…Can You Believe It?

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Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne


Watch for Tommy James’ forthcoming book, “Me, The Mob, And The Music

For Jerry Ross and Philly Oldies