All Women's Talk

7 Huge Pop Songs That You Won't Believe Were Banned ...

By Kati

How many pop songs that were banned do you know of? Yep, that’s right – pop songs have been banned. Creative expression might be a wonderful thing, but that doesn’t mean your song will get played. Songs can be banned for a whole variety of reasons, from sounding a bit too sexy (especially older songs!) to having controversial lyrics. Here are some of the strangest pop songs that were banned.

1 I Want It That Way

If you know any pop songs that were banned, it’s likely to be this one. Back in 1999, the Backstreet Boys released their catchiest tune yet with “I Want It That Way.” It was played EVERYWHERE. The lyrics are harmless enough, too – nothing here that will offend the children, or shouldn’t be sang in public. Although the Chinese Government wouldn’t agree. They reviewed the track in 2011 (yes, a whole 12 years after it was released) and decided that it is too vulgar to be played. Banned.

2 My Generation

Who doesn’t love The Who? My Generation was a brilliant song when it was released back in 1965, and it’s passed the test of time, sounding as good today as it did back then. It does have some rebellious lyrics, but that’s not what upset the BBC in Britain. No, it was the repeated stuttering. You read that right. The BBC decided to ban the song, believing that the stuttering could be offensive to people with a stutter. The Who explained that the stutter was an accident, which the producers had liked and kept in, and was in no way offensive. The ban remained in force, though.


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3 Royals

Lorde set the 2013 music scene on fire with Royals, and just about everyone knew the lyrics. It was playing everywhere…other than San Francisco. Two radio stations there decided to boycott the song during this years’ World Series, because their baseball team (The Giants) were up against a Missouri side called The Royals. Kansas City’s radio station responded by promising to play the song once an hour throughout the entire tournament. Eventually, after a barrage of complaints, the San Francisco stations agreed to add it back into the rotation after the series ended. San Francisco won, though, so maybe the ban was effective

4 God Only Knows

Do you remember this classic song from the Beach Boys? It certainly caused tension when it was released back in 1966. The romantic tune set hearts a flutter, and quickly became one of the most requested songs on radio stations, and a popular choice at weddings, too. Some parts of the US branded the song blasphemous for having the word God in the title, though, and banned it outright.

5 Imagine

John Lennon’s Imagine is another classic that has lasted the length of time. The 1971 hit became huge for its peaceful tone, and heartfelt lyrics. It’s been covered endlessly, with hundreds of artists wanting to replicate John’s peaceful utterings. It was banned across American radio stations after the 9/11 attacks, though, with bosses fearing that it could offend some listeners. Imagine wasn’t the only banned song, but it’s definitely the most controversial. It’s a song about peace!

6 Monster Mash

Did you rock to this during October? This Halloween classic was first released in 1962, and it has quickly become as essential to the holiday as dancing to Thriller. It wasn’t always that way, though. In fact, the BBC banned it originally, branding the song too morbid. It’s about fictional characters, with a cute cartoon video…but no, too morbid. Bizarre.

7 Born This Way

Lady GaGa has penned a few pop songs that were banned. Her 2011 hit Born This Way was one, although it wasn’t banned for that cringy album artwork. Instead, the Chinese government decided the song was too vulgar to be played, and refused to play it for three whole years. The song is catchy, but basically contains the one line – “Baby I was born this way.” So not exactly raunchy.

There are other pop songs that were banned, too. Leader of the Pack was said to incite gang violence back in 1964, and Walk Like An Egyptian was wiped out because of the Gulf War. Then there are the ones that do make sense – Ke$ha’s Die Young, for example, which was unfortunately released just after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Do you agree with these bannings, or should we be able to censor our own music?

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