- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
‘Wizard of Oz’ song mocking Margaret Thatcher joins list of tunes BBC censored
‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” driving up charts
LONDON (AP) — A 70-year-old song is giving the BBC a headache.
The radio and television broadcaster has agonized over whether to play “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead,” a tune from “The Wizard of Oz” that is being driven up the charts by opponents of Margaret Thatcher as a mocking memorial to the late British prime minister.
A compromise announced Friday — the BBC will play part of “Ding Dong!” but not the whole song on its chart-countdown radio show — is unlikely to end the recriminations
This is not the first time Britain’s national broadcaster, which is nicknamed “Auntie” for its “we-know-what’s-good-for-you” attitude, has been caught in a bind about whether to ban a song on grounds of language, politics or taste.
Here’s a look at some previous censorship scandals:
SEX, DRUGS AND DOUBLE ENTENDRES
The 1960s and ‘70s saw several songs barred from airplay for sex or drug references, including The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” for a fleeting and implicit reference to smoking marijuana.
For The Kinks’ 1970 hit “Lola,” the trouble was not sex or drugs, but product placement. The line “you drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola” fell afoul of the public broadcaster’s rule banning corporate plugs. The brand name had to be replaced with “cherry cola” before the song could be aired.
The BBC frequently has been targeted by self-appointed moral guardians, most famously the late anti-smut activist Mary Whitehouse, who campaigned for decades against what she saw as pornography and permissiveness.
In 1972, Whitehouse got the BBC to ban the video for Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” for allegedly being a bad influence on children. The controversy helped the song reach No. 1 in the charts, and Cooper sent Whitehouse flowers. He later said she had given his band “publicity we couldn’t buy.”
But Whitehouse’s campaign to get Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling” banned on grounds of indecency was unsuccessful. The BBC’s chief at the time told Whitehouse that, while the song’s title could be seen as a double entendre, “we believe that the innuendo is, at worst, on the level of seaside postcards or music hall humor.”
Paul McCartney may now be the cuddly elder statesman of pop, but his first single with the band Wings, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish,” caused a storm.
Written after the 1972 killing of 13 Irish nationalist protesters by British troops on “Bloody Sunday” in Londonderry, the single was barred from all TV and radio airplay in Britain — but reached No. 1 in Ireland, where it was not banned.
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.