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Rock and roll was seen as controversial back in the day, so much that sometimes songs were banned from radio or television play. Often times these bans would prove to be ineffective, and as a result,
the songs grew in popularity. Take a look at some classic rock songs
and find out why they were once banned.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles

This song’s title was thought to be representative of the drug LSD, that, among other supposed drug references caused the song to be banned by the BBC.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1967) -The Beatles

Uploaded by Joe Kulik on 2017-02-07.

Light My Fire – The Doors

“Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” was supposed to be changed to “Girl, we couldn’t get much better,” but Jim Morrison did not censor himself and as a result, The Doors were banned from The Ed Sullivan Show on September 17, 1967. This song was also banned in 1991, during the Persian Gulf War because of the use of the word “fire.”

The Doors - Light My Fire

"Light My Fire" is a song originally performed by The Doors which was recorded in August 1966 and released the first week of January 1967. It spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100, and one week on the Cashbox Top 100. It was re-released in 1968, peaking at #87.

Let’s Spend the Night Together – The Rolling Stones

The very title of this song was banned from The Ed Sullivan Show. The Stones were told to change that particular lyric to “let’s spend some time together.” Unlike Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger followed the rules, all the while rolling his eyes at the camera. In fact, after that song, the band left the stage and came back to perform in Nazi uniform. Ed Sullivan was not happy and so began The Stones’ two year ban from the show.

The Rolling Stones - Let's Spend the Night Together

The Rolling Stones - Let's Spend the Night Together

My Generation – The Who

Parts of this song were thought to resemble stuttering and therefore considered offensive and banned by the BBC. The song ended up being a hit and the ban was eventually lifted.

The Who - My Generation

Subscribe to The Best Of for more classic music history, videos and playlists: "My Generation" appeared on The Who's debut album of the same name. It was released as a single on 5th November 1965, reaching No. 2 in the UK charts and 74 in the US.

Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel

This song was banned by some Archdiocese of the Catholic Church for promoting pre-marital sex among teenagers. Billy Joel even said, “the point of the song wasn’t so much anti-Catholic as pro-lust.” The song wasn’t an immediate hit, but once it was banned, it became popular.

Billy Joel - the good die young With Lyrics

Only the Good Die Young With Lyrics

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

This song was originally titled “Brown Skinned Girl” however Van Morrison changed it to make the song more radio-friendly. Despite the name and lyric change, some radio stations still banned the song on account of the line “making love in the green grass.”

Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl (Audio)

Van Morrison's official audio for 'Brown Eyed Girl'. Click to listen to Van Morrison on Spotify: As featured on Super Hits.

You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

“Let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint” – that line was censored on MTV in October of 1994. At the time, drug related references were commonly censored. The song went on to chart, reaching No. 13 and even received an MTV Video Music Award.

Tom Petty - You Don't Know How It Feels (Video Version)

© 2006 WMG You Don't Know How It Feels (Video Version)

Imagine – John Lennon

Of all songs to be banned after 9/11, this peace-seeking song was banned by some radio stations because the lyrics “imagine there’s no heaven” was seen as offensive to some religious groups. The song charted despite its ban.

Imagine - John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band (with the Flux Fiddlers)

Notes from Lennon Legend DVD: A brand new transfer, taken from a first-generation 35mm inter-negative of the original 16mm Imagine film negative. Restored and remastered for the very first time in a stunning new digital transfer. Directed by John & Yoko, this was originally filmed on 22 July 1971, and is now seen with its full original intro sequence.

Lola – The Kinks

The use of a single word had this song banned – that word was “Coca-Cola” – which violated BBC product placement rules.

The Kinks - Lola (Official Audio)

Official audio for Lola by The Kinks, released on Sanctuary Records. Subscribe to the official The Kinks channel for music videos, behind-the-scenes, live footage, playlists, and more:

Angie Krueger is a journalist who enjoys eating to Classic Rock music. She also enjoys listening to it.