Records Banned by the BBC

On the 28th 0f November the Forum’s guest speaker was David Sibbald whose talk had the intriguing title of Records Banned by the BBC.

In earlier days it was the BBC’s practise to ban records for a variety of reasons. The reasons can be classified under the headings of suggestive lyrics, unacceptable religious references, lyrics which may damage morale in wartime and references to commercial products.

Also a less obvious reason was the use of melodies by classical composers which involved the banning of instrumental records by bands such as the Glen Miller Band. This was due to the BBC’s Head of Music in the 1940s being the composer Sir Arthur Bliss who believed that classical music should not be used for profit.

David illustrated his talk with short extracts of the records involved starting with Henry Hall’s Radio Times (a commercial publication).

In the USA there was no such restrictions but eventually it was realised that the BBC’s rules were affecting record sales and there are many instances of English versions of songs being produced with slight changes to the American words.

Some of Cole Porter’s songs were, however, beyond redemption.

Forum Chairman Mike Earle thanked David Sibbald for an entertaining and amusing talk.