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12 Songs That Were Yanked From the Radio

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In this era where seemingly anything goes when it comes to popular entertainment, it’s hard to believe that people get upset lyrics in a song. But music in particular has an ability to really infuriate people, which leads to hit songs getting pulled from the radio stations. To get you ready for the premiere of Eric Jonrosh’s banned masterpiece The Spoils Before Dying, check out a dozen tracks that got pulled from the airwaves for a variety of reasons.

12. “Girl Crush,” Little Big Town

Country radio is notorious for being conservative, but a song like “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town is certainly not worthy of all the hubbub it generated. The track, about a woman jealous of her ex- boyfriend’s new flame, was yanked from stations across the country because people interpreted the lyrics as advancing the “gay agenda.”


11. “Pumped Up Kicks,” Foster the People

It has to be hard to be a band in this situation –- Foster the People had a huge hit in 2011 with “Pumped Up Kicks,” a breezy summer jam about a troubled teen shooting up a school. But after the shocking attack at Sandy Hook Elementary, it didn’t seem wise to be bopping your heads along to lyrics like “you better run, better run, faster than my bullet” and many stations stopped playing it.


10. “Walk Like An Egyptian,” The Bangles

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, radio juggernaut Clear Channel published a massive list of songs that were “questionable” that it recommended DJs not play. Some of them made sense, but some, like the Bangles’ late-’80s hit “Walk Like An Egyptian,” were pretty perplexing. Some stations did go along with the list and blocked many of the songs from airplay for a time.


9. “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!,” Jerry Samuels

This absurd 1966 novelty record by Jerry Samuels (sung from the perspective of a mental institution inmate) hit #3 on the pop charts the year it was released and then dropped like a stone because DJs around the world feared (with good reason) that people would be offended. Interestingly enough, teenage fans of the track actually picketed radio stations in protest.


8. “With You,” Chris Brown

Sometimes it’s not a specific song that gets pulled from the radio but an artist’s entire body of work. In 2009, with domestic abuse allegations swirling around Chris Brown, Cleveland, Ohio station WAKS yanked all recordings by the artist from the airwaves, including his recent hit “With You.” It’s not certain exactly when they lifted the ban –- maybe after Brown finished his community service?


7. “Relax,” Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Liverpool New Wave band Frankie Goes To Hollywood got some BBC airplay behind their breakthrough single until a DJ noticed that the lyrics were almost entirely about gay sex. The Beeb pulled the track from airplay, but the damage was done and it shot to #1 on the charts without their support.


6. “If U Seek Amy,” Britney Spears

Before she pulled it together, Britney Spears’ post-Kevin Federline career was a sad and sordid plea for attention, and in 2009 she made a stab at radio controversy with the generic dance-pop tune “If U Seek Amy.” Sing the chorus fast enough and it sounds racy, of course, and the Parents Television Council raised a fuss and threatened stations who played it until Britney recorded a “clean” version.


5. “Money For Nothing,” Dire Straits

The Dire Straits hit probably most famous for its low-tech computer graphics video was pulled from the Canadian airwaves in 2011. This shouldn’t be surprising to anybody who’s actually listened to the lyrics, which contain an entire verse that could be construed as homophobic. Some Canadian stations protested the ban by playing the song on loop for an hour, which sounds like a fate worse than death.


4. “Travelin’ Soldier,” The Dixie Chicks

In 2003 the Dixie Chicks had the number one album on the charts, as well as the top single with “Travelin’ Soldier,” but stations around the country yanked them from the playlists after band member Natalie Maines had harsh words for George Bush and the war in Iraq.


3. “Come Again,” Au Pairs

Here’s another track that was yanked off the air by the BBC for sexual reasons. Post-punk pioneers the Au Pairs covered a number of edgy topics in their music, but “Come Again” -– about “orgasmic equality’ -– is a remarkably cold-hearted examination of the beast with two backs.


2. “Die Young,” Ke$ha

After the Newtown school shooting that we talked about earlier, another track that radio DJs shied away from playing was her recently-released single “Die Young.” The song’s title and lyrics just didn’t seem appropriate.


1. “Royals,” Lorde

Most of the reasons radio stations have given for pulling songs have been understandable, but let’s close this one out with a totally ludicrous case of sports-related censorship. In 2014, San Francisco radio station KFOG pulled Lorde’s “Royals” from the rotation because the New Zealand singer admitted to being inspired by a picture of Kansas City DH George Brett. The Royals were up against the Giants in the World Series, and San Francisco ended up taking it 4-3.

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Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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