Musicians Banned From Performing In Certain Countries

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Many people forget how short-lived the Sex Pistols’ career actually was. By the time their fifth single rolled around, notorious members Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious had already left the band. However, that didn’t stop the remaining members, Paul Cook and Steve Jones, from stirring up some controversy of their own. On this day in 1978, the BBC outright banned the song “No One is Innocent” as opposed to censoring it. Not only were the lyrics interpreted as sympathizing with a number of people with bad reputations, from politicians to murderers, but the guest vocalist was none other than Ronald Biggs, a criminal associated with the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

The Sex Pistols are not the only band that’s been banned in some capacity, whether from a whole country or a TV show. Here are five more musicians that have found themselves on a list that wasn’t meant for VIPs.

1. The Beatles

Since the Beatles are so universally beloved these days, it can be tough to even remember a time that they were considered long-haired hoodlums from the U.K. While your parents may not have been happy about your Beatles records, at least the British Invasion was allowed into the country. The same can’t be said for Israel, whose committee responsible for authorizing foreign artists’ entry to the country forbade the Beatles from entering in 1964 because they wanted to prevent mass hysteria, according to The Guardian. It was also stated that the Beatles lacked artistic merit and “aroused feelings of aggression replete with sexual stimuli.”


AP Photo

2. The Doors

Modern fans of the Doors are well aware of singer Jim Morrison’s unpredictability. However, when the band was set to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, producers didn’t know they had to keep an eye on ol’ Jim. Ultimate Classic Rock recounted the story of how the Doors went from having six gigs lined up to never being called back to The Ed Sullivan Show. Despite the band’s well-known affinity for drugs, Morrison was asked to change the line, “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher,” before going onstage to sing “Light My Fire.” Unsurprisingly, Morrison wasn’t having it and sang the original line live on-air anyway.


AP Photo

3. Ozzy Osbourne

Usually, when someone is banned from a city, it can be assumed that he or she has done something to wrong the city in question. However, that isn’t the case when it comes to rocker Ozzy Osbourne being banned from playing in Boston. According to Kinja, Osbourne partied a little too hard before taking a tour of the Alamo in Texas and urinated in public, across the street. Apparently that was a little too close to the historic monument for comfort and Boston officials didn’t want to deal with any sort of hijinx like that in their own city. In 1982, they forbid him from coming to town. Though he hasn’t performed in Boston since the ban, Osbourne did apologize for the incident in 2015. Better late than never, right?


AP Photo / Mark Lennihan

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