Lyrics and Sheet Music
Decade - 1930s

In the 1930s US radio stations refused to play songs with what word in the lyrics?


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2013-12-20 01:28:59
2013-12-20 01:28:59

There was not just one word-- there was an entire list of words. In the 1930s, America was very conservative. It wasn't just songs that were censored-- ideas were censored too. Radio network owners worried about offending the Catholic church (which was very influential) or offending southern (white) affiliates. Thus, radio stations were not allowed to mention birth control or family planning. They were also not allowed to discuss segregation or lynching. As for song lyrics, any swear words, even the mildest ones like "damn" were banned. But so were common euphemisms that might have a sexual meaning. In 1931, for example, a Boston station (WBZ) went on a "purity campaign" where songs the program manager thought might be about sex were removed from the air. And it's not so much that US radio stations refused to play certain songs-- the record companies themselves knew that it would be a problem if they released controversial songs, so they tried to release songs that were mass-appeal and unlikely to alienate the majority of listeners.


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