It seems people find domestic violence and misogyny more offensive than gay sex, anti-monarchism, drug use, murder, abortion, copious use of the word "fuck," suicide, atheism and the medical experiments at Auschwitz.
The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" has been voted the most controversial song of all time in a new poll by Britain's Performing Rights Society.
The tune, which came out on 1997's The Fat Of The Land, was condemned by women's rights groups when it came out because they said its chorus — "Change my pitch up/Smack my bitch up" — along with its accompanying music video, promoted domestic violence and hatred of women. Those lyrics were altered and sampled from Ultramagnetic MCs' "Give The Drummer Some."
The video was banned by the BBC and MTV, though high demand eventually led the latter organization to show the clip, but only after midnight.
For some reason, people still find the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" really offensive as well, since it came in at #2. That tune came out 1977 around the time of Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee marking the 25th anniversary of her assuming the British throne, and is now widely considered a punk classic.
But the BBC refused to play it when it was released, and it only hit #2 on the British charts, causing some to wonder if it had been fixed from going #1. It also eventually led to the Pistols being dropped by Virgin Records.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax," which was also banned by the BBC (I'm sensing a theme here...), was released to scandal in 1983 because its accompanying advertisements featured homoerotic imagery and the phrase "ALL THE NICE BOYS LOVE SEA MEN." Embarrassingly for the BBC, the ban only prompted the song to rise higher on the British singles charts.
Eminem's "Kim," of course, should be familiar to many of our readers, since it's pretty recent. It's that infamous track where he pretends he's killing his ex-wife.
It was so offensive that when Eminem came to Canada in 2000, Ontario Attorney General Jim Flaherty said Canada shouldn't let Eminem into the country, while Liberal MPP Michael Bryant (who later became Attorney General himself) said the government may lay hate crime charges against Eminem because of his lyrics.
Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name," of course, most likely made this list because of the "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" line that's repeated at the end of the tune.
Scottish electronic music group The Shamen's "Ebeneezer Goode" was banned by the BBC (hey, who didn't see that coming!) because it allegedly promoted the use of ecstasy.
Ozzy Osbourne found himself in court in 1986 after a teenage boy shot himself while listening to his "Suicide Solution." The boy's family claimed Ozzy was responsible for their son's death, but Ozzy was cleared.
Marilyn Manson's "Get Your Gunn" is about Dr. David Gunn, an abortion provider who was murdered by Michael Frederic Griffin in the first ever documented assassination of an abortionist.
Slayer's "Angel Of Death" is about Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who was responsible for murdering countless Jews and non-Jews at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Its "Auschwitz, the meaning of death/The way I want you to die" lyric has been misconstrued as supporting Nazism.
Finally, XTC's "Dear God" is about... atheism. It seems hardly controversial nowadays, and this single wasn't even banned by the BBC! Another XTC song, "Statue Of Liberty," was, though, because it made lewd references about... sailing beneath the Statue Of Liberty's skirt.
That, along with many of the other references above, should give you folks enough reason to understand why Brits often refer to the Beeb as "Auntie." Oh, Auntie. You are so fussy.
Here are the top 10 songs of all time:
The Prodigy — "Smack My Bitch Up"
Sex Pistols — "God Save The Queen"
Frankie Goes To Hollywood — "Relax"
Eminem — "Kim"
Rage Against The Machine — "Killing In The Name"
The Shamen — "Ebeneezer Goode"
Ozzy Osbourne — "Suicide Solution'
Marilyn Manson — "Get Your Gunn"
Slayer — "Angel Of Death"
XTC — "Dear God"