Banned From SNL for Rocking Too Hard

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Checking out the Your Daily Awesome archives, I came across this gem: a recounting of various performers barred from Saturday Night Live. Interestingly, footage of many of the incidents in the article is now available on YouTube, apparently from fans' live tapes of the original performances. Below, I cite a list of musical acts banned from SNL (text from the original article), along with YouTube clips I dug up for each:

Elvis Costello

On December 17, 1977, Elvis Costello and the Attractions performed as a last-minute replacement for the Sex Pistols, who were unable to obtain passports. NBC and the show's producer Lorne Michaels didn't want the band to perform "Radio Radio", since the song protests the state of the media. The band defied them by beginning to play their song "Less Than Zero", stopping, with Costello telling the audience that there was no reason to do that song, and telling the band to play "Radio Radio" instead. It infuriated Michaels because it put the show off schedule, and the band were barred from performing again.

Note: Eventually Lorne Michaels put his grievances aside, lifting the ban, and Elvis Costello would appear as musical guest in 1989 and 1991. He also reprised his performance of "Radio Radio" with the Beastie Boys for a 25th anniversary special aired on September 26, 1999.

After the jump - The Replacements (plus a bonus Paul Westerberg performance), Fear, and Sinéad O'Connor.

The Replacements

The influential alternative group The Replacements were banned from the show due to their behavior after they appeared on the show on January 18, 1986 to promote their first album with Sire Records, Tim. When it came time for them to perform their first number, "Bastards of Young," they were intoxicated and several cast members were unsure whether they could perform. Lead singer Paul Westerberg would further aggravate circumstances when he yelled "f***" to the crowd during "Bastards of Young". The band went on to perform one more song, "Kiss Me on the Bus".

See also: one of my favorite SNL performances, Paul Westerberg performing "Can't Hardly Wait" -- listen closely during the second section when the band stops.

Fear

Fear was banned from playing again after the 1981 Halloween episode. With Donald Pleasence as host, the band played that night by request from Fear fan John Belushi, and they proceeded to play offensive songs ("I Don't Care About You" and "Beef Balogna" among others) and bus in "dancers". The band also used obscene language and the dancers destroyed the set with their slam dancing onstage. The situation was out of control to the extent that the damage of studio equipment forced Dave Wilson to end the three-song performance by cutting the audio and video to a commercial as they started to play "Let's Have a War".

Note: The episode has not been rebroadcast on NBC.

(Note from Higgins: a bit of profanity in the clip below, between songs.)

Sinéad O'Connor

Quite possibly the most controversial SNL incident ever, and her banning wasn't for rocking per se:

Sinéad O'Connor was banned from appearing on SNL again after her peformance on October 3, 1992. In her second set of the show, she performed an a cappella version of Bob Marley's "War". During the word "evil", she picked up a picture of Pope John Paul II, ripped it up, and shouted, "Fight the real enemy!" Dave Wilson immediately turned off the "applause" cue and the audience reacted with complete silence. NBC received many complaints about this within a matter of minutes. At the end of the show, host Tim Robbins, who was raised Catholic, refused to give O'Connor the customary "thanks" for being the musical guest.

Read the original article for much more!

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October 10, 2007 - 5:01am
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