Famous Songs With Famous Controversies

Weird History takes a look at some very famous songs that had famous controversies throughout the years. While at least one song might have deserved to be withdrawn from the public, most on the list were subjected to unwarranted concerns.

Popular songs are a cultural footprint of a generation’s woes and beliefs, loves and hates, and preferred mind altering substances. But while music soothes the savage beast, it has also been known to seriously piss people off.

This was especially true with “Rumble” by Link Wray, as the song didn’t have any lyrics. Nonetheless, the fear of what could happen overtook any form of basic logic.

Still, despite “Rumble” being just a cool melody that, by definition, cannot include anything remotely controversial, radio stations around the country banned the song in the late 1950s. And it remains the only instrumental track ever forbidden from the airwaves. But why? Well, New York and Boston stations wouldn’t play it specifically for fear of inciting gang violence. However, given that the song has no lyrics at all it’s hard not to conclude that the only problem with the song is that it’s called “Rumble.”

“In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles, “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, and “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys were also on this list.

Phil Collins Controversy
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.