Rod Stewart has revealed the BBC denied him permission to perform his classic track ‘The Killing Of Georgie’ during an acoustic set earlier this week, as it was “too controversial”.
The singer released ‘The Killing Of Georgie’ in 1976, telling the story of a gay friend of his who was killed one night in New York.
Initially, upon its release, the BBC declined to play the song, though they eventually changed their mind.
He said: “[It’s] the biggest show across the land. And I asked if I could do ‘The Killing of Georgie’, which, as you know, is about a homosexual friend of mine. Well, he was a friend of the Faces, who was murdered in the 70s.
“I thought it would be OK now because they banned it when it first came out... And I asked if I could sing it and they said no, it was too controversial. This was 1976 and now we’re in 2018… Unbelievable.”
Rod’s upcoming album ‘Blood Red Roses’ features a cover of the classic song ‘Grace’, which he told Billboard he’d also been refused permission to perform “because of its Irish, anti-English overtones”.
“Forget about it,” he commented. “It’s one of the greatest love songs ever written. The guy goes to his death 15 minutes the next morning after he’s been married and I can’t sing that one either.”
The BBC has a rather different version of events, though, telling HuffPost UK: “No songs are banned on the BBC. Radio 2 still regularly plays Rod’s song ‘The Killing Of Georgie’. All songs performed live on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show are agreed with the artist.”
After releasing covers albums for a decade, ‘Blood Red Roses’ is Rod’s third album of original material in five years, with the singer claiming he got back into the habit of writing after the release of his autobiography.
The album’s lead single, ‘Didn’t I’, centres around the opioid crisis in America, and is sung from the perspective of a parent watching their child struggle with addiction.