Sat. Jul 20th, 2019

Franco's censorship of the Beatles is half a century old | Culture


The box was published all over the world. And, also, in Spain, although with a difference. In 1976, a compilation album that included almost a decade of triumphs of the Beatles. It contained, in particular, the most famous singles produced between 1962 and 1970. The album did not need major campaigns: basically, it sold itself. Even so, Emi Odeon added a sweet tooth to the Spanish edition: the promotional sheet in Spanish highlighted that, at last, the public could hear again The ballad of John and Yoko, banned since 1969 by the Franco regime. The death of the dictator and the rescue of that one single they put an end to a web of censorship and clumsiness, weddings and political tensions, a list of successes and scratched records, of which just half a century has passed.

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The story of The ballad of John and Yoko it transcends the elaboration of a simple song: it intermingles with the Clash between Spain and the United Kingdom by Gibraltar, the closing of the gate, the decline of the friendship between John Lennon and Paul McCartney and the epilogue of the Beatles themselves. Magí Crusells, Professor of Contemporary History and Cinema at the University of Barcelona, ​​researcher and amateur of the fab four, has reconstructed all this through cards and documents of the time. Now he intends to incorporate this story into an exhibition that prepares to narrate censorship through advertising in the record industry.

List of works that were vetoed in September 1969, including 'The Ballad of John and Yoko'.


List of works that were vetoed in September 1969, including 'The Ballad of John and Yoko'.

The guilty of tangle size were, in reality, two words. The ballad of John and Yoko recounted the frustrated attempts of the couple to marry in France or Germany and their successful plan c. Excluding the United Kingdom, due to the media commotion that its link would cause, they opted for Gibraltar. There his wedding was celebrated on March 20, 1969. It lasted only 10 minutes and, on the rock itself, Lennon and Ono were only a few hours. Immediately, they left for Paris, lock yourself a week in bed in Amsterdam as part of their vindictive honeymoon. On April 14, Lennon met with McCartney to put lyrics and music to so many experiences. And, at the end of the second verse, remembering the wedding, he wrote: "You can get married in Gibraltar, near Spain (near Spain) ".

At first, to know if confused by the catchy rhythm, the censors did not detect any problem. "The song was released on May 30 in England and reached Spanish stores and radios on July 15," says Crusells. But, meanwhile, the United Kingdom had granted internal autonomy to the rock and angered the Franco regime, who claimed his Spanishness. Hence, on June 8, 1969, the dictator imposed the closure of the land border with Gibraltar. Among those affected, Spanish and British who lost their jobs, personal relationships interrupted and, also, The ballad of John and Yoko.


An article of the time picks up the prohibition of 'The ballad of John and Yoko'.



enlarge photo
An article of the time picks up the prohibition of 'The ballad of John and Yoko'.

"From then on, everything that is not 'Gibraltar Spanish' has to be banned," summarizes Franco's will Crusells. Therefore, on September 15 the regime ruled that the song is "non-radiable". "It could no longer be issued, it was like decreeing his commercial death. And that had been circulating for two months and had even reached number one in several hit lists, "continues the professor. A month later, the Franco regime raised the punishment: the issue was already prohibited. Crusells even shows several pieces of the era where the album appears scratched, or marked with a censor ballpoint pen that has decreed its elimination from the market. So much so that the compilation Hey Jude (originally titled The Beatles Again) goes on sale in 1970 with 10 songs around the world and one less in Spain. The same, says the professor, occurs with The blue album, edited in 1973. Two years later, Franco's death returned democracy to Spain. Y The ballad of John and Yoko.

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