Why the BBC Banned Paul McCartney’s ‘Hi Hi Hi’
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In early 1972, McCartney and his band Wings released the defiantly political single “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” Dipping into controversial waters out of character for McCartney, and though the single was strong and hard-rocking, the BBC thought it was too much and promptly banned it.
A few months later, McCartney slapped back and released a new single, a cover of the children’s song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” practically daring the powers that be to find something controversial with that. By year’s end, he was back for another round. The rollicking single “Hi Hi Hi” was in title alone almost taunting the BBC. It was not only the seemingly obvious drug references that got them all worked up this time, but also the suggestive sexual content that got this single banned in December 1972.
The line “get you ready for my body gun” was too much for U.K. airwaves. In later years, McCartney claimed what he was singing was “polygon,” not “body gun.” Despite, or perhaps because of the controversy, the record hit the U.K. and U.S. Top 10. Over the years, the song has become mostly forgotten, though McCartney recently resurrected it in concert.
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