BBC DJ who banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood denies UKIP song is racist
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read, who famously banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s classic anthem “Relax”, denies his UKIP Calypso song is racist.
It features the 67-year-old singing in a mock Jamaican accent at UKIP’s recent party conference. Read, a former Tory supporter, defended the song and claimed it was not “remotely racist” to sing in mock-Caribbean accent.
“It’s a satire and a bit of fun. It’s not terribly serious. It wouldn’t have sounded very good sung in a Surrey accent,” he said.
The track includes the lyrics: “Leaders committed a cardinal sin, open the borders let them all come in; illegal immigrants in every town – stand up and be counted, Blair and Brown.”
It continues: “Oh yes, when we take charge, and the new Prime Minister is Farage, we can trade with the world again – when Nigel is at No 10.”
Labour MP David Lammy said: “‘UKIP Calypso’ is everything we’ve come to expect from a party whose politics is based firmly on prejudice, resentment and fear-mongering.”
Read famously banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s classic anthem “Relax” during his stint at Radio 1.
In 1984 he made an on-air decision to interrupt the song. Halfway through playing the single, Read lifted the needle on the track, denounced the lyrics as “obscene” and refused to play it again.
The rest of the BBC followed suit, banning the song, with its veiled reference to gay sex, from all TV and radio airplay, with the curious exception of the top 40 show.
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Within a fortnight the song had rocketed to number one, where it nested for four weeks. The BBC lifted its ban on “Relax” at the end of 1984 to allow the band to perform it on the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops.
Read currently hosts the afternoon slot on BBC Radio Berkshire and is a long-standing supporter of the anti-EU party.
He spoke at its annual conference in 2012 and hosted an event at this year’s conference.
In a Facebook message, UKIP said: “Our celebrity member Mike Read, the former Radio 1 DJ, has written a brand new single especially for UKIP and we need your help to get it to the top of the pop charts.”
The song, credited to The Independents, has been released on iTunes and Amazon. The party said 20p from every 79p download would go to UKIP.
A BBC spokeswoman said Read had not breached the corporation’s guidelines on impartiality by releasing the song.
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