So-o-o, Steve answered my question on twitter! How lovely!! I had a hc that Sal actually likes polishing his nailes so I decided to check on it, and here we go! Sal is our little cute princess with fucking adorable nails~
Sex has always been a topic that has pushed the boundaries of decency in the recording industry. Some of the best-known and loved African American personalities have occasionally recorded songs that have been considered vulgar or too suggestive and were barred from the airwaves. Tongue-in-cheek humor was considered naughty but harmless to some, depending on the degree of bawdiness; and to others nothing short of censorship would be sufficient.
In 1920, Mamie Smith’s ‘Crazy Blues’ was considered coarse. It was a national hit, played mostly on jukeboxes but did get some radio play. It sold over a million copies. During the 20’s the jukebox was a black musicians main source of exposure. Radio stations would not play 'race records’ and the music industry was as segregated as the nation. Most whites considered black music 'unacceptable.’
However some of the most popular white authors in the early years were accused of producing indecent material. Cole Porter’s recordings of “Let’s Do It” and “Love for Sale,” were banned from the air and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s had to change the words to their song “My Boy Bill” in the musical Carousel, but the African American artists suffered more than any of the white composers or artists.
Radio station KWK—AM in St. Louis, Missouri, a station that I have fond memories of, and one of the stations I profiled in a previous chapter, was a leader in a censorship movement. KWK at different times was one of St. Louis most popular radio stations in both the black and white communities. In 1958 the management of KWK called Rock n Roll 'undesirable music’ and banned all of the music from the stations play list. Rock and Roll and the entire so called Race music genre was under attack. White stations were not playing black music at this time anyhow.
One of the first crossover artists, Chuck Berry was at first banned because he was black. KWK’s action was in part brought because white kids liked Berry’s music. At the time, St. Louis did not want the races mixed and Rock and Roll was contributing to this integration. Local white citizens were outraged because their children were fans of this black musician and singer.
Berry eventually became a favorite of both races but his recording 'My Ding-A-Ling’ was viewed as unsuitable for airplay on some stations while it became a top ten hit on others. You can see the inconsistency because these situations illuminate the challenges for program directors and station managers.
How can Black artists cope in a society that promotes race instability and status differences? Race inequality in earnings, accommodations, and airplay are the norm for most musicians of color.
Several black artists recordings were disapproved of, and in some instances, banned from radio because of their lyrical content. One of the most popular singers and bandleaders of the early 40’s and 50’s was Bull Moose Jackson. Benjamin 'Bull Moose’ Jackson began as a musician and singer in Lucky Millinder’s band who later formed his own combo, 'The Buffalo Bearcats.’ His recordings of 'Big Ten Inch Record,’ 'Nosey Joe’ and 'Bow Legged Woman’ were considered suggestive but became big hits for Jackson.
Roosevelt Sykes had several recordings that were considered smutty but he became a favorite of blues lovers all over the world. He also often toured and recorded with the singer St. Louis Jimmy Oden, the orignator of the classic 'Going Down Slow.’
Dinah Washington’s 'Big Long Slidin’ Thing’ and 'Long John Blues’ was considered bawdy with references to sex. The Dominoes 'Sixty Minute Man’ had several naughty phrases and word of mouth propelled it to more than a million sales.
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, who were previously 'The Royals,’ had a number of recordings that were prohibited from airplay but sold hundreds of thousands of records. “Work With Me Annie,’ 'Annie Had a Baby,’ 'Sex Ways,’ 'Annie’s Aunt Fannie’ and 'There’s a Thrill Up on The Hill’ were all best sellers from juke boxes, with very little radio exposure. "Mountain Oysters” by Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis was another recording that was the subject of censorship; Wynonie Harris hit in this genre was “Wasn’t That Good?” Harris was considered the real King of Rock, before Elvis. His 'Good Rockin’ Tonight’ was a remarkable success.
Bernie Hayes, The Death of Black Radio: The Story of America’s Black Radio Personalities