Fact: MTV Once Played So Many Music Videos They Could Afford To Ban Some

Jul 10th, 2007 // 9 Comments

MTV has a history of banning would-be popular videos, but it was 19 years ago this week that one of the network’s most peculiar censorship decisions took place. Neil Young’s “This Note’s for You” was denied play on the network due to a fear of offending valuable advertisers. No nudity, no blood, no graphic drug use–just ad parodies. Did 1988 mark the end of our innocence?

Neil Young and The Bluetones – This Note’s For You [YouTube]


  1. Al Shipley

    Considering that the only time I’ve ever even heard of “This Note’s For You” was in the context of it winning the VMA for Video Of The Year, I wonder how long MTV banned it before they decided to not only air but give it an award.

  2. Jupiter8

    And then in 1989 they made it “Video of the Year”!

  3. Jupiter8

    @GovernmentNames: oops my bad-you made the same point! I wonder if they were really afraid of Michael Jackson (not the advertisers) at that point…

  4. brasstax

    Could be. Michael and Whitney really wielded some power at the time. And I’d completely forgotten that it won best video in 1989!

  5. The Van Buren Boys

    In related news, MTV is censoring the word “suicidal” in the video for that “Beautiful Girls” song by Sean Kingston. However, one of their most popular shows involve soon-to-be 16 year olds engaging in behavior which is infinitely more offensive. *sigh*

  6. Ned Raggett

    Did 1988 mark the end of our innocence?


  7. janine

    @Ned Raggett: Don’t look back; you can never look back.

  8. bnb614

    Can someone let Warner Records know the name of the band is The Blue Notes?

  9. brasstax

    @bnb614: Ha! How did they miss that?

    @Ned Raggett: Sorry Ned.

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