top-40 in 1957

Donna Halper
Fri May 30 02:08:53 EDT 2014

So, I am trying to disprove a very durable myth.  A number of websites, 
and even a couple of books claim that "Wake Up Little Susie" by the 
Everly Brothers was banned in Boston.  I grew up here, and I absolutely 
remember hearing it on the radio.  I've checked various newspapers 
(given that a number of radio and music critics back then absolutely 
hated rock and roll, if the song got banned, you'd think someone would 
have mentioned it)-- but there was no mention that I could find in the 
Globe, Herald, Traveler, or several others.  No mention in Broadcasting 
magazine either, and Billboard repeatedly showed that the song was 
selling in Boston record stores.  But what really makes me think the 
story is a myth is that I found some old surveys that show WCOP played 
the song.  I also found weekly newspaper reports of what the top disc 
jockeys were playing-- these appeared in the Traveler and the Record 
American, and they continued to report airplay from WHDH's Bob Clayton's 
(his show, "Boston Ballroom," was very influential back then).  Do any 
of you have Boston radio surveys from October 1957, the month the song 
went to #1?  My guess is that the more conservative stations like WBZ 
did not play it, and there might have been some negative commentary 
about the song by the Boston Archdiocese--the Catholic Church had a lot 
of influence and I vaguely recall they had a list of songs, movies and 
books considered not okay for Catholics.  But I am not finding any 
evidence the song was in fact "banned in Boston."

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