Radio 1 refuses to play `boring' Beatles

John McKie
Friday 08 March 1996 00:02
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JOHN McKIE

Radio One has refused to play the new single by The Beatles on the grounds that it is not of sufficient "merit".

The single Real Love - only the Fab Four's second single since their split in 1970 - has entered the midweek charts at number four. But the BBC station has decided that the track will not interest its listeners and have left it off their playlist of 60 records.

Instead, Radio One has selected less established chart names for their playlist such as Gap Decor, 99th Floor Elevators, Benz and Goldie. Oasis, the band who have admitted to basing their sound around the Beatles', have two tracks on the playlist.

The Beatles' press spokesman Geoff Baker said last night: "There is obviously a public demand for and interest in the record because it is at number four.

"We conducted research which showed that 41 per cent of the buyers of the last single were teenagers. They were the largest single group of buyers in the survey."

The last single, Free As A Bird, which like Real Love contained unreleased material from John Lennon, reached number two last Christmas and was played by Radio One.

The track, which was released on Monday, contains Lennon's taped vocals from 1979 given to Paul McCartney in 1994 by Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and is taken from a new anthology of Beatles material.

But Radio One has been striving to win a younger audience under controller Matthew Bannister.

A BBC spokesman said: "We haven't banned the record. We are a contemporary music station and each week there are 250 new releases.

"Each record is chosen for its own merit ... It's not an ageist decision. Sting is on the playlist."

Earlier this month Radio One faced a lawsuit from ageing rockers Status Quo, who have sued the station for not playing their chart hits.

However, there was better news for the Beatles last night. The more sedate Radio Two has decided to put Real Love on its playlist.

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