Melody Maker

Originally Published: December 08, 1973

Government threat to Stones, Alice

An anti-censorship committee has been set up to fight the new pornography bill which, they claim, threatens the freedom of rock musicians.

They fear the bill will be used against rock groups with the result that companies producing album covers which could be obscene under the terms of the bill, will be in trouble.

The committee has been set up by the National Council of Civil Liberties who will try and get the bill varied to protect freedom on record sleeves.

Committee member, David Godin said: "On the face of it the bill is aimed at closing private cinema clubs and pornographic material in book shops, but it embraces everything that the public are liable to come

"Under the terms of the bill the police would only have to go into a record shop and seize the record sleeves of, say, an Alice Cooper album, and the shop could be prosecuted."

The Rolling Stones album "Sticky Fingers" was an example of a sleeve which might run into trouble under the Bill, he said.

The Cinematograph and Indecent Displays Bill has now had its second reading and is in the committee stage in the House of Commons. Godin thinks it is being passed without people realizing its possible significance.

One album cover which ran into trouble was Caravan’s "For Girls Who Grow Plump Into The Night" on Dream.

Charles Webster of Decca said: "W. H. Smiths would not have carried it if it went out with a naked lady. A certain amount of moral judgment comes into this. If we think a dealer is unlikely to stock something we take a straight attitude towards it.

"It’s the music that counts however beautiful the sleeve is. We don’t go out of our way to be sensational anyway."

Lon Goddard of CBS said the terms of the Bill must be particularly strong if record companies were put at risk of prosecution for their sleeves.