This Day in 1987: The Jesus and Mary Chain get booted off American TV

Monday, December 5, 2016
This Day in 1987: The Jesus and Mary Chain get booted off American TV

29 years ago today, The Jesus and Mary Chain took a pass on a chance at gaining a slightly larger American fanbase because they refused to concede to a demand by CBS.

Unless you were an obsessive Anglophile in the ‘80s, you may not have realized that there was a brief window when CBS decided to air an American version of the classic British music series Top of the Pops, but indeed they did. Unfortunately, when the producers of TOTP U.S. wanted to run a video by The Jesus and Mary Chain on the show in 1987, the network’s Standards and Practices department balked at the idea of airing a video by a band with a name that had the potential to cause Mr. and Mrs. America to lose their minds.

As such, CBS entered into conversation with the boys in the band about possible solutions to the potentially inflammatory situation, pitching the idea that The Jesus and Mary Chain could instead be introduced to America as – wait for it – The J and M Chain. Craig Rosen of the Los Angeles Daily News said that the band’s response was that this alternative made them sound “like a discount shoe store,” and to precisely no one’s surprise, the band opted against making the change. In turn, CBS opted again airing the band’s video.

What was the video? Funnily enough, that’s the bit that never seems to make it into any reminiscences and recollections about the incident, but we’re going to take a guess and say that it was most likely “Just Like Honey,” since that was the biggest hit from the band’s debut album, PSYCHOCANDY.

As for the Reid brothers, they clearly didn’t lose any sleep over the situation, nor should they have: in the long run, the Jesus and Mary Chain probably got more press as a result of their video not being allowed on the program than they ever would’ve gotten if it had aired.