In Brazil, during the military dictatorship of the 1960s and 1970s, there was quite a lot of censorship of the arts in general and music in particular. What got banned was mostly stuff with (real or imaginary) political, ‘revolutionary’ undertones, but overly 'sexy' stuff was also given a bit of a hard time. In the 1980s, when I was already more or less a thinking being, censorship had decreased considerably (technically, we had a non-elected military president until 1985, but it was nothing like the ferocious dictatorship of the 1970s), but many LPs were still sold with a sticker on the cover which said “Public broadcasting of song XXX forbidden”.
My parents had the 1984 album Profana by Gal Costa, and there I was leisurely enjoying the album on my own, when I see the infamous sticker: “Public broadcasting of ‘Vaca Profana’ forbidden”. Total panic sinks in, as I had been listening to the song full blast the whole day. What would happen to me, would they arrest me? This could have been my most rebellious act to date, overshadowing my presence (at age 5) at the meetings of the then-illegal Brazilian Communist Party and other political gatherings. I was quite surprised and relieved to hear from my mother when she got home that it was actually ‘no big deal’.
For some reason, the song, a Caetano Veloso composition, has been on my mind over the last couple of weeks, and I had to think of this episode. The song itself is very cool, with quite sophisticated lyrics (with an oft-cited line: "De perto ninguem e' normal" -- from up-close nobody is normal). The Gal Costa version is a bit over-produced, typical 1980s, but her vocals are very powerful. I’m posting here the infamous ‘forbidden’ version that gave me a scare back in 1984, and also Caetano Veloso’s own live version. (There is also a recent version by Caetano and Maria Gadu.)
Oh, and you want to know why it was deemed inappropriate for public broadcasting? Because it mentions the tits of the cow in question (the ‘profane cow’). I mean, really…