BBC in "oldies" row over ban on Beatles single

LONDON, March 8 (Reuter) - Imagine this! The Beatles can't get airtime on the biggest pop music station in Britain.

"Real Love", the new single by the most famous group in pop history, has been omitted from the playlist at the BBC's Radio 1 station which is trying to attract more younger listeners.

Beatles fans are up in arms, accusing the station of being "ageist". Conservative member of parliament Harry Greenway plans to bring the issue up for debate in the House of Commons.

"This is a form of censorship, nothing less, and a stop should be put to it without delay," Greenway said.

A Radio 1 spokesman said the song was not chosen because it lacked merit. "It's not what our listeners want to hear," the spokesman said. "We are a contemporary music station."

The station is currently embroiled in a legal case with the group Status Quo, whose new single "Fun Fun Fun," recorded with the Beach Boys, was also banned from the Radio 1 playlist.

"The station is being ageist," Status Quo singer Francis Rossi said on Friday.

"Real Love" features all four original Beatles, with the three survivors singing over a tape made of the late John Lennon singing before his murder in 1980.

Another recording released last year with vocals by the dead Lennon, "Free as a Bird," climbed to number two in the charts. Radio 1 was the first station to premiere "Free as a Bird" which was accompanied by an album "Anthology".

A spokesman for the group said he feared that Real Love, already high in charts compiled by other radio stations, would be stopped from making further progress by the Radio 1 ban.

"It's ridiculous," the spokesman said. "It's not as if the Beatles don't appeal to Radio 1's younger audience - more than 40 percent of the people who bought the first Anthology album were teenagers."

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