Rod Stewart claims BBC banned him from singing Celtic tune

Sir Rod Stewart performing on the Graham Norton Show which was broadcast on Friday evening. Picture:: PA Images on behalf of So TV
Sir Rod Stewart performing on the Graham Norton Show which was broadcast on Friday evening. Picture:: PA Images on behalf of So TV
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SIR Rod Stewart has claimed the BBC banned him from singing the Irish rebel song Grace on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 on Friday morning.

The singer, who famously supports Celtic, told Billboard magazine the broadcaster had intervened because of the song’s “anti-English overtones”.

“They won’t let me sing “Grace” because of its Irish, anti-English overtones in the song,” the 73-year-old told Billboard.

“Forget about it, it’s one of the greatest love songs ever written. The guy goes to his death 15 minutes the next morning after he’s been married and I can’t sing that one either.”

Sir Rod revealed his interest in the ballad stemmed from hearing it sung on the terraces at Celtic Park.

He added: “Celtic is the football team I support, and Celtic was formed by an Irishman in Glasgow in 1888 to raise money for the Irish to come over after the Potato Famine, so I heard the Celtic supporters singing it about three years ago.”

The BBC have denied the accusation that they had banned Stewart from singing the song, labelling the claim as “categorically untrue”, adding: “No songs are banned on the BBC. All songs performed live on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show are agreed with the artist”.

Grace was written by Frank and Sean O’Meara in 1985. It has since become an Irish folk staple and has been covered by the likes of the Dubliners and the Wolfe Tones.

According to the Celtic Wiki, the song was popularised by fans’ group the Green Brigade, rising to prominence during the Hoops’ 3-3 home draw with Man City in September 2016.