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OUTTAKES THE SEQUEL

A Name in Vain

November 22, 1987|Patrick Goldstein

The Jesus and Mary Chain may be one of England's most critically acclaimed young rock bands. But all the good reviews in the world didn't stop CBS-TV from nixing the group's Friday video appearance on "Top of the Pops," the BBC concert series that airs here at 11:30 p.m. on KCBS.

The sin? Its name didn't pass muster with the Program Practices Dept. "We're very sensitive to names that could be perceived as being irreverent or insulting to someone's religious beliefs," explained a CBS spokeswoman.

Band manager Jerry Jaffe griped: "I was really shocked. I thought this was 1987. We tried to compromise by suggesting at least four other variations on the name, including the ---------- and ---------- Chain and the J and Mary Chain. But the network rejected all of them. They wanted us to be the J and M Chain, which sounds like a discount shoe chain. We eventually told them it was our name or nothing, so we've refused to let them air our clip."

The surprise here is that it wasn't the network that turned down the revised monikers, but "Top of the Pops" itself, which appeared to endorse the network's decision. A key exec at the show insisted that "Pops" had "no problems" with satisfying CBS by finding a new nickname for the band. "We didn't like the versions that the group suggested," the exec said. "But we're trying to come up with a compromise that will make everyone happy."

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