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Rod Stewart says BBC banned him from singing 'anti-English' song inspired by Easter Rising

Rod Stewart claims the BBC stopped him him from singing 'Grace', about the prison wedding of Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford 

ROD Stewart has claimed he was banned by the BBC from performing the Irish ballad 'Grace' on Chris Evans' Breakfast Show as it was 'anti-English'.

The song is the true story of childhood sweethearts, 1916 Easter Rising rebel Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford, who were married in Kilmainham jail in Dublin shortly before his execution.

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

"It's not really an IRA song and was written in the 80s. Forget about it, it's one of the greatest love songs ever written."

The veteran singer first heard the ballad being sung by Celtic fans, which he says inspired him to do the cover.

Last Friday he played a live acoustic set on the Chris Evans ' show and says he was prevented from singing it.

"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. I went over to Dublin and did my homework.I visited the jail (Kilmainham, now a museum) and went into the chapel where it all happened.So it means a lot to me, that one, it really does."

Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett were married in Kilmainham jail in Dublin shortly before his execution for his part in the 1916 Rising

But bosses at the BBC have hit back at Stewart, saying he was not banned from performing the tune from his new album Blood Red Roses.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: "This story is categorically untrue. No songs are banned on the BBC. We do not ban songs on the BBC."

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