On December 15, 1977, The Sex Pistols were denied entry into the US two days before they were scheduled to appear on NBC's Saturday Night Live.
The offending foursome had angered the queen, their label, the public and were reportedly not granted visas because of Johnny Rotten's drug conviction, Paul Cook and Sid Vicious' 'moral turpitude' and Steve Jones' criminal record.
Elvis Costello, then 23, was asked to fill in for the punk British lads and it gave him the opportunity to air some of his own defiance. He took to the 30 Rock stage for his 2-song set and first played "Watching the Detective" from his newly released My Aim is True album.
For the second song, he launched into "Less Than Zero" as planned, but stopped 30 seconds into it, stating, "I'm sorry ladies and gentlemen, but there's no reason to do this song tonight."
Costello had been pressured into doing the angry song aimed at Facist leader Oswald Mosley by his record company, and instead he launched into one he had promised not to do, "Radio, Radio." The song, a scathing indictment of corporate-controlled broadcasting, got him banned from the show for 12 years by Loren Michaels.
Here Costello re-enacts the moment with the Beastie Boys: