February 06, 2006
I Can't Get No [bleep]

Pardon my French, but WTF?


They may not have flashed any body parts — except for Mick Jagger’s well-toned stomach — but the Rolling Stones made ABC glad editors were on duty for the Super Bowl halftime show.

Two sexually explicit lyrics were excised from the rock legends’ performance Sunday. The only song to avoid the editor was "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction," a 41-year-old song about sexual frustration.

In "Start Me Up," the show’s editors silenced one word, a reference to a woman’s sexual sway over a dead man. The lyrics for "Rough Justice" included a synonym for rooster that the network also deemed worth cutting out.


So "Start Me Up", the erstwhile theme song for Windows 95 and such a vital component of the Classic Rock radio format that I'd bet it's playing right now on a Clear Channel station somewhere in the US, is suddenly too risque for halftime? It took me a few minutes to even realize what lyric the story refers to. I didn't get to see halftime due to my travels, but this is silly. If the Stones are acceptable to the live audience, they're acceptable to the people at home. Either let them do their thing without interference, or have the guts to refuse to show them at all and suffer the blowback from that. ABC should be ashamed of itself.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2006 to Music | TrackBack
Comments

Hrm... let me ponder this a moment...

The live audience paid to get to that venue.

The networks are not paying for the spectrum, and the audience is not paying for the brodcast.

What if a player lays out a string of f-bombs at the crowd? Carry it? Don't?

Posted by: Laurence Simon on February 6, 2006 8:53 AM

Sorry, I grew up in the cable era. I couldn't give a rat's ass about language or sex on TV.

Or 'Broadcast'. Geez, will they just give up?

Posted by: Michael on February 6, 2006 9:28 AM

What's even more interesting about "Start Me Up" is that the so-called offensive lyric is not sung until the very end of the song, during the fade-out.

"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" avoided the editor even though legend has it that the third verse is about a woman having her period. ("Baby, better come back, maybe next week, 'cause you see I'm on a losing streak").

On a related note, that's nothing compared to Ed Sullivan making the group change the lyrics to "Let's Spend the Night Together" to "Let's Spend Some Time Together".

Look at it this way, if the Stones wanted to really have some fun, they could have done "Sweet Virginia". I remember being in Montreal for a concert, and I know that people that didn't speak a word of English were singing the chorus. ("Got to scrape that **** right off your shoes").

Posted by: William Hughes on February 6, 2006 9:29 AM

The problem isn't with tape delaying it. Clearly, f-bombs would be outside the normal standard of what's allowed and should be censored.

However, censoring lyrics that contain innuendo seems a little heavy handed.

Here's the section from Rough Justice:

One time you were my baby chicken
Now youve grown into a fox
And once upon a time I was your little rooster
Am I just one of your cocks?

And from Start Me Up:

You, you, you make a grown man cry
You, you make a dead man come
You, you make a dead man come

Kuff's right. Start Me Up is played at nearly every sporting event in the US and on many radio stations, so is Rough Justice.

This is ABC being overly cautious because of a few groups who'll mobilize their members and inundate the FCC with complaints at the slightest provocation. Welcome to vocal minority rule.

Posted by: ttrentham on February 6, 2006 10:11 AM

(showing my age here)

I seem to recall that the Stones were, in fact, censored during a TV appearance (don't know if it was Sullivan or not) for the lyric, "... and I'm tryin' to make some girl.." in "Satisfaction." It was just fuzzed out, IIRC.

I was quite taken by the enormous irony -- both that it was the one song that was not a problem for the nets, and the idea that some 40 years on, that they were considered a comparatively safe choice for the halftime show.

Posted by: CrispyShot on February 6, 2006 12:36 PM

The real travesty in all this was how horribly off-key The Mick sounded. Lordamercy, that boy was a MESS on stage.

Posted by: COMM-D on February 6, 2006 5:06 PM

The networks are not paying for the spectrum....

And if they were paying for the spectrum, they could broadcast anything they wanted? Janet Jackson's nipple - hell, her whole naked body - would suddenly be acceptable just because money changed hands? I'm pretty libertine, but I can't see how "paying for the spectrum" should change anything.

Ttrentham has it right. The question isn't whether the networks should be censoring anything at all. It's a question of where they draw the line and why. And I couldn't help but notice that even MSNBC - which is only on cable and Internet, not broadcast - felt the need to be coy about exactly what the "offensive" lyrics were.

The real travesty in all this was how horribly off-key The Mick sounded.

I'm not sure of his exact age, but he's gotta be pushin' 60. Interestingly, there's a technology available now that can "correct" off-key singing. It's used in those karaoke booths, where you can make a record of yourself singing a hit tune. I wonder if some of these older bands should consider it for live performances?

Posted by: Mathwiz on February 7, 2006 10:58 AM