Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ten more cases of dumbass song censorship

This will teach you for banning the original version.

I'm with the banned.

We recently found out that stale-dated Dire Straits is too racy for Canadian radio - but Mark Knopfler should take heart: his song is the latest in a long line that have been edited, bleeped, or banned altogether for being too political, violent, and dirty for our pristine, virgin ears.

If history teaches us one thing, it's that bans create an insatiable appetite for for the very thing that's being banned. Eat up!

1. Moxy Früvous - Stuck in the 90s (1994)

This goofy pop ditty was banned from Red River College's own CMOR (more a PA system than a radio station, to be honest) in 1994 for being "too political."

When told by a Projector reporter that the song had been removed from the station's playlist, band member Mike Ford reacted as expected: "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" A few weeks later, the band played the offending song at the Playhouse Theatre and dedicated it to Red River College. 

2. Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee (1959)

A song about Stagger Lee shooting fellow gambler Billy was deemed too violent for radio, so Price recorded a non-violent version in which no one was shot.

In 1996, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds made up for lost time, releasing an over-the-top, graphic and foul-mouthed version of the song - and released it as a single and video (above). The "motherfucker" count alone is off the charts.

3. Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen (1976)

Banned by the BBC for rhyming "queen" with "fascist regime" among other sins, the song rocketed to number two on the UK charts and forever gave the band and punk itself its aura of danger, credibility, and authenticity.

4. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl (1967)

It doesn't get any filthier than "making love in the green grass, behind the stadium," so Van changed it to the one we now all know and love - "laughin' and a-runnin', behind the stadium." Either way: great cardio.

5. Pink Floyd - Money (1973)

Harvest Records accidentally sent out the wrong single to radio stations who played it "as is" and were shocked - shocked! - to discover the song included the line, "Don't give me that goody-good bullshit."

One re-release later, we were treated to David Gilmour singing, "goody-good bull (blank!)," and we could all once again believe in the sanctity of human life.

6. Charlie Daniels Band - The Devil Went Down to Georgia (1979)

Hello, Devil, welcome to Hell.

Apparently, you're not even allowed to call the Devil himself a son of a bitch on the radio, as the Charlie Daniels Band found out. So back to the studio they went. In the revised version, they call out the Prince of Darkness with a decidedly wimpy, "son of a gun."

7. The Kingston Trio - Greenback Dollar (1963)

When the "damn" in "I don't give a damn about a greenback dollar" was deemed to be too hot for the radio, the word was blanked out, allowing listeners to substitute it with an even-better four-letter word of their choice.

8. The Mauds - Hold On (1968)

Close, but no cigar. 

A cover of the Sam and Dave hit, the Mauds were banned from Chicago radio until they changed the lyrics, "Hold on, I'm coming" to "Hold on, don't you worry, hold on, please."

Years later, the English Beat took the controversy and ran with it on their hit, Save it For Later, and the best pause in rock history, "Hold my hand while I a decision on it!"

9. Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath (1971)

One of the most famous censorship examples of all time. Chrysalis Records, upset with Jethro Tull for including the line, "Got him by the balls" in what was supposed to be a single, took matters into its own hands and spliced in the word "fun" from another of the band's songs - without the band's permission.

Ain't that a kick in the fun?  

10. The Swinging Medallions - Double Shot (of My Baby's Love) (1966)

When are swinging medallions just swinging medallions? Never, but no one noticed, thanks to this line in one of the band's songs: "She loved me so long and she loved me so hard, I finally passed out in her front yard."

So "loved" became "kissed," and the medallions were free to swing again.


  1. And let us not forget about the Red River Campus radio station, KICK-FM censoring radio talk show host Marty Gold for pointing out inaccurate reporting by the Winnipeg Free Press.

  2. I love Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds! Great cover.

  3. I remember when Sheryl Crowe and Kid Rock's song 'Picture' came out. On some stations (depending on the demographic) they bleeped out cocaine when Kid Rock sang "Fueling up on cocaine and whiskey."


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