Radio censoring songs

Two times in the past week, I have heard songs on the radio that were, in my opinion, unnecessarily censored on a adult/contemporary station.

Weezer’s *Beverly Hills *- They censored out “crap”. So now Rivers just sings, "My automobile is a piece of ------- "

Really? You can’t say “crap”?

Then yesterday, I heard *Smooth Criminal *by Micheal Jackson and they edited out “criminal”!!! So it was, “you’ve been struck by a smooth ------”.

Come on now! Really?

What is going on with the world that any negative type word is bad now? Any other examples of crazy censorship you’ve heard?

The second one is almost funny enough to have been done as a joke. Almost. (But if it was a joke, I’d expect them to try to get more mileage out of it than two words in two songs.)

I think that many classic recordings were censored long ago, and the censored version is the one that is distributed, probably without annotation about that. It’s unlikely that a radio music distribution company would return to the original without a compelling reason. So the same bowdlerized version gets repeated indefinitely.

Way back when, stations didn’t allow “the crap” in Paul Simon’s *Kodachrome *- when I heard it unadulterated for the first time, I suddenly understood why the rhythm seemed off in the line “When I think back to all I learned in high school.”

My daughter was a middle-schooler in the last of the 90s, and I chaperoned a couple of her school dances. It was kinda funny hearing some songs that were so redacted, they made no sense at all! There would be random silences, because I guess they couldn’t just erase the lyrics - the music had to go, too.

I think it is lame when references to alcohol are removed or changed. Two that I heard recently:

Uptown Funk:
“Fill my cup put some [del]liquor[/del] water in it”

I Put Your Picture Away:
“Been fueling up on [del]cocaine and whiskey[/del]
Wish I had a good girl to miss me”

And an older one that always made me laugh is when Teenage Dirtbag is edited to remove “gun” but they leave “dick” in the same sentence
“Her boyfriend’s a dick, he brings a [del]gun[/del] to school”

Radio stations don’t censor songs. They buy music that’s already censored. So blame the censors, not the stations. MTV might be different (or might have been, back when they aired music videos).

I certainly remember being annoyed at MTV and local radio stations censoring the word “gun”. Especially when I could turn to a kid’s channel and watch Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck getting their faces shot off by Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam.

For ages there’s been an edited version of Van Morrison’s, “Brown Eyed Girl,” that subs Making love in the green grass with a repeat of Laughing and a-running, hey, hey, from the first verse. :confused:

Steve Miller’s, “Rock’n Me.” Not sure if, Funky shit goin’ down in the city was edited to Funky kicks, or if Miller recorded a more radio-friendly version.

Pink Floyd’s, “Money,” used to have bullshit edited out of Don’t give me that do-goody-good… .

I happen to have been privileged to do the lead sheet for that song to copyright before the LP was released. Miller recorded two versions at the same time because I got both versions. I can’t remember which lyrics I wrote down (maybe both), but I suspect he was aware of the potential problem and prepared for it in advance.

:smack::smack: Wrong title–should have been, “Jet Airliner.” :smack::smack:

(Don’t tell anyone; our little secret.)

Yeah, but it didn’t matter in my post. I was given the entire Miller LP to write lead sheets from. I do remember questioning the Rock 'N Me title. It was common that I got hand-written lyric sheets and title listings, and not unusual for a title to be scribbled down and changed later.

IIRC, that album had some synthesizer-only tunes that sounded more like effects than songs, but the publisher wanted to copyright everything as separately as possible for royalty payment enhancements, so I bravely wrote down what was played in the best notation I could manage. Nobody questioned it – what did they know?

Regardless of who censored it, that’s not the point, I just wonder why words like those are considered bad nowadays.

‘I’m so [del]high[/del] at the moment’ in the radio version of this really confused me. First time I heard it, I really could not figure out what naughty word could possibly be in that sentence.

R. Dean Taylor’s “Indiana Wants Me” had two censured versions. One to remove the police sirens from the beginning of the song as some markets (Indiana included, and ironically I say when Indiana doesn’t want Indiana wants me) complained drivers listening in car radios mistook it for real police sirens. Other radio stations received a version which removed the gunfire at the end of the song which implied the death of the narrator.

I recall hearing this in the context of Indiana banning Louie Louie (by then Governor Welsh) from being played at all.

That one would probably be more likely to be censored now, for “sensitivity” rather than “obscenity”

What gets me is the people who are most likely to be listening to the censored song in question are the least likely to be offended by what’s in it. So who are the censors protecting? They nipped one or two words out of Everlast’s Ends. Totally changed the tone of the piece, maybe even made it suitable for Disney. Not. Why do they even bother?

I thought that they picked up the “kicks” from an earlier verse, but a quick scan of the lyrics says no. One guy said his band would sing “Big old wet vagina” just to see if anybody caught it.

The “pull the word from the earlier verse” trick was done, however on Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” in which the line “has got him by the balls” had “balls” replaced with “fun” from the line “in bed and having fun”.

Yet strangely, The Who song “Who Are You” never gets censored when he yells, “Who the fuck are you?” I’ve read they did record a version that substitutes “hell”, but I’ve never heard it.

The UK has a thing about product placement, so they censor songs. Most famous is the Kinks song “Lola.” The mono version says the champagne tastes like Cherry Cola, and that is what got sent to radio stations, and the stereo version says Coca-Cola.

Came here to mention that. Radio (or I guess Pandora or something) gets played at my workplace and that one comes on with some frequency while other songs are censored.

Yabbut if there are censored and uncensored versions, it’s the station management that decides which to buy/use.

For instance, censorship of ‘goddamn’ exists but is hardly universal. I’ve heard Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” both ways (“now I’m an amputee, goddamn you”), ditto Panic! at the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (“Haven’t you ever heard of closing the goddamn door?”).

In the latter example, the line comes up SIX TIMES during the song, which makes the bleeping incredibly annoying. (Note to radio stations: when the bleeping reaches that level, either play it for real, or don’t play it at all, goddamn it!)

Anyhow, my point is, this is a choice that the radio station ownership/management makes. They can buy these songs with the goddamns in, or with them bleeped out.

Like a literal, old-fashioned bleep? Typically what I hear these days in censored songs is either the word being completely dropped out, replaced by some type of musically appropriate sound (like a record scratch or guitar noise or something), or subbed in with another word in the song a la what TV edits of movies do. Obviously, in your case, the radio station must have the unedited version and are bleeping it themselves, but I’ve not heard that.