I’m listening to Speakerboxxx (yeah, I’m just a little obssessed with it right now) and think that Rose would be a big hit on Top 40 radio, except that I can’t think that a top 40 station would play it. The word “shit” in the chorus could be bleeped, but that extended riff on the “crazy bitch” towards the end is a little over the top. It reminded me of other songs that could have been great singles, but excluded themselves because of language.
Prince’s Sexy Motherfucker and anything by Millie Jackson.
What other songs do you think could have been hit singles if it wasn’t for that special something that kept if off the radio?
Spirit’s Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus has several songs that would have been great hit singles – “Animal Zoo,” and “Mr. Skin,” most clearly – but the record company chose to release “Nature’s Way” – a song about death – as the single.
Emitt Rhodes first album was filled with hit singles, but his record company never got their act together to release anything from it.
“Blackest Eyes” from Porcupine Tree’s In Absentia. Thought it would work well for both AOR and alternative radio, but nope, the label didn’t release it as a single. “Strip the Soul” was released as a single (I think) but I’ve never heard it on th radio.
Some songs get radio play even WITH the swear words: Nine Inch Nails’ “Animal” has the chorus, “I wanna fuck you like an animal,” which gets bleeped, but it got plenty of radio play. Also, The Who’s “Who Are You?” has the line “who the fuck are you?” which I’ve never even heard bleeped.
What makes some songs too offensive for radio and others not? I bet “Roses” could get airplay, and it may yet.
The words “Shit” or “Fuck” (or any of the variants of these words) in the song title could make radio airplay problematic; the profanities in the lyrics could be excised or bleeped, but the DJs would have a difficult time reciting the title without getting in trouble with the FAA.
How about “Pussy,” by Lords of Acid? Another candidate from Prince: “Erotic City.” The chorus uses the word “fuck” more than once.
I actually heard a song by Godsmack (their first big hit, can’t remember the title) where the lead singer sings “Now fucking go away” played unbleeped on the radio. It actually happened twice in one week. I was in Columbus, Ohio at the time.
Bleeping makes songs sound strange. Buckcherry’s “Lit Up,” Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A. . . .” and Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” are all usually bleeped so much they don’t make a lot of sense. MTV edited out every drug reference in Buckcherry’s video, which, (since the song is about taking/dealing cocaine) made it completely incomprehensible.
Can anyone tell me whether If I Could Talk I’d Tell You by the Lemonheads was a commercially successful song? I heard it for the first time quite recently, and it struck me as odd that I never heard it before, it’s a hell of a catchy song.
(Although to be fair it does contain puns about Mein Kampf and genocide.)
I listened to New York’s WCBS-FM and they played “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits. Guess censorship is loosened, because they played “The little faggot” verse in it. They must play that verse; for it clearly shows that the song is a third person’s monologue.
XTC has had more potential hits than Carter’s got liver pills, yet only 2, “Generals and Majors” and “Dear God”, have gotten any decent commercial airplay. For a band that’s been recording since 1978 that’s kind of, well, sad. Sad on the part of radio programmers that is. I think part of the problem is that sometimes Andy Partridge doesn’t know when to end a song; many of them, even the catchiest ones like “Towers of London” or “Helicopter”, go on much longer than they really need to when they would be better serviced by some brevity.
Actually, from what I watched on M2 a couple of days ago, Pepper was a really big hit, and their only one. But “Shame Of Life” gets air play too on the radio. OTOH, I listen to independently owned radio stations (not college ones, though) so they might be more inclined to play “questionable” songs - not that Shame uses foul language. Futhermore the video for “Who was in my room last night?” used to be played frequently on MTV itself 10 years ago.
When I think of songs that could have been big if not for the FCC I think of all the non-singles off of RHCP’s Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik. “Sir Psycho Sexy” would have been a big hit, I can feel it.