What was the earliest published song with the f-word?

Yesterday while I was out mowing my MP3 player shuffled onto a Marylin Manson cover of “Working Class Hero.” I wasn’t familiar with the song and figured it was a cover, and traced it back with John Lennon in 1970. Great song, and quite a departure from The Beatles. So that got me wondering, if they’re saying “fuck” in 1970, are there songs before that?

For me the first song I ever heard “fuck” in was on Guns and Roses “Appetite for Destruction.” And it was in a funny way sort of a life-altering moment, I thought “Wow, they can get away with that?”

I can’t think of any off the top of my head from before 1970, so this is a pretty bad answer. However, I remember the Who song, Who Are You, there were two versions (we called them the AM version and the FM version, since the tamer version was played on AM radio), one where the singer says “Who the F-word are you?” and the other where he says “Who the hell are you?”

Similarly, the Devil Went Down to Georgia had two version, “I told you once, you son-of-a-bitch/gun” being the operative difference.

Who was that guy who did “I’m a Wanker” – George something? I imagine he had some f-words in his songs. Tom Lehrer, perhaps, as well?


Well, Jefferson Airplane used the phrase “Up against the wall, mother-fuckers” on 1969’s Volunteers. MC5 used the compound word on their 1969 album Kick Out The Jams as well.

Excellent, we’re back to at least 1969. “Kick out the Jams” was another song I only knew from the cover by Rage Against the Machine.

The Jefferson Airplane song with that phrase was “We Can Be Together”, not familiar with that one.

*We are forces of chaos and anarchy
Everything they say we are we are
And we are very
Proud of ourselves
Up against the wall
Up against the wall motherfucker *

An excellent statement of that particular point of view. Catchy tune, passionate lyrics, stunning vocals.

The “Fish” Cheer from Country Joe and the Fish was first recorded in 1965 as the intro for their song “I Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Rag.” . Originally, it spelled out F-I-S-H, but it used F-U-C-K on the Woodstock soundtrack IN 1969.

Pearls Before Swine included the message “…-. …_ -.-. -.-” in “(Oh Dear) Miss Morse” in 1967. :smiley:

I bring this up every time a thread like this appears:

Lucille Bogan’s unexpurgated version of “Shave 'Em Dry” was recorded in March of 1935, and contains the following lyrics:

That’s just the, errr, tip, of the iceberg in this song.

OK, I don’t think this quite qualifies. But on “The End” by the Doors (1967), the officially released version includes the line “Mother, I want to FFFFFFWWWWWWWWAAAAAALLLLLGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH…” It was pretty obvious what Morrison was saying. Also, I have read on tha Internetz that, in the mono version, following that line, you can just barely hear Morrison chanting the word.

He definitely said it in concert. It got the band kicked off stage by the owner of the club (the Whisky?).

That’s quite a song! :smiley:

On the final verse of the stereo album version of “I Fought the Law” by The Bobby Fuller Four, Bobby sings “I miss my baby and a good fuck.”

On the mono hit single version, he more clearly articulates “I miss my baby and the good fun.”

This has all the makings of one of those rock ‘n’ roll urban legends, but in fact Bobby’s brother Randy, a member of the Four, was in the studio at the time the song was recorded (1966) and confirms this story.

According to Randy, Bobby sang it that way with intent.

Yeah, it is!

You can download the unexpurgated version of “Shave 'em Dry” from eMusic.

It definitely leaves nothing to the imagination.

The Doors catalog was remixed a couple of years ago; the new version has the “fuck” chanting audible.

Check out these Various Artist compilations loaded with old dirty blues, rock and roll, and country songs from the 50s and 60s.

Raunchy Rock & Roll Volume 1, feat. “Hot Nuts” (Blackie Kidd), “Fuck Me Forever” (Connie Lingus), “Sit On My face” (The Echo’s), “It’s So Hard To Say I Love You, When Your Sitting On My Face” (Marty & the Muff-Tones), “Fuck Off” (The Dildos), “Did He Eat Your Titty” (The Perversions), “Bite It” (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins), “The Constipation Blues” (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins), “Baby Let Me Bang Your Box” (The Bangers), etc., etc.

Raunchy Rock & Roll Volume 2 More of the same.

If It Ain’t a Hit I’ll Eat My … Copy-and-pasted description: “X-rated 50’s R&B, Blues, some '60s, early ‘70s blues - 17 cuts, ALL ABOUT FUCKING! - it contains some of the most nasty, graphic material you’re ever likely to find on disc, including a few songs from surprising sources. The fairly clean-cut Clovers veer from their smoothly orchestrated rock/doo-wop formulae to deliver a raw, super-raunchy parody of “Darktown Strutter’s Ball”, and other tunes match the calibre of raunch, including some surprisingly raw material from the sleek crooner, Jackie Wilson, with LaVern Baker (“Think Twice”). And what to think of "Somebody Else Was Suckin’ My Dick Last Night” by Snatch & the Poontangs (actually this is Johnny Otis!), and “Long John / Short John” (by Dinah Washington!)?"

Zappa’s “Mother People” on 1967’s We’re Only in It for the Money contained the line “Shut your fucking mouth about the length of my hair.” But it was excised and recorded backwards in the run-out groove. The 1969 Uncle Meat album contained several instances of the word.
Some people claim that the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” begins with the count-in “One, two, three, fuck!,” but I think that’s just a case of hearing what you want to hear.

There’s also the Beatles backwards section on Sgt Pepper ie: “we’ll fuck you like supermen” which is another case of hearing what you want to hear.

And the live version of “Shout!” in which the second and third words of “Jump up an’ shout, now” are said to sound like “fuckin’.”

Or you can just listen to it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr6xjWEYGSs

I have amassed a huge collection of 20th Century pop music, so I can authoritively say people have been recording both the “f” word and subtle reference to the activity it stands for since recording began.
The first were early blues records. The previous poster was right: Lucille Bogan is first. I have two versions of "Shave “Em Dry” from 1935. She said it plain as day on the record.
If you don’t like going that far back, let’s consider the rock music when I was a teenager in the sixties. Yes, Jefferson Airplane sang “Up against the wall, Motherfucker.” I remember the album’s liner notes read “Up against the wall, Fred,” (Fred was code for the Establishment), so all us kids knew who Grace Slick and Crew were calling motherfuckers. The Fugs wanted their group name to be the “Fucks,” but Warner Brothers wouldn’t print it.

Jefferson Airplane’s album “Volunteers” (with the song “We Can Be Together” with the word “motherfucker” in it) was released late in '69, after Woodstock. When it comes to waging war on censorship of free speach, my personal hero is the late Frank Zappa. His Verve album, “Mothermania” was released in early 1969, before “Volunteers.” I was still 15 years old when I first heard the word “fuck” on a record. It was in a song called “Mother People” sung by Frank Zappa and the original Mothers of Invention. Here are the lyrics:

Do you think that my pants are too tight?
Do you think that I’m creepy?
Lemme take a minute & tell you my plan
Lemme take a minute & tell who I am
If it doesn’t show
Think you better know
I’m another person
Better look around before you say you don’t care
Shut your fuckin’ mouth about the length of my hair
How would you survive
If you were alive
Shitty little person?

We are the other people
We are the other people
We are the other people
You’re the other people too
Found a way to get to you"

Zappa did get to me. I never forgot.