The 1979 David Bowie song "Boys Keep Swinging" has the lines "When you're a boy/Other boys check you out" in the first chorus. When Bowie performed the song on Saturday Night Live later that year, censors muted that second line, and the vocal remains muted on the Season 5 DVD release. At least he got to perform the song — RCA chose not to release it as a single in the U.S. (also counts as Values Dissonance, as it was not subjected to this in the U.K.).
Some of the edits actually make the songs sound dirtier than before, like "Wrap it up / Can't stop 'cause it feels like it's really close" (Wrap it up / Can't stop 'cause it feels like a overdose," from Cascada's "Evacuate The Dancefloor") or make no sense in the context of the song, like "And you out when you ain't got anyone" ("And you wild when you ain't got nothin' on / haha," from B.o.B. and Bruno Mars' "Nothin' On You").
In the new Kids Bop 23, "Gangnam Style" was edited to change "Hey, sexy lady..." to "Hey, pretty lady..."
Averted possibly by accident on the same Kidz Bop "Gangnam Style" was on. In their cover of "50 Ways to Say Goodbye", they keep the word "crappy".
Like Kidz Bop, the soundtracks for the recent Alvin and the Chipmunks movie series change some lyrics to the songs they cover. For instance, the Chippette version of Single Ladies leaves out the lyrics in the middle of the song, Trouble removes references to drugs, and We'll Be Alright changes "Our middle fingers in the air" to "We wave our tails in the air".
Adele: "Rolling In The Deep" officially has a line that goes, "Go ahead and sell me out and I'll lay your ship bare." Except the "ship" sounds more like "shit" (which, knowing Adele, was probably the intended word in the first place.) In any case, when the song appears on radio, the possibly-offending word is played backwards, and when Adele sang it at the Grammys in 2012 she replaced "ship" with "stuff."
Bob Carlisle's album Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace) has a song called "It Is Well with My Soul" (not the hymn), that borrowed a few lines from a well-known James Brown song for the bridge. Problem: Carlisle's mostly Christian audience (at the time) likely wouldn't have appreciated the term "sex machine". So the lyric becomes: "Get up (get on up)/Stay on the scene/Aww, you know what I mean."
My furs is Mongolian, my ice brought the goalies in
Now I embody every characteristic of the egotistic
He know, he so, fuckin’ gifted
I just needed time alone, with my own thoughts
Got treasures in my mind but couldn’t open up my own vault
My childlike creativity, purity and honesty
Is honestly being prodded by these grown thoughts
Reality is catchin’ up with me
Takin’ my inner child, I’m fighting for it, custody
With these responsibilities that they entrusted me
As I look down at my dia-mond-encrusted piece"
Naturally, when Kanye West was chosen as the musical guest for the season 36 episode hosted by Bryan Cranston, the entire second verse had to be changed. One would expect the SNLTake That to be altered and some of the profanity to be replaced with euphemisms, but instead a completely new verse was written. The new second verse goes like this:
"The brown hero, live from Ground Zero
Machine gun flow, made her get a Ross Perot
And this is disestablishmentarianism
With my night goggles on, got military vision
And it’s still a very Christian way to think about livin’
When you prayin’ for freedom ’cause your mind been in prison
‘Cause they tryin’ to control every single big decision
You ain’t effin’ the system, then why the eff is you livin’?
Look, dawg, you can cop whatever suits you on
Three-piece, cuff links and the accoutrements
They been feedin’ us ish without the nutrients
So I’m back with another hit to let the truth be known
And your boy still fresh with the Gucci on
Them Italians sure know how to make what the moodies want
And they really can’t take what Doobie on
But I be on the same thing ’til you prove me wrong."
"Gold Digger" replaces "She ain't messin' with no broke niggas" to "She ain't messin' with no broke broke".
One really must wonder how Kanye and Jay-Z's song "Niggas in Paris" even made it onto the radio. The title alone should tell you how much editing went into this song.
Some stations edited the reggae-rap bridge from Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue", either because it was mildly suggestive ("Whoa-oh, whoa-oh, feelin' kinda sick / Just a spoonful of sugar make it better real quick"), because it was so bizarre sounding, or both.
Many also take out the part near the end in which Jennifer Nettles sings with Auto-Tune.
Averted in the Green Day album "21st Century Breakdown". Wal-Mart attempted to get Green Day to record a censored version of the album, as the store does not sell explicit albums. The band refused.
Canadian music video channel MuchMusic has a history of censoring references to suicide. While it is unsurprising that the word "suicide" was removed from Papa Roach's "Last Resort," more surprising was the removal of the word "resort", despite being part of the title! Guess the MuchMusic censors didn't like the expression "last resort" in association with suicide.
On a related note in the past, when they did outright ban a video, they aired it as part of a late-night special called Too Much 4 Much, which also featured panel discussions on why it should or should not have been banned.
"No News" by country music band Lonestar. "Joined a cult, joined the Klan" became "Playing guitar with the band".
"Alright Guy" by Todd Snider. In at least the official music video, the line "Now maybe I'm dirty, and maybe I smoke a little dope / Hey, it ain't like I'm goin' on TV and tearin' up pictures of the Pope" silenced the word "dope". Later on, "Hey, I was only kidding when I called them a couple of dicks" (which works as a Double Entendre, as "dick" used to mean a police officer or a police detective, and now means either "penis" or "someone who is mean or morally repugnant") reverses the word "dicks".
And when Gary Allan covered the song, the "pope" line was changed to "This one time for medicinal purposes, they forced me to smoke some dope / I'm pretty sure I can still be the President / But I don't think I'll ever get to be the Pope". Changing the second half is at least justifiable to remove the now-dated reference to Sinéad O'Connor's controversial performance on a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live (similarly, "that new book with pictures of Madonna naked" becomes "that old book"), but that first half is rather egregious. Even more strangely, Gary left the "dicks" line unchanged.
Rock and roll songs from the 1950s were considered menacing enough by the (non-teenage) audiences of the day note (mostly because rock and roll songs were sung by black people, meaning the so-called claims of rock and roll — or, as it was called back then, "race music" — being a bad influcence on the youth could just be a thinly-veiled excuse to cover up the fact that most people protesting rock music were, in fact, prejudiced against black people) that, for a while, Pat Boone was able to become very successful by recording bowdlerised covers of popular songs.
When Moby covered Mission Of Burma's "That's When I Reach For My Revolver", it was changed to "That's When I Realize It's Over" for MTV due to MTV's rules against mentioning anything associated with guns, gunfire, and gun violence (and, yes, that rule applies to most rap songs).
Some editions of The Lemonheads' It's A Shame About Ray change the title of "My Drug Buddy" to "Buddy". The lyrics receive no editing whatsoever though.
Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks held a contest on their website to determine how their single "Senator" would be bowdlerized: The original line was "what the senator wants is a blow job" and the winning entry was "what the senator wants is a corn dog".
Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow's "Picture": "I've been fueling up on cocaine and whiskey" is either changed to "water and whiskey", or just mutes "cocaine".
"Curse like a sailor/Drink like a mick/My only words of wisdom are/<RADIO EDIT>"
Speaking of that song, many stations blank out some or all of the second part of the line "lock me up and snort away my key", as well as the word "white"note as "white" in this context refers to semen in the phrase "I'mma paint his town red, then paint his wife white!"
Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" has all the gun references (mostly the words "bullet" and "gun") removed from radio edits and the rare times it appears on a music video channel.
The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Gimme The Loot" includes a line about robbing a pregnant woman at gun point. Apparently, this was considered beyond the pale by either album producer Sean Combs or someone at the record label, because even the otherwise uncensored version of the song still censors that line. It's somewhat bizarre to listen to a song that's full of cursing and violence and realize you've just heard the word "pregnant" bleeped out. "Machine Gun Funk" also Sound Effect Bleeps out the phrase "the blue suits" with police sirens for unknown reasons, though the line is so relatively innocuous that this might have even just been done because it sounded cool.
Nicki Minaj's "Superbass" is a victim of this. However, no two stations can seem to agree on what is and isn't acceptable to air on the radio, resulting in no two stations airing the same cut of the song. You might as well listen to the uncut version and save yourself the headache.
"Starships" had "We're higher than a mother fucker!" in its chorus, which actually went uncensored for a while, until stations began to catch on, blurring it out so the line sounds like, "We're higher than a (record scratch)!"
In Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup", the line "And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles / If you prefer drinkin' from glass" changes the word to "vegetables". The word "ass" is also censored in the next line, even though Toby notoriously said that word uncensored in "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue" 10 years prior.
Trace Adkins' "Rough & Ready" changes "'what are you lookin' at, asshole' smirk" to "'what are you lookin' at, pretty boy' smirk" and "That's a bitch, it makes me itch" to "It don't fit, it makes me itch" (in reference to a suit) on the radio edit.
The band Kick Axe contributed two songs to Transformers: The Movie - because executives deemed their band name inappropriate for young audiences, the soundtrack album credited them as Spectre General instead.
A radio edit for Panic! at the Disco's song "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" censored "god" but not "damn" from "goddamn" (a word frequently used in the song). In fact, the music video also lampshades the need to censor it by having Brendon Urie cover his mouth on "god".
Blake Shelton's "Drink on It" changes "Man, he sounds like such a prick" to "Man, I'd like to bust his lip".
A year later, "Boys 'Round Here" changed "don't take no shit" to "don't take no lip".
The radio edit of Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name removes the entire "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!" part and immediately cuts to the end. The cover in Guitar Hero 2 simply changes the lyrics to "Now you're under control, I won't do what you tell me!" and "UNDER CONTROLLLLLLL!!!".
After Lee Hazelwood threatened to sue them over their lyric changes, the only way Megadeth could include their cover of "These Boots" on subsequent releases of Killing is My Business... and Business is Good! was to censor every changed lyric, resulting in a remastered version with about half the words being bleeped out, which makes their version seem much filthier than it actually was.
NWOBHM band Tank have an odd subversion. The booklet in the 2005 reissue of Honour and Blood blatantly changes the lyrics of many of the songs to remove violent or controversial content. However, the actual audio remains unaltered aside from the remastering, leading to numerous situations where what the booklet says is clearly not what Algy is actually singing. While some of the changes may well be a case of the people making the booklet trying to write out the lyrics by ear instead of looking them up and ending up with a Mondegreen, others definitely seem to be deliberate, such as the removal of all references to Islam in "The War Drags Ever On" (which plays the "all Muslims are terrorists" card so hard that many people would be shocked to learn that it was written over a decade and a half before 9/11). For example, the lyrics for the first verse of the song are actually:
A war is raging that we don't understand
And I doubt that we can
There's no mistaking the mad sons of Islam
As they spill blood on the sand
A strange religion that destroys through the Koran
Freedom's lost in this land
Hades or Heaven, they're under its command
Whatever rights had a man
But according to the booklet, what he's singing should be heard as:
Another censored version played on radio simply blanks out that entire line.
For her song "Fuck You", the radio edit quite creatively censors all instances of the word "fuck" with various animal noises. They only appear after the initial "f-" sound, so it's still quite clear what word's being censored.
Oddly, the lyric sheet to the self-titled album by OKGO has a line in "Don't Ask Me" listed as "Don't waste my blasted time" instead of "Don't waste my fucking time". The actual song isn't censored though.
OKGO have covered "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello live - instead of singing it's one N-Word Privileges-averting section ("All it takes is one itchy trigger / one more widow, one less white nigger"), they repeat a line from a previous verse ("If you're out of luck or out of work / we can take you to Johannesburg")
Invoked in the video for Raghav's "Top Of The World", in which he covers his mouth in the line "you would think that I'm fucked, but I'm not" (the offending word is blurbed out as well, and only the edited version is available on iTunes).
"We go burn this shit down" is also blurbed in "Fire".
3OH3's "Don't Trust Me" originally had the line "don't trust a ho" in the chorus, which became something like "don't trust her".
"I'm a vegetarian and I'm not fucking scared of him" also becomes "I'm a vegetarian and I'm not [DRUMBEAT] scared of him".
The radio version of House of Pain's "Jump Around" is heavily censored due to the large amount of expletives and violence references; e.g. "If your bitch steps up I'm smackin' the ho" becomes "If your girl steps up I'm smackin' her" note though the edited line still implies violence against women, whether or not said woman is called a "girl" or a "bitch" and many words or phrases were silenced.
The chorus of Black Grape's "Kelly's Heroes" was originally written as "Don't talk to me about heroes / most of these men snort cocaine" - it ultimately got recorded as "Don't talk to me about heroes / most of these men sing like serfs"note originally it was going to be "most of these men sing like Smurfs", but was changed for legal reasons. The band sang "most of these men snort cocaine" whenever they played it live, even on television performances where this was censored via cutting out audio anyway.
Again invoked in the video for the clean version of Marianas Trench's "Desperate Measures", in which Josh Ramsay covers his mouth in the blurbed portion of the line "payback is a motherfucker".
The music video version of Kanye West's "All Falls Down" censors "white" in the line "And a white man get paid off of all of that" due to racist connotations.
Some radio edits of Korn's "Here To Stay" replace the lyric "This shit's gone way too far" with "This crap's gone way too far".
When "A.D.I.D.A.S." was released as a single, the radio edit changed "all day I dream about fucking" to "all day I dream about humpin'".
When Weezer covered Green Day's "Worry Rock" for a tribute album, they changed the line "fucked without a kiss again" to "hugged without a kiss again". Their cover wasn't released as a single, so this was apparently just an issue of the band themselves not wanting to use that kind of language.
The radio edit of White Zombie's "More Human Than Human" plays all the swears in reverse.
The radio edit of Boom Boom Pow replaces the swear words with jittered versions of the words said previously, or replaces them with new words entirely.
Whenever Busted's Thunderbirds Are Go was played on the Big Toe Radio Show on BBC7 in the UK, the first 2 lines of the second verse were cut out, presumably to remove the word "ass".
Early pressings of The Doors' self-titled debut omits the phrase "high" from "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" and Morrison's Cluster F-Bomb from "The End". Subverted during their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which, like the Rolling Stones example above, tried to alter the lyrics to "Light My Fire" - specifically the "girl we couldn't get much higher" line. The band refused and kept the line intact, leading Sullivan to sever the deal for the Doors to perform on the show again.
The concert film Larger Than Life was released with the intention of being all-ages friendly, in spite of the fact that one of the songs performed by Gogol Bordello in the film is "Think Locally Fuck Globally." In addition to being part of the title, the word "fuck" is featured heavily in the lyrics. This leads to awkward moments when the band members are clearly saying something but there's no sound coming out (not even a bleep). Even more confusing is that the song is one of two chosen from what was clearly a full set performed by the band. Why didn't the editors simply choose to include a different song?
Bad Ronald's single "Let's Begin" had several lines censored or altered in the radio edit. "Smoke good weed get a long lasting high" became "Smoke good trees get a long lasting vibe"note not much of an improvement since "trees" and "weed" are euphemisms for marijuana — and "vibe" means the same thing as "high", "pass the shit around" became "pass it around", and a line about "lickin' Larry's johnson" was cut off after "lickin'". The chorus also had an incidence of 'weed' changed to 'trees', and shortened 'shit' to 'shh'.
The version of "My Old Kentucky Home" sung at the Kentucky Derby changes "darkies" to "people". Either way, the lyrics "the darkies/people are gay" still sounds funny to modern ears.
Subverted by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Rather than change references to "Ol' Massa whippin' the darkies" in "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," the legislature retired the old state song and held a contest for a new one.
The Cole Porter song "I Get a Kick Out of You" is commonly performed in one of two Bowdlerised versions, which remove the reference to cocaine and replace it with "perfume from Spain" or "a bop-type refrain."
"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" is often sung using the standard edition with all the Double Entendres removed when not performed as part of Pal Joey. One would need to Bowdlerise far, far more than this song to make a clean version of Pal Joey, a feat which was accomplished in the film version.
The Rolling Stones had to record a special version of "Let's Spend The Night Together" to play it on BBC radio because it implied sex. The bowdlerised version was called "Let's Spend Some Time Together". They were also forced to play this version when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States, but Mick expressed his displeasure with this by rolling his eyes and giving the camera exaggerated looks of disgust while singing.
D12's Purple Pills, a song about drug use, was rewritten to Purple Hills, a song about travelling while engaging in drug use. ("Blue and yellow purple hills?" Yeah, they're high either way.)
After the 9/11 terror attacks, several songs that mentioned bombs and war were censored — among them was Electric Six's "Gay Bar", which included the lyrics, "Let's start a war, start a nuclear war!" In the United Kingdom, the offending words were replaced by the sound of whips cracking. In the American radio edit for alternative and college radio, however, the lyrics were replaced entirely with "Let's do an edit, do a radio edit!"
Rapper Styles P's song Good Times Pt. 2 (I Get High) has two versions, a milder version with slightly different lyrics that goes with the music video and the more explicit version on the CD (the drug use remains constant throughout both versions). The mild version is arguably of higher quality, as the hardcore version uses profanity and references to violence to sound 'gangster' but the music video version flows better with more assonance and consonance. (For example, "I get high 'cuz I ride, what's better to do/ and I'ma always stay live, 'cuz I'm better than you" rhymes better than replacing the second line with the explicit version's "and I never give a fuck, 'cuz I'm better than you".)
The Clear Channel version of What It's Like, by Everlast, replaces all "objectionable" words — including "Chrome '45"note which is a type of gun — with humorous sounds (well, the music execs probably find them humorous, at any rate).
Who else found the way they'd changed "Like cutting off his balls" to "Like cutting off his -" followed by the sound of a very loud pruning shears to be a lot more painful than the uncensored line?
He has also been known to cut-n-paste parts of songs to remove "offensive" material. The version of Dr. Hook's "Freaking at the Freaker's Ball" broadcast on the program, for instance, had the line "All the fags and the dykes are boogyin' together" electronically replaced with a copy of "White ones, black ones, yellow ones, red ones" from later in the song.
He also took out a brief snippet from "Ti Kwan Leep/Boot to the Head" where Ed Gruberman complains, "All this faggy stuff is starting to piss me off!"
The funniest Dr. Demento version is Frank Zappa's "Titties and Beer," in which most of the song is bleeped out, including the title, which Dr. D introduces as "Beepers and Beer." This hasn't kept the song from being a perennial Funny Five favorite.
The song "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails is a complete subversion. Aside from removing the word "fuck" 4 times, the song is left completely unedited when played on the radio. This may be because most Moral Guardians are scared shitless of Trent Reznor. There is an occasionally aired version that also cuts out "penetrate" (as in "you let me penetrate you"), though evidently "violate you" and "desecrate you" are still okay.
Tool's "Stinkfist" has no individual profane words in it, but it is frequently referred to as "Track #1". The line "finger/knuckle/elbow/shoulder deep within the borderline" is also often edited to remove the body part.
And of course, there are the Black-Eyed Peas changing "Let's Get Retarded" to "Let's Get it Started" for radio play. This is an interesting example, as the most heard version seems to be the censored version, so much so that you can find many people that don't even know there's different lyrics. This wasn't an uncommon occurance at the height of the song's place in the public consciousness either. The "clean" version has almost Covered Up the original by the same artist.
The popular song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Charlie Daniels has the final line where Johnny says "I told you once, you son-of-a-bitch, I'm the best there ever been." On the radio it usually plays as "son-of-a-gun." Not too noticeable considering the song is otherwise clean.
Even better, when this song was put in Guitar Hero III, it was censored... even though the official soundtrack CD has the line as "son of a bitch".
This particular edit seems to completely change the tone of the song. "Son of a Bitch" in the correct tone shows complete contempt, but no matter how you say "Son of a Gun", there's a feeling of affectation in it.
Then there's Charlie's song "Long Haired Country Boy" where the line "but I will take another toke" is replaced by "but I will tell another joke".
Charlie Daniels bowdlerized many of his own songs after becoming a born-again Christian.
Radio Disney edits many of the songs they play. Some of the edits are rewrites, and others have lines completely removed. One example: Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away" had the line "So before you point your finger, Get your hands off of my trigger" removed as well as an entire verse between the last two choruses for sexual connotations.
So did Allstar Weekend's "Not Your Birthday" when played there: "Quit your bitching" was changed to "Stop complaining."
In the same song, "Before the drinks are gone" was changed to "Before the night is gone," and "Nobody gives a damn" was changed to "Nobody really cares."
Destinys Child's "Jumpin' Jumpin'" changed from a song about clubbing at 11:30 PM to a song about partying at 5:00 PM.
The original second verse of Hot Chelle Rae's "Tonight Tonight" describes waking up from a hangover with a strange tattoo which he doesn't know how he got, that "kinda looks just like you/mixed with Zach Galifianakis". The Radio Disney Edit has it so the narrator is on a plane with a pilot looking "just like you/Zach Galifianakis" instead. Interestingly, "my girlfriend went & cheated on me" from the song's beginning is left intact.
Selena Gomez' "Hit The Lights" has two separate verses ending in with Precision D Strikes. The edited version replaces "too damn scared to fly" and "too damn scared to try" with "toooooo...scared to try/fly".
In the Radio Disney version of Ashley Tisdale's "He Said She Said," the lyrics "Baby I can see us movin' like that (like that)/Baby I can see us touchin' like that (like that)/Baby I can see us kissin' like that (like that)" become "Baby I can see us bein' like that, (like that)/Baby I can see us dancin' like that (like that)/Baby I can see us chillin' like that (like that)."
And though the girl the boy falls for in the same song remains "so Jessica Alba fantastic," she goes from "blowin' your mind with her asset" to having "got everything, you can't pass it."
In the Radio Disney edit of P!nk's song "Get the Party Started", the line "I'll be burning rubber, you'll be kissing my ass" is removed (whereas other radio edits would replace "kissing my ass" with "watching me pass" or cover "ass" with a Sound Effect Bleepnote like a car horn or the sound of tires screeching as a car peels out into traffic or a computerized voice saying, "Radio Edit").
When the Eels album Daisies Of The Galaxy was released, Dream Works Records requested they record bowdlerized lyrics to "It's a Motherfucker" for an edited version of the album to be sold at Wal-Mart. E complied, in a tongue in cheek Writer Revolt sort of way, by changing it to "It's a Monster Trucker", complete with unintelligible CB radio speak during instrumental breaks.
Songs with potentially offensive references to Jesus in their title frequently have it omitted. For example, "Trip with Jesus" by The Union Underground is frequently just referred to as "Trip...", and some playings shorten the line "trip with Jesus" to "trip...". Not so bad? British metal band Orange Goblin has a song called "Jesus Beater" (it isn't actually as offensive as the name would make you think). It got bowdlerised, though... into "Wife Beater". Sure, that's also another term for a tank top shirt, but it's easy to take the wrong way.
The official edited version of the Beastie Boys album Ill Communication has some rather perplexing Bowdlerizations. (Many would also find the very concept of an "edited version" perplexing, but that's beside the point.) Aside from being poorly done in general — portions of the entire finished mixdown are reversed instead of just altering the vocal track — there are edits to completely innocuous words such as "shifting" and "funky". But the most humorously misguided edit on the album would have to be in "Get It Together", when the word "crack" is edited out of the line "Never ever ever smoking crack." So instead of getting a nice anti-drug message, the hypothetical listener of this family-friendly album now has to wonder exactly what it is that the Beasties will never ever ever smoke. (The same song has the word "shit" unedited in one lone instance.) A later song also has the word "Cheeba" (a slang term for marijuana) edited out of the line "I stopped smoking Cheeba, that was part of the key."
The later To The Five Boroughs also has an edited version, but it's much less of a hack job, as almost all of the songs actually have alternate vocals recorded to mask the offending words. Hearing the edited version of "Ch-Check It Out" on the radio, for example, you would never guess just how profane the song really is. "Wait a minute, all you Klingons in the fucking house? Turn this motherfucking party out? Where'd all this come from?"
"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba goes from "pissing the night away"note "pissing" in this case being British slang for drinking to "KISSING the night away."
In Karaoke Revolution 2, the Boys II Men song "I'll Make Love To You" is edited to say, "Throw your rose on the floor / I'm gonna take my rose off too," which makes absolutely no sense in a song that's about having sex.
Another Cole Porter example: it's unlikely you'll hear singers nowadays launch into the first chorus of "Let's Do It" as it was originally written: "Chinks do it, Japs do it / Up in Lapland little Lapps do it..." (The replacement lyrics about birds, bees and educated fleas were taken from one of Porter's later choruses, but they spoil the nationality theme of the first refrain.)
Likewise, the line "Roosters with a doodle and a cock do it" was changed to "Even little cuckoos in their clocks do it".
Spoofed in "Oh Susie" by German singer/comedian Frank Zander, in which all the (still quite obvious) "dirty" words are replaced with random noises ostensibly due to Executive Meddling.
Some radio stations completely replace the second verse of the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" because of the repeated use of the word "faggot." Their greatest hits CD also has the edited version.
Mark Knopfler himself changed the word to the slightly less offensive "queenie" in an MTV concert performance and on the On The Night live album.
No one mentioned "I Bet You They Won't Play This Song On The Radio"? It's a Monty Python song entirely about this where there are very odd and obvious bleep sounds every few words about profanity censorship. And yes, it has been played on the radio.
Apparently, the B-side had the "un-censored" version.
The song "Seasons in the Sun" is a highly bowdlerised version of a French song "Le Moribund" ("The Dying Man") by Jacques Brel. Both are about a dying man saying goodbye to his friends and family, but in the original, it becomes pretty clear that all the people that the narrator is saying goodbye to were people his wife was having an affair with.
When Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" was originally released in 1967, a lot of radio stations objected to the line "Making love in the green grass" because of the sexual connotations, so the record company issued a version that poorly edited in the line "Laughin' and a-runnin', hey hey" (from earlier in the song) over the other line. That version was quickly forgotten and the uncensored version became the standard one over the years. Then, for reasons unknown, the censored version was included on the popular 1990 Best of Van Morrison comp.
The song "Almost" by Bowling for Soup, a title quite appropriate in that after the edits it's almost a different song. For example:
I almost got drunk at school at fourteen
Where I almost made out with the homecoming queen
Who almost went on to be Miss Texas
But lost to a slut with much bigger breastses
I almost got punked at school at fourteen
Where I almost got a hug from the homecoming queen
Who almost went on to be Miss Texas
But lost to a girl who sewed her own dresses
Then we have this little number. Note the omission of "Drunk" and "fourteen" but the distinct presence of "slut with much bigger breatses". Seems like a stupid place to draw the line.
The Drifters' "Under The Boardwalk" originally had the line "we'll be making love under the boardwalk" in the chorus, but radio stations objected, so it was changed to "we'll be falling in love." The Bowdlerized version has become the standard, although some oldies stations have started playing the original.
Mocked in Desorden Público's song "El día que prohibieron la violencia y el sexo en la tele" ("The day where sex and violence were banned from TV"), which is about what the title says. The result: all the programming is screwed, since everything Newscasts to Soap Operas is damaged when not outright off air, people stops watching TV at all since there is nothing to watch; and to appeal to those yearning for the lost things producers use those media not affected by the ban, so now people "can hear gunshots and moans on the radio".
The single version of "My Name Is" by Eminem featured substantially rewritten lyrics. They're generally either just slightly toned down or so intentionally ridiculous that you can easily figure out the original content anyway ("I just drank a fifth of kool-aid, dare me to drive?"), but a couple of lyrical substitutions are different enough for the real words to be a little surprising when you're used to the radio version. Even knowing his reputation, it can be kind of jarring to find out "If you see my dad, ask him if he's bought a porno mag and seen my ad" is actually "If you see my dad, tell him I slit his throat in this dream I had".
Another crazy censored line in 'My Name Is': 'Well, since age twelve, I've felt like a caged elf who stayed to himself in one space chasing his tail.'
Other Eminem songs, such as "Stan", were censored simply by muting half the song's lyrics, including the entire verse in which Stan throws his girlfriend in the trunk of the car and drives it into a river (most of the misogynistic insults and the references to violence against his girlfriend [tossing her in the trunk, not slitting her throat, and binding and gagging her] have been edited).
The version of Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box" played on MTV contains the altered line "buried in my pit" (and later "shove my nose in spit"). Radio stations, which had actually been playing it uncensored previously, also switching to this version post-Nipplegate. Thankfully, they've now started just cutting the word short rather than using the rather silly alternative.
Presumably for the sake of the singers among us, Rock Band 2 uses the version that replaces the instances of "shit" rather than removing them.
And let's not forget the edit of "Heaven Beside You", which included the line "that's fracked up".
Which is extremely ironic, considering that the song is about censorship in mass media.
The MTV version of Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels" censored the line "Let's roll another joint" in an odd way, by just playing the offending word backwards (it sounded something like "let's roll another t'nohj"). Amusingly, when Tom Petty accepted an MTV video music award for the video, he couldn't help noting that whenever he saw his video on TV, there was one word of the song he could never make out.
In the Nickelback song "Rockstar", the radio version bleeps out the word "drugs" in the line "The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap." The bleep, of course, only makes it sound worse (and redundant, because the bleep in the second line in relation to the "girls come easy" line that came before it could translate to either "whores" or "pussy" by a naive, filthy, misogynistic mind who's never heard of the original version with the "drugs" line and likes to fill in the blanks on bleeped-out songs).
The "clean" version of "Baby Got Back" has the infamous intro removed (with the ValleyGirls talking about a black girl's butt and saying she looks like a rapper's girlfriend), and "walking like hoes" changed to "walking like Flo Jo"note The nickname of Florence Joyner, a famous black female runner who died at an early age of an epileptic seizure.
Taylor Swift has had this happen twice. "That's fine, I'll tell mine you're gay" in "Picture to Burn" became "That's fine, you won't mind what I say." In a somewhat weirder case, "I laugh 'cause it's so damn funny" in "Teardrops on My Guitar" was changed to "just so funny" on some stations.
When Jimmy Buffett plays "all ages" shows, his staple "Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw)" gets bowdlerised. Most noticeably the title line gets changed to "Why don't we get lunch in school?", though a number of other "family friendly" changes are made to the other lyrics as well.
When Da Vincis Notebook sang "Another Irish Drinking Song" in concert, a line about a Catholic priest who dropped dead "underneath the altar boy" was abandoned. Instead, they sang, "In respect to all our Catholic friends, we won't sing this line tonight."
Radiohead's song, "Creep," has a radio edit in which the line, "I wish I was special/You're so fucking special" is replaced with "I wish I was special/You're so very special." This is retained in the Rock Band version of the song. In one acoustic version performed for a radio session, Thom Yorke lampshaded it by deliberately croaking out "very" in a very different tone of voice from the rest of the song every time the line came up.
An example where the title was bowdlerized, but the song remained intact, involved Nirvana's In Utero. Wal-Mart would not stock the CD until the cover art was changed (because, to them, medical drawings of the female body are offensive) and the title of "Rape Me" was changed on the cover to "Waif Me." No attempt was made to censor the song itself.
Hilariously, the music video uses the second line, but uses the video (complete with a back scrubber and facial expressions) to imply the first (though "take" can and has been used to mean to make a sexual partner out of someone, so either way, the sexual undertones are there, whether or not anal sex is mentioned at all). Apparently Amanda's known to roll her eyes when performing live and being made to use the edited version line.
One band name that was bowdlerized was the Butthole Surfers. When they hit the Top 40 with "Pepper," many radio stations called them the "BH Surfers." Their name is even rendered as "B***h*** Surfers" on the clean version of the album Electriclarryland.
Speaking of "Pepper," three words were censored from the radio edit: "bullet", "shot", and "rapist".
Christian parody band ApologetiX did a parody of "Pepper" (titled "People") - because the band name wasn't appropriate for their audience, they credited the original to "The Buttonhole Surfers".
In one of the SNES "Play it Loud" commercials, they played their song "Who Was in My Bed Last Night", but bleeped the "hell" part of the song. "Who the *bleep* was in my bed???"
When Alice Cooper had a Top 40 hit with "Only Women Bleed," Casey Kasem introduced the song on American Top 40 simply as "Only Women."
When Sawyer Brown covered Dave Dudley's Signature Song "Six Days on the Road," "I'm taking little white pills" became "I'm passing little white lines" because the Country Music audience of the late 1990s was presumably less accepting of a drug reference (though "white lines" also refers to cocaine, meaning that the edited version is more of a drug reference than the uncensored version).
When it first became a hit, Bush's "Everything Zen" generally got the line "Should I fly to Los Angeles, find my asshole brother?" by uncensored, but now more often it's replaced by "...find my in-law's brother", or else the word "asshole" is just played in reverse.
Weezer had to re-record "We Are All On Drugs" as "We Are All In Love" in order for it to get played on MTV. Despite the fact that it wasn't a pro-drug song, and in fact wasn't even about taking drugs in the literal sense. Oddly, in the video itself, Rivers Cuomo is seen reading a newspaper with the headline clearly reading "WE ARE ALL ON DRUGS", and this goes completely uncensored.
That wouldn't be Weezer's first experience with censoring on MTV. Their 2001 hit "Hash Pipe" had the first word edited out from the song and the title, referred to on the network as "H*** Pipe" or just "Pipe". The same was done with radio airplay of the song, as well.
The Song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is a supreme example of this, in its original form it was about a hobo convincing a young boy to follow him with tales of mountains made of candy, who he then forced to "sit on his peg". The original ending of the song even went like this:
I've hiked and hiked till my feet are sore
And I'll be damned if I hike any more
To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
On some radio stations the line "Praying to a God that I don't believe in" in the song Breakeven by the Skript was changed to "Praying to a God that I barely believe in", changing it from an atheist reference to merely agnostic (and therefore, better...?). Other stations will repeat the line from later in the song, "But no wise words gonna stop the bleeding."
Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," has two edited versions for the line that says "Read between the lines, what's fucked up and everything's alright," one says "what's messed up" which makes sense, and one substituting "what's freaked up" which just sounds absolutely ridiculous in the context of the song.
The radio edit of "In One Ear" by Cage The Elephant naturally cuts short the refrain's repeated references to "people talking shit", but more interestingly the line "the crowd will only like me if they're really fuckin' drunk" becomes "the crowd will only like me if they're all smacked up". That's right, the band got rid of the f-bomb, but also turned a reference to alcohol into a reference to heroin, apparently just for the sake of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
The single version of Marilyn Manson's song "The Beautiful People" has the rather awkward line "There's no time to discriminate/Hate every mother hater that's in your way." Almost makes you long for a melonfarmer.
For their performance of "Dope Show" at the Video Music Awards, MTV insisted they alter a lyric mentioning "cops and queers" (which MTV also censored out when playing the music video itself). The band complied... by changing it to "the pigs and the fags", which was apparently okay (even though it means the same thing as the objectionable line, and these days, "fag" is considered so objectionable as a homophobic slur that it's subject to being bleeped on television. "Queer" isn't as strong a homophobic slur as it once was, but no one really uses the word much anymore because it's fallen out of favor).
In fact this does make it more offensive, as queer is used affectionately by many gay people and their straight friends to refer to themselves. It's very rare for fag to be anything other than self-deprecating, if not always an insult.
It was of course completely inevitable for this to happen with Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You". There are actually two different radio edits, "Forget You" and "F You" - the latter at least has the same amount of syllables. Some versions even have "Fuck You" changed to "Fox News".
Some editions of Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" have all instances of the word "bitch" truncated into "bit".
Temporarily averted in the case of her breakout hit "Poker Face" — Gaga herself admitted to being amused that nearly no one noticed that the exact words in the chorus were "P-p-p-poker face, F-f-fuck her face" except for someone at KIIS-FM in Los Angeles. It's usually censored now.
''The Mikado's "Punishment Fits the crime" song used to have a vain lady "blacked like a nigger/With permanent walnut juice". These days, she is more usually "painted with vigour".
Sean Kingston's song "Beautiful Girls" has the word "suicidal" blanked out of the chorus when it plays on more family friendly stations such as Radio Disney, which makes the chorus incomprehensible, because instead of going "You'll have me suicidal, suicidal/when you say it's over" it is "You'll have me (silence), (silence)/when you say it's over". Other times, it may be substituted with "in denial".
Alan Jackson's "I'll Try" opens with the line "Here we are, talkin' bout forever / Both know damn well it's not easy together". Even though it wasn't his first time swearing in song, and "damn" usually goes uncensored even in country, the "damn" became a "too" on the radio edit.
In "Runaway Love" by Ludacris, the word high in the line "Momma's on drugs, gettin' high up in the kitchen" is cut out, but that whole verse is about a girl who is being molested by her mother's boyfriend, and in general the song is about runaway teens.
Comedian Billy Connolly's parody version of the song "D.I.V.O.R.C.E." contained a line about the singer's wife calling him "an F-ing C". This was beeped out on the single.
P!nk's song "F**kin' Perfect" was changed for the radio, obviously. The lyrics change from
Pretty pretty please, don't you you ever ever feel
Like you're less than, f**kin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing, you're f**kin' perfect, to me
Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing, you are perfect, to me
May cause quite a surprise for fans searching for this song online.
In addition to that, the title was shortened to "Perfect". And don't even get me started on the music video.
The version on Now That's What I Call Music 38 sounds like the original with the F word removed, but no gap between words because of it. Strangely the track listing lists the song as "F**kin' Perfect". Coincidentally, this was the same Now Album to feature both "Tonight I'm Loving You", and "Forget You".
The admittedly Contemptible Cover of Roxy Music's Country Life features two women in transparent underwear standing in front of a forest. A version made for stores that otherwise wouldn't carry it cuts the girls out altogether, leaving a picture of a forest.
"Smoke a Little Smoke" by Eric Church contains the line "Dig down deep, find my stash / Light it up..." twice. To skirt the drug reference, the first one becomes "Dig down deep, find my glass / Fill it up..." (which fits nicely with the last line, "break out the wine, forget again") and the second, "Dig down deep, strike my match". This makes it a common example of a lyric-swap that doesn't dilute the original meaning.
This struck again with "Creepin'", which changes "Your cocaine kiss and caffeine love" to "caffeine kiss and nicotine love".
The Yo Gabba Gabba performance of Pool Party changed the verse "Girls so cute! / In their swimming suits!" to "Wear your swimming suits! / They're a hoot!" This was most likely because Yo Gabba Gabba is a toddler's show, and parents probably would have thought the original lyrics were risque.
Kenny Chesney's "Reality" changed the line "Yeah, some days it's a bitch, it's a bummer" to "…it's just bad, it's a bummer" for the radio edit.
Speaking of Chesney… when Montgomery Gentry Covered Up his "Some People Change", they turned "Can't trust that colored fella" to "that other fella". Although the line is reflecting the opinion of a narrow-minded individual who changes his mind, the original line still probably wouldn't have gone over well on radio.
From the song Bye Bye Babylon by former BIONICLE promoter band Cryoshell, the line "Or you can wish me hell" was replaced by "Be sure I will be there" (from a later verse) when LEGO released the song on their site and on one of their DVD animated movies.
The radio edit of "I Love It" by Icona Pop changes "You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch" to "...but I'm a 90's chick". Which just barely manages to still rhyme with "we gotta kill this switch". The word "shit" in "I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs" is also changed to "stuff", which stands out a little less because the offending word isn't rhymed with anything.
"Redneck Crazy" by Tyler Farr changes "I'm gonna get my pissed off on" to "…my redneck on" for the radio edit.
Thirty Seconds To Mars' Up in the Air has a lyric-swapped version with "fucked up our life" replaced with "This is my life". Interestingly enough, all instances of "I'll wrap my hands around your neck" in that version were replaced with "I'll wrap my hands around your heart, which is arguably just as bad if not worse than your garden variety neck strangulation and made even more glaring when compared to the other edited version of the song. That version just takes out "fucked" and doesn't censor the neck bit at all.
The album version of "I Like My Bike" by Chicken Damage has a single verse that gets repeated three times and a Title Only Chorus. The radio version bowdlerizes the last line of its lone verse a bit differently on each repetition: "here's my dick, why don't you suck it?"note used as a Painful Rhyme for "pocket", "rocket" and "knock it" becomes "here's my toe why don't you suck it?", "Here's a gun, why don't you cock it?" and finally "Here's my love, why don't you hock it?". They may have been Getting Crap Past the Radar with that second one, since in a different context "cock" would be a slightly more offensive synonym for "dick".
Jake Owen's "Eight Second Ride" has a rather egregious and inexplicable one: "Climb on up, but honey, watch the cup that I'll be spittin' my dip inside" became "…my dip tonight" on the radio edit, thus causing "tonight" to rhyme with itself. Exactly what was wrong with "spittin' my dip inside", besides the dodgy grammar, remains unknown.
Another inexplicable one in Lady Antebellum's "Lookin' for a Good Time" changes "Would you get the wrong impression if I called us a cab right now" to "if I asked you to dance right now." To prevent "dance" from appearing twice, "you shouldn't dance like that" in an earlier line becomes "move like that." This change is particularly baffling, as the whole song is about a one-night stand, and many of the lyrics are far more suggestive.
When the original Jesus Christ SuperstarRock Opera was released in 1970, Judas's first song, "Heaven On Their Minds," was released as a single. On the album, the song is Judas's critique of Jesus's growing role as Messiah. In the single, seemingly half of the words are changed ("If you strip away the myth from the man" becomes "If you strip away the sleep from your eyes," for example). It also adds background singers for some reason. May or may not be deliberate Bowdlerization, when you take into account the pattern of Rewritten Pop Versions of songs from other shows by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
A version of The Beatles' "The Ballad of John and Yoko" distributed to American radio stations in 1969 blipped the word "Christ" from the line, "Christ, you know it ain't easy."
Subverted in M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes". What initially seems to be Sound Effect Bleep is, in fact, the official, er, lyrics, to the song. Those noises (a gun shooting then cocking and a cash register noise) have themselves been censored into less offensive noises, like a dull popping sound.
BBC Radio 1 played a censored version of the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" during Christmas 2007, blanking the words "slut" and "faggot". They received complaints from angry listeners, from the Pogues, and from the late Kirsty MacColl's mother, and generally attracted much more attention than if they'd just played the song uncensored in the first place and garnered anti-indecency groups who objected to the misogynistic and homophobic slurs. They quickly apologized and played it unaltered later the same day.
The radio version of MacColl's solo hit "Walking Down Madison" rather amusingly replaced "checking out the bums" (as "bum" in UK English means "butt," not "homeless person" or "someone who sponges money or possessions off someone else without any promise of repayment") with "checking out the nuns".
Pink Floyd's Money. Heard on the radio in New York, "do goody good bullshit". Heard on the radio in North Carolina, "do goody, good, bull". Early in their career, they performed a song called "Let's Roll Another One" on stage, but when they wanted to release it as a single B-side, the record company forced them to take out all drug references. It became "Candy and a Currant Bun" instead.
The Stories' "Brother Louie", a song about the joy and pain of an interracial love affair turned marriage proposal, lost its unique punch when a brief spoken word interlude representing the fathers of the fated couple was cut out from the original Hot Chocolate version that it was a cover of. White voice: "No spook in the family." Black voice: "No honk in the family."
Wheatus' song "Teenage Dirtbag" was censored on UK radio by blanking words out of one verse:
Her boyfriend's a dick
He brings a gun to school
And he'd simply kick
My ass if he knew the truth
On MTV in America, "dick" and "ass" were left in, but not "gun." Either this was because of the Columbine shooting, or the fact that MTV has a rule against showing guns (even going as far as to edit out words associated with guns, like "bullet" or "shot"). Or both.
The song was released on a music CD tie-in for the anime Beyblade V-Force in the UK - the only word edited from that release was 'gun'.
NWA — Boyz In The Hood: "Jockin' the bitches, slappin' the hoes" changed to "Jockin' the freaks, clockin' the dough", among other obligatory changes (despite that, in black slang [at least in the 1990s], a "freak" is a misogynistic — yet more acceptable than "bitch," somehow — term for a woman who is into sexually deviant acts [read: anything that's not the missionary position]. However, kudos to the radios for not keeping in the "slappin' the hoes" line and finding a substitute line that actually fits with the Gangsta Rap aesthetic).
The BBC edit of "Respectable Street" by XTC censored out all off-color references, which makes the song incomprehensible. In the line about "which sex positions pleases her old man", "sex position" is replaced by "preposition", while "Saturday I saw him retching over our fence" becomes "...stretching over our fence".
The band James subverted this with the video for their biggest hit, "Laid". The third line of the song, for both the radio and album version of the song, is "She only comes when she's on top." In the video, the line is changed to "She only sings when she's on top" — except the singer is quite obviously singing the original lyric, and the word "hums" appears on screen. Also, it's not quite clear why mention of a female orgasm had to be edited on MTV when the radio didn't bother editing it at all.
"Toes" by Zac Brown Band was hit hard with this. The first line in the chorus get changed from "I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand..." to "...toes in the sand" and "ass in the lawn chair, toes in the clay" at the end of the song to "toes in the water, toes in the clay" on the radio edit. The line "roll a big fat one" also had "fat one" silenced. Other edits just silence the occurrences of "ass"; still others use "toes" for "ass" but leave in "fat one"; still other stations just play the song uncensored.
Interestingly, the countdown show Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40 always played it completely uncensored when it was climbing the charts, but now censors it to "toes in the sand" whenever it's used for a retrospective.
Another odd example from Country Top 40. When it was on the charts, Jerrod Niemann's "One More Drinkin' Song" had the line "marga-daiquiri-screw-olada on the beach" censored to "…chill-olada" for no real reason.
Jason Aldean's "Johnny Cash" has several edits as well. The album version has a spoken "screw you, man" in one verse; depending on the station, this was changed to "I'm outta here," silenced or played as-is. Some versions also delete "Hear that train a-comin', rollin' around the bend / The man in black gonna rock your ass again" at the end.
Speaking of Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue" notoriously beeps "'cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you Sue." At the end, he says "And if I ever have a boy, I think I'm gonna name him... Bill or George, any damn thing but Sue!" The "Damn" is just snipped out of the radio version.
Another Johnny Cash example is in his cover of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt, where the line "crown of shit" is changed to "crown of thorns", as with the official radio edit. However, as Cash was also a devout Christian, the new line is a lot more symbolic too.
They Might Be Giants' "Become A Robot" has the lyric "here's hoping you don't harbor a death wish", which the lyric sheet to Then: The Earlier Years lists as "here's hoping you don't harbor a wishnik" - after some confusion among fans about what the actual lyric was, it turned out that the band themselves censored the printed lyric out of concern that it might be disturbing to children.
Steve Earle's "Guitar Town" changed "Everybody told me you can't get far / On $37 and a Jap guitar" to "…cheap guitar" for the radio edit.
Both Akon's "I Wanna Fuck You" and Enrique Iglesias's "Tonight I'm Fucking You" replace "Fuck" with "Love" for radio play, for obvious reasons.
"Young, Wild, and Free": The line in the chorus "So what we smoke weed" is changed to "So what we don't sleep" on radio broadcast. Oddly, all other marijuana references are left mostly intact.
Maroon Five's "Payphone" changes "full of shit" to "full of it" and "one more fucking love song" to "one more stupid love song" in its chorus for radio airplay. Wiz Khalifa's "Man, fuck that shit!" distorts the two swear words.
Eamon's "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)". The entire chorus is a Cluster F-Bomb. It was heavily censored for radio airplay, in which all uses of "Fuck" and "ho" were left silenced, making the entire chorus incomprehensible.
Some radio stations, such as KDWB, censor the words "skeet blanket" (a blanket males use to have A Date with Rosie Palms) from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop".
"Cock" is invariably replaced with a rooster crowing.
The clean version of Bruno Mars' "Treasure" completely takes out the opening computer voice saying "Baby squirrel, you're a sexy motherf—ker." The MTV version of the video keeps the opening line but blanks out "f—ker".
There are at least two different edits of "Gorilla": one that changes "Give it to me motherfucker" to "Give it to me like you wanna" and one that concludes the line with the sound of a hollering gorilla.
The KDWB version of Olly Murs' "Troublemaker" removes the words "damn" and "hell" from Flo Rida's rap. Oddly, other songs get the green light for saying those words.
will.i.am's song "Scream & Shout" (featuring Britney Spears) sometimes has the line "Britney, bitch!" censored by adding an echo to the word "Britney" to fill in the gap caused by removing the word "bitch". Also, the line "You're gonna turn that shit up" is changed to "You're gonna turn it, turn it up".
When Lloyd Price performed his version of the song Stagger Lee on American Bandstand in 1958, Dick Clark had him change the entire song. It went from being a story of Stagger Lee arguing over the roll of the dice while gambling with a man named Billy, so he goes home, gets his .44, comes back to the bar, and shoots Billy (while he begs for his life), to a story about Billy stealing Stagger Lee's girlfriend then feeling guilty about it so he gives her back to him and they remain friends. Compare: Original VersionBandstand version. Bonus points for Painful Rhymes like
Stagger Lee and Billy never fuss or fight no more,
Because he got back his girlfriend and Stagger Lee was no more sore.
When Lyle Lovett's "If I Had a Boat" was released as a single, the line "Kiss my ass/I bought a boat" was changed to "Adios/I bought a boat".
"Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon Five often has the lines in "My ego is big/I don't give a shit" altered in one of two ways: either the "shit" will be cut short so it sounds like "sh-", or the lines from the second verse ("I'll make you believe/That I've got the key") will replace them.
One of the best subversions came from Visual Kei. The original version of Stab Me In The Back by X Japan was about oral and anal Intercourse with You between men. This obviously wouldn't fly on the radio in the late 1980 s or even on the major label album Jealousy in its production in 1990, so Yoshiki Hayashi rewrote the lyrics... to be something even more taboo in Japanese society, doing drugs. The Refuge in Audacity worked, and the drug version of Stab Me In The Back became a track on Jealousy at its 1991 release.
Some fans did bowdlerize the lyrics of the original version when they posted them online (either out of prudery or trying to avoid trouble with their ISPs or spammers), leading to a short-lived fandom meme about "lick pens erect."
One radio edit of "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus censors "Everyone in line in the bathroom / trying to get a line in the bathroom" by cutting off the second use of the word "line" (since it's a double entendre about cocaine use). But oddly enough, this same edit leaves in a different drug reference from the pre-chorus ("Dancing with molly" - "molly" being a slang term for MDMA).
"Shaking The Blues Away" (1927) by Irving Berlin. The original version (popularized by Ruth Etting) contains the lyrics "Every darkie" and "Do as the darkies do", which are changed to "Everybody" and "Do as the voodoos" do in later versions, such as Doris Day and Ann Miller's versions from The Fifties.
Similarly, the lyrics Showboat's "Ol' Man River" (written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1927)have also been changed multiple times due to Values Dissonance. The line "niggers all work" was changed to "darkies all work" in the 1936 film. Other versions change it to "colored folks all work" (in The Forties), "here we all work", or omit the line completely and replace with something completely different. Some versions change the line "white man boss" to "rich man boss". The lyrics that mention getting drunk and being sick of living were also changed in one of singer Paul Robeson's versions.
It's very unlikely you'll find the third verse of the 19th-century hymn "All Things Bright And Beautiful" in modern hymn-books, due to Values Dissonance as regards the class system:
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
Certain edits of "Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake cut out the line "Bet I'll have you naked by the end of this song", replacing it with an earlier part of the refrain. Thus: "No disrespect, I don't mean no harm / I can't wait to have you in my arms / Hurry up 'cause you're takin' too long / I can't wait to have you in my arms". A little repetitive perhaps, but at least "long" and "arms" come somewhat close to still rhyming.
"Follow Your Arrow" by Kacey Musgraves censors the word "joint" in the line "Roll up a joint, or don't / Just follow your arrow wherever it points". The line was also censored when she sang it at the Country Music Association awards in November 2013.
"Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake has the line everyone knows as "Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone", which is actually the censored version - the original has "Like a hobo".
Near the end of "Look It Up", Ashton Shepherd says the word "asshole". This was edited out of the radio version.
The 7" single version of Marillion's "Garden Party" replaced the Precision F-Strike with "I'm miming," breaking rhyme with the preceding "I'm rucking." When performing this version on Top of the Pops, Fish shut his mouth for the edited bit, pointed towards his shut mouth and winked at the audience.
Another victim of MTV's 90s policy of censoring drug references was "Scooby Snacks" by Fun Lovin Criminals. The chorus is "Running around robbing banks all wacked off of Scooby Snacks", with Scooby Snacks as a slang term for Valium. The MTV version cut out "wacked" and just left a pause there, which if you weren't familiar with the song led you to think they were censoring a more profane word.