Classic rock songs allowed to swear on the radio

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through Mike McPadden

07/27/2015

Despite FCC surveillance and various censorship groups still on the prowl, a handful of popular rock songs containing the “seven bad words” have always aired on the radio without incident (except when your mom notices, panics, maybe gives you a little setback and forces you to change stations).

Some of these profanity hymns remain in constant rotation today on classic rock releases. Others may not be as ubiquitous as they used to be, but they were broadcast loud and clear when they were released via the AM / FM commercial airwaves, and often for years afterward.

So whip up your favorite brand of mouth scrubbing soap as we browse a dozen classic rock hits that somehow got away with verboten verbiage on the radio.

  1. “Who are you?” – The Who (1978)

    2:05 – “Ah, who are you?” “

    As one of Who’s iconic anthems, “Who Are You? Grows to a fury so that by the second chorus, when Roger Daltrey drops the f-bomb, it goes by so quickly it’s easy to miss the first time around. Of course, what human with working ears has never listened to this song just once?

  2. “Silver” – Pink Floyd (1973)

    1:25 – “Money is a success / Don’t give me that, do some good bullshit”

    Wandering through that cosmic bassline and punchy cash register cha-chings, David Gilmour’s lead vocals shines with brilliant diamond clarity, so he’s quite unmistakable when he gets to the ‘bs’.

  3. “Airliner” – Steve Miller

    4:10 – “I don’t want to get caught up in all of this / it’s great going down to town”

    While live tv shows, Steve Miller replaces a keyword with the nearby rhyme “kicks”, and there’s a popular radio station montage of the song that does the same. Either way, most of the time you’ll hear the whole funky business happening in the air. And if you don’t, change stations immediately.

  4. “Legs” – ZZ Top (1984)

    3:10 – “Sh-t, I must have it”

    Billy Gibbons s– the statement flows quickly but recognizable in ZZ Top’s “Legacy”, advancing as another hypnotic component of the song’s synth-fueled boogie. The funny thing is that the other lyrics to “Legs” sound so confusing that listeners often misunderstood them as dirtier than they are. For example: the sentence that we think to be “She has a thin slit, just under her belly”, is in fact “She is a bit jet-set, try to undo her panties” (which are still pleasantly dirty) .

  5. “Heroes of the Working Class” – John Lennon (1970)

    2:20 – “And you think you’re so smart and classless and free / but you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see”

    John Lennon’s blame on the acoustic guitar of the have-nots of society for accepting their plight against the haves is absolutely burning in its intensity. The seven-letter descriptor he adds to “peasants” stems from clearly real anger, and it lands like a loud slap in the face of any complacent listener. The guy was heavy.

  6. “Sweet Virginia – Rolling Stones (1972)

    2:27; 3:38; 4:15 – “I have to scratch the shit off your shoe”

    Exile on the main street“Sweet Virginia” is irresistible, bordering on, bordering on slow shambolic country scrambling, as it goes bumpy, picks up speed, Ian Stewart on piano, additional vocals such as Gram Parsons and the incredible Lamentations Bobby Keys saxophone.

    A staple of late night FM radio in the ’70s and part of the Stones live set in ’72, ’94 and 2005, “Sweet Virginia” is also familiar with its use in the 1995 Scorsese classic, Casino. Even if you wanted to (which is insane), there wouldn’t be any way to eliminate “Sweet Virginia” from your brain, let alone your shoe.

    In addition, the Stones released “Sweet Virginia” as a B-side in Japan. At the front was “It’s awesome” ExileThe electrifying opener of, who claims the sassy couplet: “I traverse the days at lightning speed / Plug in, flush out and pull the f-kin ‘feed.”

  7. “Precious” – The suitors (1980)

    0:40 – “But you know I was screwing bricks cause I’m precious” 2:53 – “But not me baby I’m too damn precious!”

    No one is cooler than Chrissie Hynde. Just consider how, through the Pretenders, she transmitted raw punk fury through impeccably crafted songs that connect with the commercial rock audience. “Precious” provides a dynamic example. The new wave FM hit combines voluminous and powerful instrumentation Hynde speaking to her hometown of Cleveland while singing less than she growls and rages. There is no doubt that her message is reached the moment she arrives at this crucial two-word send.

  8. “Hurricane” – Bob Dylan (1975)

    1:45 – “The number one contender for the middleweight crown / had no idea what kind of shit was about to drop”

    Bob Dylan’s epic cinematic account of the miscarriage of justice surrounding Ruben’s “Hurricane” Carter murder conviction sparked controversy even before it was released. Lawyers for the record company persuaded Dylan to change some lyrics regarding the charges against two witnesses in the case, and even the song’s mention of Carter as “the number one component” generated heat, as the boxer was, in fact, ranked around number nine. In addition, some familiar with the matter have claimed that Dylan painted an overly holy portrayal of his subject. Yet for all the times “Hurricane” aired on the air, no one really cared that Dylan said “shit”.

  9. “Lawyers, Guns and Money” – Warren Zevon (1978)

    1:57 – “Send lawyers, guns and money / shit hit the fan!”

    Warren Zevon’s biting and brilliantly evocative lyrics to “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” tell the living story of a young rich American who does nothing who, while playing and partying through the hotspots of the world. Southern hemisphere of Cold War tension and international intrigue, lands in a pile of which hits the fan before the song ends. He also claims one of rock’s most wildly satirical pleas which paints a full picture of a hole abroad: “Dad, get me out of this!

  10. “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” “- REM (1994)

    3:40 – “I never understood, don’t fuck with me”

    In 1986, an unknown assailant brutalized CBS News anchor Dan Rather on a New York street, repeatedly asking him, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” Eight years later, REM turned the incident into a fierce rocker that the band even once. had to play with himself instead on Letterman.

    During the song’s final fade out, instead of the “frequency” that Michael Stipe sings, “don’t fuck with me”. It’s almost impossible to distinguish unless you are listening to it on purpose, but — sort of like “louder than dirt” at the end of the “Touch me” of the Doors– once you know what’s out there, you’ll never hear it.

  11. “Playing the Guitar” – John Cougar Mellencamp

    2:33 – “Forget all that macho thing and learn to play the guitar!” “

    After the blockbuster American Fool breakthrough in 1982, John Cougar added his real last name to his official nickname and scored two monster mainstream hits, “Pink houses” and “Crumblin ‘Down,” as well as a handful of temporarily regular rock radio rotators, including “Authority song” and “Playing the guitar”. The latter is John’s advice to all up-and-coming young men, ensuring that mastering the basics of the six-string is superior to a comfortable job, a fancy car, waxed shoes, pumped iron and, of course, stuff. macho.

  12. “Show Biz Kids” – Steely Dan (1973)

    3:55 – “Showbiz kids make movies of themselves / you know they don’t care about anyone else”

    It’s incredible today that a group as strange and cryptic as Steely Dan could become the superstars they are. Of course, that was the tenor of the days when Donald Fagen, Walter Becker and company appeared, when an intoxicating concoction as bizarre as “Show Biz Kids” with its repeated mantra of “Lost Wages / go to Lost Wages” could order The Waves FM and when no one has flinched beyond maybe giggling bang smoke when the song ends with an F launch. Everything was so much cooler in the 70s, everyone.

  13. “We can be together” – Jefferson Airplane (1969)

    1:17 “To survive we steal, cheat, cheat, forge, fuck, hide and sell

    3:15 “Against the wall, mother-ker”

    Jefferson Airplane’s hit B-side hit single “Volunteers,” “We Can Be Together” is the band’s harmoniously lush call to lawless revolution. On ethereal cushions of soft vocals from Grace Slick, Marty Balin and Paul Kanter, the lead guitarist launches a psychedelic line and the words ring for breaking the law, class warfare and an end to private property. The “up against the wall” line, which appears uncensored on the single and was played on progressive rock stations, is borrowed from the Black Panthers, neighbors of the Airplane’s Bay Area.

BONUS: 2 classics sneaking into barely audible F-bombs

Listen carefully. It’s screwed up in there.

“Hey Jude” – Beatles (1968)

2:56 – “Aw, fucking shit!” “

As the song shifts from its opening melody to the “na-na-na” part, John Lennon blurts out in the background.

“Louie Louie” – The Kingsmen

Integrated from www.youtube.com.

0:53 – “Fk!”

Drummer Gary Abbot expresses his distress after dropping his sticks. Oddly enough, the intense FBI investigation into “Louie Louie” for obscenity completely missed this explosion by a fraction of a second.

Mike McPadden is the author of the book “HEAVY METAL MOVIES: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, and Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big Scream Films Ever!” (Bazillion points, 2014).


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