Rock superstars censored for their lyrics
On February 5, 2006, rock music veterans The Rolling Stones were censored during their performance at the Super Bowl – one of the most-watched events on US tv.
The Rolling Stones were the real talking point of the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February. Their 12-minute performance in front of a sell-out crowd of 65,000 people and 90 million viewers during a break in the Super Bowl games opened with the song ‘Start Me Up’, followed by ‘Rough Justice’ and ending with ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’.
In ‘Start Me Up,’ the show’s editors silenced one word, a reference to a woman’s sexual sway over a dead man (“You’d make a dead man cum”).
The lyrics for ‘Rough Justice’ included a synonym for rooster, (“I’m just one of your cocks”) that the network also deemed worth cutting out.
ABC is the first network to impose a five-second tape delay on the Super Bowl. The sensitivity no doubt reflects a lingering reaction to Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” two years ago. In 2004, Janet Jackson caused outrage in the US when she exposed her right breast during a routine with Justin Timberlake. The incident, which was broadcast to millions of tv viewers worldwide, led to the CBS tv network being fined 550,000 US dollars for having intimidated its viewers.
Violation of free speech
The Retriever Weekly – 14 February 2006:
‘Stones censorship bad precedent for free speech’
Sydney Morning Herald – 8 February 2006:
‘Stones hit back at censorship’
BBC News – 6 February 2006:
‘Stones’ Super Bowl songs censored’