Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Puncturing The Myth of the Rolling Stones' Super Bowl Censorship

Five-Second Delay Doesn't Mean ABC Did NFL's Bidding And Bleeped Jagger

If you watched the Rolling Stones play the Super Bowl halftime show, you inevitably kept a close eye on Mick Jagger as he strutted over the lip-locked stage at Ford Field to see how far he might push the envelope.

Not far, as it turned out. So, when a couple of racier lyrics were part of the playlist, the more eagle-eared in the audience noticed Jagger, in effect, censor himself. That happened, most notably, with "Start Me Up," when Jagger belts out, "You make a dead man," um, arrive. Something like that.

Jagger actually refrained from uttering the actual word. Instead, many reporters instantly assumed ABC had kiboshed Mick, fearing a verbal version of a wardrobe malfunction.
Jon Pareles, whose review of the Stones' appeared in The New York Times sports section yesterday (which would be odd in any other paper but the Times), bleated: "The Rolling Stones sang three songs for the Super Bowl XL halftime show last night and were censored in two of them — not a bad average for a band of sexagenarians who still ride a reputation as provocateurs."

If only that was true.

Pareles implies it was ABC that did the censoring on-site. In fact, as it was apparent to anyone watching, Jagger was mum to the TV audience before he would otherwise sing the word that rhymes with mum, at the prior request of the squeamish NFL.

"The Rolling Stones were aware of our plan, which was to simply lower the volume on his microphone at those two appropriate moments," NFL flack Brian McCarthy told Reuters.
Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune, gets the real story right and provides some historical context. Indeed, the Stones, ever the savvy businessmen, have known early on the benefits of going along to get along.

Thirty-nine years after the Rolling Stones begrudgingly changed "Let's Spend the Night Together" to "Let's Spend Some Time Together" on "The Ed Sullivan Show," the '60s rock icons were back in self-censoring mode for their Super Bowl halftime performance Sunday.

Leave it to the bemused British press to suggest, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, that Jagger should get into the habit of such things. From The Times of London:

Some title advice: end the youthful flirtation with “Mr D.” and dance instead with “Mr J. C.”, while expressing Sympathy for the Prophet. In Will You Be My Lover Tonight? replace “Lover” with “TV Dinner Companion”. Enrich Sticky Fingers by amending it to Sticky Toffee Pudding.
All this fuss and not a single nipple ring in sight.

1 comment:

Wulf said...

Interesting. CNN is still reporting that ABC is the reason for the words being omitted.