The 10 weirdest radio versions of popular songs

In an effort to avoid controversy, broadcasters will sometimes turn lyrics into nonsense or drop them entirely SLIDE SHOW

Topics: slideshow, Music, Rock, pop songs, Radio, Censorship, lyrics, FCC,

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Over the course of rock and pop music, musicians have found clever ways to minimize censorship and the regulations placed by the FCC. But when it comes to radio play, the broadcasters have the final say. Some radio edits can change the meaning of lyrics drastically, while others call even more attention to the offending lyrics. Here are ten popular songs that have been edited for the radio:

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    Censored songs

    Black Eyes Peas- "Let's Get It Started"

    The pop group originally titled the song "Let's Get Retarded," but it was edited to "Let's Get It Started" for radio play. A 2004 album reissue of "Elephunk" includes "Let's Get Retarded" as a bonus track.

    Censored songs

    Cee Lo Green- "Forget You"

    For obvious reasons, Green's original version of this song, "Fuck You," was edited -- but there are two different versions, including "Forget You" and "FU," the latter being a more extensive edit. The obscenity-laced song is actually a criticism of the music industry, Green revealed in an interview with NME.

    Censored songs

    James Blunt- "You're Beautiful"

    James Blunt's "You're Beautiful," doesn't seem especially controversial, but the radio version of the song replaces replaces one lyric -- "fucking high" -- with "flying high." That curse word was enough to get Blunt's album a Parental Advisory sticker.

    Censored songs

    Sean Kingston- "Beautiful Girls"

    The single that first put Sean Kingston on the map, "Beautiful Girls," is about a man who is suicidal because of lost love. But some versions of the song have censored all mentions of "suicide," replacing it with "denial."

    Censored songs

    Britney Spears- "If U Seek Amy"

    "If U Seek Amy," from Spears' 2009 album "Circus," was edited for radio as "If U See Amy;" when spoken quickly, the lyrics sound like "F-U-C-K me." (Full line: "All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy"). NME declared the hit one of the filthiest songs of all time.

    Censored songs

    Red Hot Chili Peppers- "Tell Me Baby"

    Though the lyrics "Life can be a little shitty" sound so innocent compared to other songs on this list, radio stations edited the phrase of the RHCP single to say "Life can be a little kitty." The album version maintains the curse word, however.

    Censored songs

    Kanye West - "Gold Digger"

    Like many of the rapper's hits, the radio version of "Gold Digger," his 2005 hit, was edited to remove the word "n*gga." It was replaced by the word "bro," turning the lyric into: "Now I ain't saying she a gold digger (When I'm in need) But she ain't messing with no broke bro."

    Censored songs

    Dead Kennedys - "Too Drunk To Fuck"

    Unlike with Cee Lo Green, radio stations just didn't know what to do with this 1981 hit. The song, listed as "Too Drunk To," was immediately banned by the BBC. Some stores dealt with the single by placing a sticker over the word, while others refused to carry it.

    Censored songs

    Eminem- "The Real Slim Shady"

    Just about every line of this song has something vulgar or suggestive; in 2001, a Colorado radio station played an edited version of Eminem's first hit, only to be fined by the FCC because the song was still not censored enough. The indecent material included mentions of masturbation, the clitoris, "walkin' around, grabbin' his you know what" and "but it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose."

    Censored songs

    Dire Straits - "Money For Nothing"

    Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfer wrote this 1985 hit song as a first-person account from a character. But part of the character's vocabulary included an anti-gay slur, which radio stations promptly removed. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Knopfer discussed the lyrics, saying, "In fact, I'm still in two minds as to whether it's a good idea to write songs that aren't in the first person, to take on other characters. The singer in 'Money for Nothing' is a real ignoramus, hard hat mentality – somebody who sees everything in financial terms."

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Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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