Rock Radio: What the F--k? | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

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Rock Radio: What the F--k?

The Best Bleeping Year on Record

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It was a damn good year for alternative music--and for a certain four-letter word that still makes your mom blush. Rarely heard on the radio before 1994, that word showed up in at least six songs that got extensive airplay on any of three major local FM stations (Q101, WXRT, and B96). It was censored each time, but with varying degrees of precision--in some songs the record label silenced the whole word, but in others just a sound or two was cut, giving the singer a weird case of hiccups.

"People understand the limitations we're working with," says Bill Gamble, Q101's program director. "There are some words you just can't let slip by if you want to keep your license. Some of the edits are pretty loose, but we're living up to the letter of the law." Or all four letters of the law, if you prefer.

Gamble figures listeners can usually tell what's missing from a song, but can they? Here is the edited lyric of each song, and what you might think the singer meant to say if your mind wasn't in the gutter.

Artist: The Murmurs

Song: "You Suck"

Lyric, as edited for radio: Right now there's dust on my guitar, you ____, and it's all your fault. You suck

How you might think the lyric goes: Right now, there's dust on my guitar, you sloppy housekeeper, and it's all your fault. You suck.

What's actually missing: fuck

Artist: Nine Inch Nails

Song: "Closer"

Lyric, as edited for radio: I want to ____ you like an animal.

How you might think the lyric goes: I want to lick you like an animal.

What's actually missing: fuck

Artist: Liz Phair

Song: "Supernova"

Lyric, as edited for radio: You ____ like a volcano, and you're everything to me.

How you might think the lyric goes: You obliterate whole civilizations like a volcano, and you're everything to me.

What's actually missing: fuck

Artist: Rolling Stones

Song: "Sparks Will Fly"

Lyric, as edited for radio: Gonna ____ your sweet ass.

How you might think the lyric goes: Gonna perform cosmetic surgery to visually enhance your sweet ass.

What's actually missing: fuck

Artist: Green Day

Song: "Longview"

Lyric, as edited for radio: When masturbation's lost its fun, you're f__kin lazy.

How you might think the lyric goes: When masturbation's lost its fun, you're feeling that maybe those drugs you took in college made your foreskin lazy.

What's actually missing: fuckin

Artist: Julianna Hatfield Three

Song: "Spin the Bottle"

Lyric, as edited for radio: She is such a sucker. He don't want to ____ her.

How you might think the lyric goes: She is such a sucker. He don't want to give his flu to her.

What's actually missing: fuck

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