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Stones Censored In Super Bowl Halftime Show

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I have to admit that as ridiculous as it was to ignore home-grown Motor City talent, and as byzantine as all the logistics must have been to get the Rolling Stones and their massive trademark red tongue stage onto the field and ready to go for a three-song cup of coffee at the Super Bowl halftime show last night, the set itself sounded great and if you didn’t look too close these guys still look and smell like ROCK STARS.

Jagger struts the stage like it’s the 20th century; Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie are all still lean and mean; and the rocking blend of medium-old (“Start Me Up,” ’81), new (“Rough Justice,” from last year’s Bigger Bang, featuring some hot slide from Ronnie), and really flipping old (“Satisfaction,” ’65) generated some genuine excitement.

Jagger playfully acknowledged the venerability of “Satisfaction,” introducing it with, “Here’s one we could have done at Super Bowl I.”

Best of all, the Stones, at post-60, are STILL dangerous to the morals of the nation. ABC, using the five-second delay necessitated by Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate fiasco at the halftime show two years ago, censored out not one, but two words from the three-song presentation.

In “Start Me Up,” the sound went dead when Jagger sang last word in the line, “You make a grown man cry/You, you make a dead man cum”; and then again there was momentary silence in the land when Jagger sang the last word of this bit from “Rough Justice”: “One time you were my baby chicken/Now you’ve grown into a fox/And once upon a time I was your little rooster/
Am I just one of your cocks?”

Check out what the fans on saying about the performance on the Stones’ site, from the ebullient — “Will it every be topped? Has any other show been better? What a hot 12 minutes! The Stones almost stole the show. The stage was so cool and the performance got to a boil in no time. Almost forgot there was a super bowl in progress! Perfect set list…it had to end with Satisfaction!” — to the less so — I’M A DIEHARD FAN AND START ME UP WAS OK, ROUGH JUSTICE WAS VERY GOOD, BUT SATISFACTION SUCKED.”

So the “safe,” broad-based entertainment the NFL sought to soothe the masses with turned out to have some bite after all. Somewhere Brian Jones is cackling, although an National Football League spokesman said today that the Stones had agreed to the censorship in advance, which involved simply lowering Jagger’s mike for the two vilified syllables.

At least he still sang them, saying no to self-censorship.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • I didn’t even notice the “censorship” yesterday, Eric. Although I was trying to hear it over a crowded house full of fan’s more interested in the game then the half-time show all the while trying to explain to the 19 year old niece that Mick Jagger is a rock legend and is allowed to look old.

  • Yeah, I noticed the censorship, and it brought to mind the famed Ed Sullivan appearance when they had to change the lyrics to “let’s spend some time together.” The Stones were great, and I think we (meaning those of us who are of a certain age) need more role models who are refusing to go gently, so if these guys want to just drop in their traces someday, that’s fine with me.

    Oh, I heard there was a football game, too. I didn’t watch that part.

  • [MR]Chip

    “Best of all, the Stones, at post-60, are STILL dangerous to the morals of the nation.”

    Don’t you mean ‘Saddest of all..’?

  • I very much noticed the lyrics that were cut, laughed, and then started in on my recitation of all the things that REALLY bothered me. Hmm, I think I better start writing this one up.

  • I liked hearing “Heartbreaker” in the previews and would have preferred it to the new song, but I guess it wouldn’t set the right mood for a halftime show.

  • Yes, the question of “how come Detroit bred talent was not used for the half-time show”

    Simple answer. Well, first of all, the Stones sure did play Motown in their youth. Second of all, there was no Detroit classic band available who had their chops up and could rock to a necessary intensity. The Stones toured this year and had it going on.

    Eminemm and White Stripes might have been able to pull it off. That would have drove the censors nuts with Eminemm. Naw, no topping the Stones.


  • Oh yeah, Chip #3, I must say that the Stones are older than Bush and alot of our American government. I feel it is good that we have such a powerful force on our side.

    The sad thing is the question “what the heck are any of these new bands sayin’ anyway”? Not much. Sure, some anti-war or Bush or whatever statements can be made, but it all comes across as complaining. There is no movement behind it. The Stones still have movement at 60(no pun intended).

  • Eric Olsen

    If the show had been put on by MTV as it was two years ago, you KNOW they would have gone for the Eminem/Stripes one-two punch, but it’s a different world post-Nipplegate.

  • [MR]Chip

    I was referring to the state society is in. Some people say we’ve come a long way since then, but if the same things that were controversial then are still now, has history come full circle?

    (But, eh, the Stones were saying something?)

  • Chip #9, true, things have gone full circle. The circle I am talking about is late 70s/mid 80s to now. Back then we were fighting Reagan, now it is Bush. Making sense?

  • [MR]Chip

    History only repeats itself for those who don’t learn from their mistakes, right? 😛

  • Chip, RIGHT ON!!!! (with fist held high)

  • Scott Butki

    Good piece, ERic.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Scott!

  • Scott Butki

    There’s an irony here.
    Two years ago they were having someone modern – Timberlake – adn it blew up in their face with what I call a brahaha
    Last year they went safe – McCartney.
    So what do they do this year? They get an act that is years past their prime and even Jagger jokes about his age.
    So a safe pick right?

    Nope, even then they get into a controversy.

    I say bring back Up With People!