It’s fair to say that this year’s Christmas UK Singles Chart has raised a few eyebrows.
It is not for the same reasons as last year, though, when Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ became the most unlikely and unsuitable Christmas Number 1 – much to the delight of many people.
Matt Cardle may be this year’s Christmas Number 1, but the song ‘Use My Arsehole as a C**t’ by Kunt and the Gang caused excitement on the Internet after entering the UK Singles Charts at Number 66. While this is an offensive title for a single, it isn’t the first time that this has happened.
And there have been several other singles that have been inappropriate and caused controversy over the years.
Wash your mouth out
Although a song, that included the “c-word” in its title, charted for the first time yesterday, there have been several song titles with coarse language that have charted.
One of the most famous examples occurred when the Super Furry Animals released ‘The Man Don’t Give a F**k’, which was released in December 1996.
This political protest song used the “f-word” in its original release so much – 50 times during its 286 seconds length – that the record sleeve had a warning sticker confirming this.
The 2004 re-issue, consisting of a live recording at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, managed to outdo the original by using the “f-word” over 100 times. This still remains the release that has used the “f-word” the most, beating the Insane Clown Posse’s ‘F**k the World’.
Furthermore, the rock act Smokie teamed up with the comedian Roy Chubby Brown in 1995 to re-record ‘Living Next Door to Alice’, with Brown adding the words “Alice, Alice, Who the F**k is Alice?” at the end of every chorus.
The song was, unsurprisingly, called ‘Living Next Door to Alice (Who the F**k is Alice?)’.
However, a week before Smokie and Brown’s version was first released, Dutch DJ Gompie reached Number 34 with his version: ‘Alice (Who the X Is Alice)’.
Smokie and Brown’s version was originally unsuccessful, as it peaked at Number 64 in May 1995. The track, however, soon re-entered the chart at Number 34 in August 1995 – possibly due to the track becoming a hit in Spanish holiday camps.
It soon became one the final singles to gradually move up the UK Singles Charts, due to media coverage and appearances on ‘Top of the Tops’. The song eventually peaked at Number 3 in October 1995.
2k’s ‘F**k the Millennium’ also jumped on the swearing bandwagon in the 1990s, and became The KLF’s Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty comeback single.
The track was released to celebrate their tenth anniversary as musical partners and to also mock the intense media coverage of the millennium.
The duo’s original performance of the track, at London’s Barbican Arts Centre in September 1997, was edited as a single release and it peaked at Number 27.
W.A.S.P.’s ‘Animal (F**k Like a Beast)’, ‘Too Drunk To F**k’ by the Dead Kennedy’s, Mogawi’s ‘No Education = No Future (F**k The Curfew)’ EP, ‘F**k Forever’ by Babyshambles and ‘F**k It Up’ by Towers of London have also charted with “f-word” titled singles.
More bad language
Usage of the word “b***h” also proved popular in the late 1990s, as some tracks managed to reach the Top 10.
There have been other singles, which have used swearing in the title, that have failed to chart.
Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll
There have been other inappropriate single titles that have referenced sex and drugs.
One of the most controversial titles was Pulp’s ‘Sorted For E’s and Wizz’, which referenced ecstasy and speed.
This attracted plenty of tabloid attention; mostly due to its CD sleeve, which gave step-by-step instructions on how to make a paper wallet that could be used to smuggle drugs.
Despite the Daily Mirror’s campaign [led by Kate Thornton – this information has come via Sport is a TV Show] to ban the release, it did nothing to discredit Pulp’s popularity; the song stayed at Number 2 for a fortnight in October 1995.
Their emphasis on sampling, though, led to lawsuits by at least six major record labels and the track was promptly deleted.
‘Raving I’m Raving’ only spent two weeks in the top 75 and, as a result of this, is one of the shortest stays of any Number 2 hit.
The Dandy Warhols’ ‘Not if You Were the Last Junkie On Earth’ – with the famous lyric “heroin is so passé” – and ‘Illegal Gunshot/Spliffhead’ by the Ragga Twins also charted in the Top 75 with controversial titles.
The most serial offenders of sexual innuendo in single titles was the 1990s dance act, Sleazesisters.
Peter Martine, the man behind Sleazesisters, was already well-known in clubbing circles but he gained chart notoriety for his inappropriately titled tracks including ‘Let’s Whip It Up (You Go Girl)’ and ‘Sex’.
‘The Flasher’ by Mistura featuring Lloyd Michels, ‘Can Your Pussy Do the Dog’ by the Cramps and Joe Tex’s ‘Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)’ were also titles that contained sexual innuendo.
Murder, she wrote
While the minor hit, ‘Murder She Wrote’ by Chaka Demus and Pliers, only shared the same title with a television show by coincidence, others have attracted more attention.
The reggae band Steel Pulse referenced the Ku Klux Klan, for example, in their single ‘Ku Klux Klan’.
The track attacked racism and mocked the Ku Klux Klan, as the band often dressed dressing up as them during live performances.
The lyrical content and title of one single was so controversial, though, the song was immediately banned.
Punk act S*M*A*S*H were given a raft of publicity by the NME, after being heralded as kings of the New Wave of New Wave scene alongside These Animal Men.
After becoming the first band to appear on ‘Top of the Pops’ without releasing a single – their début EP was technically classed as an album – they tested their luck by releasing ‘(I Want To) Kill Somebody’ in July 1994.
The lyrics, which hinted at the band’s desire to kill Conservative politicians, was too controversial, and the single was banned from shops and several radio stations after its first day of release.
The song and the video, which also showed the bassist biting off a version of the Prime Minister’s penis, still attracted enough fans to reach Number 26 in the UK Singles Chart.
Its notoriety may never be matched.
If you want to read more about S*M*A*S*H’s ‘(I Want To) Kill Somebody’, please read this superb piece by Rhian Jones on the Velvet Coalmine blog.