Cee-Lo’s curse-happy kiss-off single “F— You” continues to light up the Internet (as of this morning, the original video had logged over 2.6 million views) and the Goodie Mob member and Gnarls Barkley frontman is capitalizing on his sudden viral ubiquity. He told Entertainment Weekly that he plans on putting together a second video for the clip (probably one that didn’t consist entirely of the lyrics to the song) and a radio edit that will be called “Forget You.” That’s a good call for Cee-Lo, as it will give him the opportunity to truly capitalize on the success of the song (at the moment, you can’t even buy it on iTunes), but it will be slightly disappointing that the song will become a victim to the dreaded “radio edit.”
The clean version of a song is nothing new (just about every tune on this list got some sort of cleaning up), but it’s always amazing when an edited song becomes big and better known in its edited form than its original. When Cee-Lo drops “Forget You,” he’ll find a place on the top five biggest radio edit hits of all time.
Akon, “I Wanna Love You”
Originally titled “I Wanna F— You,” Akon’s biggest single would never have ascended to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 if it still had its original lyrics in tact. In this case, it’s incredible how much one word can change the tone of a song, as the original version sounded dirty and lascivious while the radio edit sounded vaguely romantic.
D12, “Purple Hills”
The first single from Eminem’s crew was an ode to the various pleasures of prescription drugs called “Purple Pills.” But since all the talk of popping pills got everybody a little hot under the collar, the song became “Purple Hills” when it played on the radio and MTV. It’s strange because not only are there still references to mushrooms and uppers, but also because the lines about “those blue and yellow purple hills” don’t make a lick of sense.
Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s Get It Started”
The Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get Retarded” helped the group make the transition from living on the fringes of the hip-hop world to a mainstream pop sensation. The only problem was the word “retarded,” which the Peas changed for the radio version and the video. It must be extremely jarring for people to hear “Let’s Get It Started” on NBA broadcasts and then get “Let’s Get Retarded” on the album Elephunk.
Weezer, “Half Pipe” and “We Are All in Love”
Rivers Cuomo isn’t known for his potty mouth, but his references to drug use have forced his band to switch around lyrics on two key singles. The group’s single “Hash Pipe” (the first single from 2002’s Maladroit) morphed into “Half Pipe,” and the Make Believe hit “We Are All On Drugs” morphed into “We Are All in Love” when it came time to make the video and radio versions. “We Are All in Love” is especially amusing because you can clearly see Cuomo lip sync along to the words “on drugs” in the video.
Moby, “That’s When I Realize It’s Over”
In 1996, Moby left behind his dance music background to record an album made up entirely of rock tunes and ambient soundscapes meant to put forth his defense of innocent furry creatures. It was called Animal Rights, and it was terrible. The album’s one highlight was Moby’s cover of Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver,” but because the gun reference made people nervous, Moby happily changed the words to the song (which, if you’ll remember, was not his) in order to get played on the radio and on MTV.
What’s your favorite radio edit of all time? Let us know in the comments!