Dec 282020

I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to cursing, or swearing, as some call it. While raising our boys, I frequently stressed the importance of not cursing too liberally. I probably shared the following Dad Lesson with them 50 times through the years: An interviewee was cruising along toward a job offer, as I grilled her, when she casually dropped the word “shit” into one of her answers. In my mind, I thought, “Oh no, that’s a clear display of poor judgment in the professional world in which we work.” One of those giant canes from a burlesque-set cartoon came out and yanked her off the stage.

“But Dad,” they have told me at least 200 times, “you curse.”

“Yes, but usually that’s only when I’ve lost my temper or knocked over a glass of water.”

Each boy, at points, has played me a favorite song of theirs that I found a little too crude for comfort.

“But Dad,” they remind me, “you listen to songs with curse words and crude content. You make us watch movies with stuff like that.”

“Yes, but that’s in the service of the Truth. I’m fine with all sorts of things if it’s in the service of Art and Truth.”

It’s probably a pain in the ass, excuse my French, to be one of my sons.

I just got a note from an old friend, and for some reason my favorite curse-infested line from Public Enemy came to mind. I should have it cued up in the video I posted.

Elvis was a hero to most

But he never meant shit to me you see

Straight up racist that sucker was

Simple and plain

Motherfuck him and John Wayne

I have no evidence that Elvis or John Wayne deserved such a crude verse in “Fight the Power,” but in the middle of all that song’s fury, it perfectly meets my criteria for allowable, even necessary crudeness.

You are welcome to your own standards of crudeness – I know some of you to be real potty-mouths! What’s your favorite use of cursing in a song?


  17 Responses to “Favorite Use of Cursing in a Song?”

  1. WAP! Too soon?

  2. H. Munster

    The Libertines’ cursing in this one was the most unexpected I ever encountered. Also possibly the wittiest.

  3. I LOVE cursing but I’m not a big fan of cursing as a crutch. It’s like salt. I like it when it’s used to enhance but not when it’s used to cover up inadequacies.

    When it comes to the kids, I encourage them to make better, more creative word choices. I’ve told them there is nothing wrong with listening to music or watching movies with cursing in them, but they personally should be able to find a better way of expressing themselves. My son listens to a lot of hip hop, and as a result, so do I, and the cursing often feels gratuitous.

    I always liked You’re Breaking My Heart by Harry Nillson (, but that Public Enemy song might get my vote too.

    Chuck D later walked back the reference to Elvis, but John Wayne? Fuck that guy.

  4. The Libertines could be the last truly great band name.

  5. BigSteve

    Chrissie Hynde:

    But not me, baby, I’m too precious
    Fuck off!

  6. I like when D Boon yells “I’m fucking overwhelmed”. It’s on Double Nickels, but I have no idea which song.

  7. “Fuck and Run” by Liz Phair is a great song that would not work with any other word.

    I would’ve hired the woman who said “shit,” but I always pushed the border of out of control at work

  8. Quick question, who here likes those Vietnamese summer rolls, the ones that look like all the innards are wrapped up in a condom? They’re weird.

  9. Another one from Double Nickels on the Dime. “It’s expected, I’m Gone” ends with Boon issuing the apparent challenge “Big fucking shit, right now man.” Watt wrote the lyric and he wanted the song to end with the big guy calling out the audience. And it’s delivered perfectly.

  10. EPG, Thanks for reminding me it’s dinner time.

  11. Double Nickels has a lot of good swearing on it! I also like “Should a word have two meanings? What the fuck for?” and “I am the cesspool for all the shit to run down in”

  12. mockcarr

    Yup, History Lesson Part II, “we were fuckin corndogs” on there too. But I would say Working Class Hero from Lennon with “ you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see”. That’s like the first time you hear your dad let one fly when your mom is absent.

  13. Back in the early days of underground radio in Philly, Al Stewart’s “Love Chronicles” was notable for being 18 minutes long and for using the word “fucking”.

    And now that I’ve shoe-horned Philly into the discussion, I just learned in one of those year end lists of the death of Kenny Jeremiah, founding member and lead singer of the Soul Survivors. Does it get any better than “Expressway To Your Heart”?

  14. I kept thinking was it possible that the harshest word the Clash used was only “crap”, and then I remembered their all-timer line; “He who fucks nuns, will later join the church”.

  15. 2000 Man

    Right now I can’t think of anything in a song, but I find swearing an effective means of communication. Then again I worked in a printing factory for 20 years and besides making magazines the only things that seemed to happen there were drinking an swearing. Anyway, I first thought of my friend. We were making something in his garage when we were in elementary school. For some reason he needed to use a hammer and hit his thumb. He smashed his thumb. Really, really smashed it and screams, “FFFFFUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!” loud enough that you could hear him in the next county. His mom and dad both came running out of the house, and you would think they both thought something bad must have happened. At the same time they both said, “Christopher! You watch your MOUTH!”

    Then they saw that his thumb was swollen up like a cartoon and bleeding profusely and poor Chris looked like he was gonna faint, holding his thumb and weaving side to side. He was in the ER most of that afternoon. I thought right then that it was funny that they both thought they needed to correct his language instead of thinking something must be horribly wrong. He remembered it years later when I talked to him and he said he thought the same thing, once he wasn’t in so much pain.

  16. Hallelujah for the second coming of Christ! It’s so good to see you here again, 2000 man! And just for the record, with a few slight changes, your story could be my story about how I was fired from my first job.

    One more thing, when you get a chance can you send a link or copy and paste your Satanic Majesties review? I want that on tap to send to people who need to revisit and reconsider the LP.

  17. misterioso

    Well, I would’ve said “Working Class Hero” but it’s been taken, so “Who Are You” or “I Am an Animal” off Pete’s outstanding Empty Glass lp.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube