Stones lyrics censored for the Super Bowl

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Having previously accepted the highly un-rock 'n' roll distinction of a knighthood, Sir Michael Jagger may be mellowing with age.

The Rolling Stones agreed to have sexually explicit lyrics censored from their songs in their pre-Super Bowl performance on Sunday.

Nervous American organisers, desperate to avoid a repeat of Janet Jackson's controversial "wardrobe malfunction" in which she revealed her breast two years ago, were behind the censorship, and a National Football League spokesman said the rockers had agreed in advance to be gagged.

The organisers dipped the volume to prevent an estimated one billion television viewers hear a strutting Jagger growl, "You make a dead man come" and "Am I just one of your cocks?" The lyrics, from "Start Me Up" and the new song "Rough Justice", were audible to the 65,000 audience at Detroit's Ford Field stadium on Sunday night.

The only number not to be censored in the three-song set was 1965 hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", which Jagger joked the band could have played at the first Super Bowl.

"The Rolling Stones were aware of our plan which was to simply lower the volume on his microphone at those two appropriate moments," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. "We had agreed to that plan earlier in the week. The Stones were aware of it and they were fine with it."

ABC, which broadcast the Super Bowl, denied it had anything to do with omissions. The network said that although it had a five-second delay in place between recording and broadcast, it did not use it.

The precautionary delay was introduced after the uproar at 2004's Super Bowl, when Jackson's corset gave way to reveal her bare breast and nipple jewellery. The incident sparked hundreds of thousands of complaints and forced an apology from television chiefs. The CBS network was fined a record £306,000.

The Super Bowl ranks as America's top-rated broadcast: a 30-second commercials sells for as much as $2.5m (£1.4m).

Stevie Wonder headlined the pre-game show this year, and Aretha Franklin performed "The Star Spangled Banner".

What viewers didn't hear


You, you, you make a grown man cry,

You, you make a dead man come


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?