Rolling Stones’ Super Bowl Halftime Set Censored

Sexually suggestive lyrics cut from two songs during the band's Super Bowl XL performance.

Two of the three songs performed by the Rolling Stones during their 12-minute-long Super Bowl XL halftime set were cleaned up by censors. Lyrics from the veteran rock act’s “Start Me Up” and “Rough Justice” didn’t make the telecast.

According to The Associated Press, the show’s editors — working with the benefit of a five-second tape delay, a Super Bowl first — cut portions of two lyrics that were deemed too sexually suggestive for broadcast. The one Stones tune to escape the dump button was the 1965 hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which, as frontman Mick Jagger pointed out, was the “one [song] we could have done at Super Bowl I.”

The changes to the Stones’ performance, according to ABC, were made by the National Football League and its producers, the AP reports.

The inclusion of a five-second tape delay — and the decision to edit the two Stones songs — follows two years after Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed during a halftime routine with Justin Timberlake (see “Janet Apologizes, Says Super Bowl Stunt Went Too Far” ). That incident resulted in fines of $550,000 for CBS.

Super Bowl XL — which ended with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks — was preceded by a performance from Stevie Wonder, who was joined onstage for a career-spanning medley by Joss Stone, India.Arie and Grammy-nominated artist John Legend. The national anthem unified two of the nation’s most fertile musical beds: Detroit, which played host to the big game, and New Orleans, a city that’s still recovering from the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Aaron Neville and Dr. John, representing the latter, teamed with Detroit favorite Aretha Franklin.