On Sunday, when BBC Radio 1 unveiled the latest edition of the U.K. Top 40 Singles chart, Rihanna fans — and, eventually, Rihanna herself — noticed something, well, odd.
Debuting at #20 on the chart was RiRi’s brand-new, somewhat salacious new single, “S&M,” which had been re-named “Come On.” Apparently, no one had alerted Rihanna about the change, and she took to Twitter to express her displeasure, vowing that she would figure out who was responsible for the re-titling.
As it turned out, nobody seemed to know. On Monday, when MTV News contacted the British-based Official Charts Company — responsible for compiling the weekly U.K. Top 40 — a spokesperson for the organization told us that she wasn’t even aware of the change but added that, on the OCC’s version of the chart, the song’s title remained unchanged.
Almost immediately, the attention shifted to the BBC (who did not respond to MTV News’ request for comment), and late Monday, a representative for the broadcaster finally spoke up, telling England’s Metro newspaper that it was actually Rihanna’s label, Island Def Jam, that was behind not only the “S&M” name change, but an edited version of the song, which eliminates all mentions of “sex,” “chains” and “whips.”
“During daytime hours, as younger audiences are listening, we are playing the radio edit, which is called ‘Come On,’ ” the BBC spokesperson said. “However, we will continue to play the original track in specialist shows with an appropriate introduction. … It is common practice to play radio edits of certain tracks in daytime.”
MTV News’ e-mails to reps for Island Def Jam had not been answered by press time. Though, it appears that — for the time being, at least — the controversy may have subsided. Late Monday, the BBC once again changed the name of the song. It now appears on their version of the Top 40 as “S&M (Come On),” proof that, when Rihanna vows vengeance, people listen.