Song Stories

“Je T'Aime ... Moi Non Plus”

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin | 1969

Serge Gainsbourg originally recorded this scandalous song, erotic moaning and all, as a duet with Brigitte Bardot. Understandably, the sultry screen star's husband strongly objected, and that version went unreleased for two decades. Remade with British actress Jane Birkin, it reached Number One in the U.K., despite (or perhaps because of) a BBC radio ban. The song was only a minor U.S. hit, but Gainsbourg proudly displayed in his home a framed copy of the Billboard chart that showed it reaching, appropriately, the Number 69 position. As for the rumor that "Je T'Aime" depicted an actual lovemaking session, Gainsbourg quipped, according to Birkin, "'Thank goodness it wasn't, otherwise I hope it would have been a long-playing record.'"

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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