Viewer Discretion is Advised

WARNING: The following contains sexual content not suitable for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. 

If music came with the disclaimers we’re used to seeing on our television programs, the 1930 hit by Louis Armstrong, Body and Soul, would have come with the above warning. It was, after all, banned from the radio for almost a year¹ for its “sexually suggestive lyrics.”



These lyrics (below) are so tame by today’s standards that it’s hard to determine which, exactly, were the suggestive parts. I’ll let you try your hand at it. (And post your guesses in the comments? There are no right or wrong answers, but I’m curious to see what folks think.)

As is true with so much of the music of this era, the song became popular in the successful Broadway revue Three’s a Crowd. And while Armstrong had the first recording, his was not the most famous, that title belonging to Coleman Hawkins, whose 1939 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973.

I wonder how it became an “instant hit” even while being banned from the radio. And how Rose came to hear it.

Perhaps she bought the record… you know, for her Victrola.


¹ “Body and Soul” / Wikipedia List of 1930s Jazz Standards


You’re making me blue / All that you do / Seems unfair
You try not to hear / Turn a deaf ear / To my prayer
It seems you don’t want to see / What you are doing to me
My arms are waiting to caress you / And to my heart, they long to press you, sweetheart

My heart is sad and lonely / For you, I cry / For you, dear, only
I tell you I mean it / I’m all for you / Body and soul

I spend my days in longing / And wondering it’s me you’re wronging
Why haven’t you seen it? / I’m all for you / Body and soul

I can’t believe it / It hard to conceive it / That you’d turn away romance
Are you pretending? / Don’t say it’s the ending
I wish I could have one more change to prove, dear
My life a hell you’re making / You know I’m yours for just the taking
I’d gladly surrender / Myself to you / Body and soul

Life’s dreary for me / Day’s seem to be long as years
I’ve looked for the sun / But can see none / Through my tears
Your heart must be like a stone / To leave me like this alone
When you could make my life worth living
By taking what I’m set on giving, sweetheart

My heart is sad and lonely/For you, I cry / For you, dear, only
I tell you I mean it / I’m all for you / Body and soul

2 thoughts on “Viewer Discretion is Advised

  1. Surrender? Hell? Take what I’m giving? Blue? Too many repetitions of the word body? What on earth is wrong with the lyrics?
    (Is the linked song really Body and Soul?)


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