In 1993, Walmart adopted a policy of not carrying any objectionable materials in their stores. While they continued to sell guns, cigarettes and movies (containing bad language, sex and violence) they made many musicians alter their albums before they would sell them, resulting in “clean” and “dirty” versions of many albums.
Nirvana reluctantly had to change the back cover on their album “In Utero” by cleaning up the artwork and removing fetuses. They also had to change the song “Rape Me” to “Waif Me” before Wal-Mart would carry it but the songs and it’s lyrics remained unchanged. Here’s the back covers of both versions…
ORIGINAL BACK COVER (Rape Me with Fetuses)
WALMART EDITED BACK COVER (Waif Me and Fetuses Removed)
About the title change to “Waif Me“, Kurt said,
“Why dont you just change it to Sexually Assault Me?’ I said, ‘The problem is that it won’t fit in the artwork as designed. It will be clumsy and take too long to modify.’ So I asked him to come up with a four-letter word that wasn’t a swear word, and we can substitute that. You can imagine some of the four-letter words he came up with to explain his position on it. Then he said, ‘Ill tell you what, just call it ‘Waif Me.” I thought that was a brilliant substitute, specifically because in his view a waif wasn’t gender-specific. That was the substitute made and how the release went out into the big chain stores.”
DGC issued a new version of the album with reworked packaging to the stores in March 1994. A spokesperson for Nirvana explained that the band decided to edit the packaging because as kids Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were only able to buy music from the two chain stores; as a result they “really want to make their music available to kids who don’t have the opportunity to go to mom-and-pop stores”.