Metal Music and Censorship

Some of you may or may not recall the induction of the group “Parents’ Music Resource Center” (PMRC), aka the “Washington Wives” back in the mid 80’s.  Some of you, through no fault of your own, are just too darn young to remember or, like me, were sheltered in a religious bubble, having no clue as to what was going on with the rest of the universe. Yes, that’s right… (no laffin!) I’m a preacher’s daughter.  You would’ve thought that I’d know about all of this but I was movin’ and groovin’ to the beat of the U.S. Navy at that time and yet again, had no clue as to what was happening out there beyond the realm of ships and aircraft.

Now, back to this PMRC stuff.  This all was started because of one little song by Prince entitled “Darling Nikki”.  Here are some of the lyrics..

“I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a sex fiend/ I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine.”

All of this was filtered through Tipper Gore’s radio one day, floating into the minds of Senator Al Gore and their 12-year-old daughter.  Keep in mind that Tipper had bought the album for her daughter so you can imagine how phreaked out she was hearing the lyrics of it on the radio.  Thus, PMRC was born, advising the recording industry to monitor their products.  It was as that point that the group concocted a list of songs with “questionable” lyrics and it was therefore dubbed “The Filthy Fifteen”.  Here’s that said list…

  • AC/DC – Let Me Put My Love Into You
  • Black Sabbath – Trashed
  • Def Leppard – High n’ Dry
  • Sheena Easton – Sugar Walls
  • Judas Priest – Eat Me Alive
  • Cyndi Lauper – She Bop
  • Madonna – Dress You Up
  • Mary Jane Girls – In My House
  • Mercyful Fate – Into The Coven
  • Motley Crue – Bastard
  • Prince – Darling Nikki
  • Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
  • Vanity – Strap On Robbie Baby
  • Venom – Possessed
  • W.A.S.P. – Animal (Fucks Like A Beast)

The group applied labels to each song according to the subject matter.  They also suggested that “rock music was responsible for the rising rate of rape and suicide among those between the ages of 16 and 24.”  Of course, most parents went along with this to protect their little babies.  And that, my friends, is where we’re currently at regarding the parental advisory notifications on your albums!

Now, this brings me to another topic…..censored album covers.  Some, I’ll agree, are over the top.  I wouldn’t want my 10-year-old kid seeing some of  it, I’ll admit.  Some of these I didn’t even know so I’ve had a groovy time looking into all of this.  It definitely never hurts to know your musical past.  So without further adieu, I’ll be showing you some album cover art – the uncensored version and then version they wound up releasing to the public.  They’re listed as in the order below…

Left photo – uncensored     –     Right photo – censored

  • Black Crows – Amorica
  • Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
  • Lita Ford – Out For Blood
  • Great White – Hooked
  • Guns N’Roses – Appetite For Destruction
  • Jimi Hendrix – Electric Landyland
  • Hurricane – Slave To The Thrill
  • Pantera – Far Beyond Driven
  • Poison – Open Up and Say…Ahh!
  • Scorpions – Virgin Killer
  • Scorpions – Lovedrive

One thought on “Metal Music and Censorship

  1. I still love that song “Sugar Walls.”

    Don’t forget, Roxy Music’s album cover for “Country Life” was censored, as was the cover for Big Black’s “Headache” album.

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