It is Free Speech Week! This year free speech week runs from October 22 – October 28. To kick off this first day of free speech week I thought it would be good to look at something I remember as a teen growing up in the 80’s: the Parent Music Resource Center (PMRC). The PMRC was actually started by four Washington wives that apparently had too much time on their hands. Being the ring leader Tipper Gore (wife of senator and future pretentious environmentalists ex-vice-president Al Gore) will always be seen as a villain in my eyes.
Tipper and the other Washington wenches proceeded to create a list of the “filthy fifteen” songs that were going to destroy Americas youth. Here is a list of those 15 songs and links to hear/watch them on the Internet:
- Prince – Darling Nikki – Sex/Masturbation
- Sheena Easton – Sugar Walls – Sex
- Judas Priest – Eat Me Alive – Sex
- Vanity – Strap on Robbie Baby – Sex
- Mötley Crüe – Bastard – Violence
- AC/DC – Let Me Put My Love Into You – Sex
- Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It – Violence
- Madonna – Dress You Up – Sex
- W.A.S.P. – Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) – Sex/Language
- Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night) – Drug & alcohol Use
- Mercyful Fate – Into the Coven – Occult
- Black Sabbath – Trashed – Drug & alcohol Use
- Mary Jane Girls – In My House – Sex
- Venom – Possessed – Occult
- Cyndi Lauper – She Bop – Sex/Masturbation
The PMRC lobbied the recording industry to self-regulate. And when that didn’t happen as quickly as the Washington wives wanted they started the infamous Senate Hearing. This is where we get to the heroes part of this memory. Three musicians stepped forward to represent the music industry: Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Frank Zappa, and John Denver. I don’t think you could have planned such an odd pairing. Below is the hearings for all three artists. In total they are just over an hour, but well worth the listen!
Dee Snider Testimony – 30 Mins
This is actually my favorite part of the PMRC hearing. The Senate had no idea that Dee actually had a mind. He started out acting like a cliché rock star, then hit the committee with his intelligence! I have always been a fan of your Dee, but for this you will always be a HERO! Dee also happens to be the only of the 3 that is still alive.
Frank Zappa Testimony – 33 Mins
I was always a fan of Zappa’s musical genius, but this hearing made Frank my HERO! His opening with the first amendment was great! Sadly Frank is no longer with us; yet he will live on forever!
John Denver Testimony – 7 Mins
I think this inclusion was genius. A clean-cut country boy who makes movies about God! You rock Denver! I may not have been a fan, but I do like some of your songs. More importantly you will always be remembered as a hero this fan of the first amendment!
What I think really threw the Senators off in this hearing was the intelligence of all three musicians. Apparently politicians don’t realize that clichés are not reality.
All I will add to this post is the fact the musicians and fans got the final laugh in this whole PMRC vs music madness. Yes its true the PMRC “won” and parental advisory warning labels were placed on music that was considered obscene from that time on. However that parental advisory increased sales of those albums. Hell, I can remember being a kid buying albums simply because there was a warning!
One last thing. Danzig had a song called Mother that was directed straight at Tipper Gore and the PMRC. Here is the YouTube video with lyrics:
Oh wait, on more last thing. FUCK YOU TIPPER!