Monday, September 29, 2014

Music Video Monday Special: Stuff 80's Politicians Didn't Like

Ever seen this label on a CD (or on a song on iTunes, for my younger readers)?

Well, if you've ever avoided buying a CD or song with this label (or, more likely, bought said CD or song specifically because it had the label and you were a defiant teenager), then you can thank Tipper Gore and the three other founders of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), a committee formed to keep violent and sexually explicit music out of the hands of children.

They also fought to develop a rating system for music, and came up with ideas like forcing record stores to keep albums they deemed inappropriate behind the counters like porn and "reassess[ing] the contracts of musicians who performed violently or sexually in concert," which is totally not a ridiculously vague set of guidelines that could easily be twisted and abused.  Fortunately, that stupid sticker above is the only one of their suggestions that ever really took off.

I'll let Dee Snider and Frank Zappa, who both had the dubious honor of being called to testify at the PMRC hearing, tell you a little more about what an overreaction all this was:

And that brings me to the reason for this post. October is coming up shortly...and that means Halloween. the spookiest holiday of the year, is also on the way. So over the next month, I will take a look at my favorite entries from the PMRC's "filthy fifteen" list of songs that supposedly represented the foulest of the foul, the smuttiest of the smutty. These are the tunes that struck icy fear into the very hearts of parents, teachers and other authorities back in the day. Join me on this harrowing journey and discover, for once and for all, the answer to the age-old question: Are you made of sterner stuff than an 80's politician?

The answer is yes. Just...yes. You absolutely are.

Watch the videos. Those politicians are the blandest, most pedantic assortment of lip-pursing, pearl-clutching drones I've ever laid eyes on. It just looks really jarring to see Dee Snider's wild lion's mane of hair in the middle of that sea of white bread. Frank Zappa stands out too, but in a different way; he went for the "blend in with the enemy" strategy and wound up looking sharper than everyone else in the room. No wonder these stodgy old geezers' wives started a freaking committee for the sole purpose of picking on musicians they didn't like. Ladies must've been bored out of their blow-dried skulls.

First up: Judas Priest, "Eat Me Alive."

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