It was 30 years ago this month when the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) took on the music industry and their distribution of potty lyrics to their children. Newsweek did a nice
oral spoken history piece on what went down 30 years ago. Spoiler alert: Their campaign was crazy and based on the what we hear today, failed miserably.
One of my favorite quotes:
Kandie Stroud, journalist and PMRC spokeswoman “We were a family completely saturated in music. I remember one time, one of my kids said,Listen to this song, but don’t listen to the lyrics, mom, you won’t like them.” Sure enough, it was some explicit song. I think it was something by Prince. I kind of looked into the topic and interviewed a bunch of different people in the music world. I thought, “Wow, it’s really changed since the days of the Beatles and Elvis.”
Obviously she was not aware of the allusions to gay sex in Jailhouse Rock “Number forty-seven said to number three, You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see” nor the “finger pie” in the Beatles “Penny Lane”
It’s all about slang and as we all know lyrics have gotten raunchier (whatever you do, don’t look up the urban dictionary definition of “Truffle Butter” a song by Nikki Minaj). Thankfully though I think violence related lyrics has slightly tapered off.
I was never aware that in 1985 there was an official list of “obscene” songs. It was called the Filthy 15 and they are all pretty charming by today’s standards. The words in parenthesis are their apparent offensive subject matters). Fun Fact: Prince is responsible for 3 of the 15 songs (Sheena Easton, Vanity and of course his song “Darling Nikki”).
Darling Nikki (sex, masturbation)
Sugar Walls (sex)
Eat Me Alive (sex)
Strap on Robbie Baby (sex)
Let Me Put My Love Into You (sex)
We’re Not Gonna Take It (violence)
Dress You Up (sex)
Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) (sex)
High ‘n Dry (drug and alcohol use)
Into The Coven (occult)
Trashed (drug and alcohol use)
Mary Jane Girls
In My House (sex)
She-Bop (sex, masturbation)
Here’s 11 songs available on Spotify to enjoy and play for your kids. They’ll think these songs are adorable.