How heavy metal and Satan gave us this sticker

How heavy metal and Satan gave us this sticker

Heavy metal and Satan played a role in the introduction of the explicit lyrics sticker.

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The explicit lyrics sticker is one of the most recognizable images in American music. Its placement on an album cover signifies you’re going to hear something for adult ears only, and it’s an image we often take for granted. The story behind how we got that sticker is bonkers, to say the least.

The very public discussion around the advisory label involved the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), a group led by the wives of Washington politicians and a few musicians including Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver.

While the PMRC’s involvement was allegedly sparked by some raunchy lyrics from Prince’s 1984 album Purple Rain, the debate over rock lyrics had been infiltrating American culture and politics for a decade. The driving force behind that debate was the rise of heavy metal, a genre that saw explosive popularity with the launch of MTV in 1981, and the growing influence of the religious right, who saw rock music as a powerful threat to Christianity.

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A number of sources went into the research of this piece including Eric Nuzum’s book
Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America

Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.
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43 thoughts on “How heavy metal and Satan gave us this sticker”

  1. I wonder how many people who think that these people are being stuffy Christians have children. It’s always people who are too self centered to have children think this. But then, when their 10yr old ask about blow jobs, then they are concerned. Let’s keep explicit content away from kids. Adults can do what they want.

  2. And I was forced to destroy all of my heavy metal which made me start listening to R&B and this was back in the late 80s early 90s. Then my mother made me throw away all the R&B and I was only allowed to listen to Christian rock so I chose the band called DC Talk come to find out here in 2019 oh, they're throwing up the Satanic hand signs! Not very Christian! So much for that!

  3. Despite not being a fan of rock or heavy metal (which I can't stand to listen to), I could only sum up this video with three words: religious/political paranoia; especially, especially in the 50s-80s era ( hopefully I got the years correct).

  4. This is the hypocrisy of America. We stood up for singers rights to objectify women and still do while simultaneously saying we are sick of women being objectified. It just shows that nobody actually has a real point about anything

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