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by Robert Berry

One of the great things about music is it's ability to piss people off.  From the early days of rock to the advent of gangster rap, records have come out that have made people go apeshit.  Whether it was offensive lyrics, or perhaps just a cover that drove people nuts, here's a list of the Top 10 Most Controversial Albums.  Though there were definitely performers in the 50s-60s who made some waves, the albums themselves were fairly safe and caused little controversy in and of themselves.  That's why so much of this list is dominated by albums from the latter part of century, as shocking records became more prevalent than ever.  So without further adieu:

|#10 "YESTERDAY and TODAY" by The Beatles

Though the album featured benign songs like "Yesterday" and "We Can Work it Out", the original album cover for this 1966 album featured the Beatles in an unheard of grotesque photo posing with severed baby doll parts and random chunks of meat.  Pasted over versions, and ultimately an all new cover was used after horrified retailer responses were received.  A perfect condition copy of this original is worth thousands of dollars to some collectors. 

#9 "SHEIK YERBOUTI" by Frank Zappa

Zappa was always one of the more strong free speech advocates for music, and though his lyrics may not be as memorable as some of the rap and heavy metal songs in later years, they've been far more offensive.  "Sheik Yerbouti" contained songs like the disco parody, "Dancing Fool" but it was "Jewish Princess" that generated protest from Dinah Shore and anti-defamation groups.   With lyrics like this, can you blame them?

I need a hairy little Jewish Princess
With a brand new nose
Who knows where it goes
I want a steamy little Jewish Princess
With over-worked gums, who squeaks when she cums
I don't want no troll
I just want a Yemenite hole

Frank had that rare blend of being extremely clever while being offensive, which is something our #8 spot is severely lacking.

#8 "AS NASTY AS THEY WANNA BE" by The 2 Live Crew

Nobody pushed free speech to the limit as far as The 2 Live Crew, who's raunchy stage show, lyrics, and even album covers made their hometown Florida government nearly have a brain aneurism trying to keep them in control.  Though their previous album featured the college classic "Hey, We Want Some Pussy!", it was "Me So Horny" with the unforgettable sample from "Full Metal Jacket" that did the trick.  And you can't not like those gorgeous brown asses on the cover.

#7 "FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET" by Public Enemy

Already under fire for anti-Semitic comments made by ex-bandmember Professor Griff, Chuck D threw all caution to the wind and came out with arguably the best rap record of all time.  With songs like "Burn Hollywood Burn", "Fight The Power", "Welcome to the Terrordome", and the title track, it seemed like conservative white America really was afraid.  "Fight the Power" became a first pumping anthem of the Summer.

#6 "STAINED CLASS" by Judas Priest

2 idiot kids made a suicide pact, resulting in one dead from a gunshot wound, while the other survived with half his face blown off.  After it was discovered they were listening to this Judas Priest album before the act, the parents did the natural thing and sued the group, claiming subliminal insertion of the words "Do it, Do it!" forced the kids to act out the suicide.  Judas Priest won, but only after a lengthy court battle.  You can read about it here. Another nod is due to Ozzy Osbourne, who's song "Suicide Solution" inspired a similar case.

#5 "TWO VIRGINS" by John Lennon

OY!  It's bad enough that you have to look at John Lennon's cock on the cover of this record, but Yoko Ono is one of the only naked women that could make you go blind even if you didnt' masturbate.  Most stores sold it in a brown paper bag (perhaps to vomit in after you purchased it) or with small adhesive stickers covering up the naughty bits.  Almost as revolting is the pretentiousness that surrounded the album, as this quote about it from Lennon shows:

"The music for Two Virgins comes without clothes and without clichés," He added, "A music metaphor for two persons seeing each other for the first time and then seeing what's there. The naked album cover is actually and extension of the music, for it exemplifies the idea of confrontation, an interaction between John and Yoko - a real East Meets West album."


It wasn't the first punk rock album, but it's certainly the most notorious.  "God Save The Queen" reached #1 in England, despite being banned by the BBC.  In fact, on the music charts, their spot was left blank, as to not acknowledge their place on the list.  No holds were barred on this gem as "Anarchy In the UK" starts with Johnny Rotten screaming, "I am the Anti-Christ!"  Many people thought he was.  Bollocks still stands out, nearly 30 years later, as one of the best rock albums of all time.  

#3 "COP KILLER" by Body Count

Never before has one song pissed off so many people.  Ice T had recorded several albums before, but when he put the metal group, Body Count, together, the song "Cop Killer" drove every conservative person in America insane.  Even Charlton Heston took time to speak out against it.  Many stores wouldn't carry the album, and after months of intense pressure, Warner Brothers and Ice-T agreed to re-release the album without the controversial track (and the album retitled "Body Count".  Though it's a funny world when an album's considered "OK" because they take off "Cop Killer" but leave wholesome gems like "Evil Dick" and "KKK Bitch" behind. 


There's absolutely nothing safe about this 5 song EP.  Even the band's name, which was allegedly an acronym for "We Are Sexual Perverts", was offensive.  When Tipper Gore and her PMRC group fought for putting warning stickers on albums with offensive materials, W.A.S.P's "Fuck Like a Beast" album was Public Enemy #1.  All she had to do was hold this baby up during the hearings and shock the entire room.


There's been plenty of outrageous rap music through the years, but you could not have had The Geto Boys singing about raping a corpse with a chainsaw, or any of the Tupac Thug Life nonsense if it weren't for the groundbreaking "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A.  Before this, most focused on bragging about how bad you were, or your Adidas shoes, but Dr. Dre, Easy E, Ice Cube, and rest scared a ton of people with songs like "FUCK THA POLICE", "GANGSTA GANGSTA" and the title track.  N.W.A. tapped into a rage that was unheard of at the time, and served as a prelude for the Rodney King and OJ Simpson madness to come. 


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