THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL
RECORDS OF ALL TIME
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
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:
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."
#4 "NEVER MIND THE
BOLLOCKS HERE'S THE SEX PISTOLS" by The Sex Pistols
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
#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.
#2 "ANIMAL (F**K LIKE
A BEAST)" by W.A.S.P.
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.
#1 "STRAIGHT OUTTA
COMPTON" by N.W.A.
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.