Somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 percent of the people reading this think music censorship is stupid. But it's not going anywhere -- music is a business, and if advertisers or retailers think a song about boners or racism is bad for business, they'll push to get that shit shut down. We can only take solace in the fact that at some point, censorship often descends into hilarious self-parody. For instance ...
6An Album With No Lyrics Earns a "Parental Advisory" Sticker
For whatever reason, the wives of public figures in the 1980s were expected to be sanctimonious moral crusaders, and Tipper Gore was the most crusadingest of all.
That's her dancing to (presumably) 2 Live Crew.
In 1985, Gore co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an advocacy group that sought to restrict the youth's access to such dangerous and prurient songs as Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which is currently terrorizing civilization as an Extended Stay America commercial). During an August 1985 Senate hearing on the PMRC's proposals to censor undesirable music, noted Satanic perverts Frank Zappa, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, and, uh, John Denver eloquently spoke out against the PMRC's efforts (and failed to subsequently form the world's most evil supergroup).
Zappa in particular spoke maybe a smidge too eloquently for his own good. In explaining to Congress how it is parents' responsibility to pay attention to what their children are listening to, Zappa compared the PMRC's agenda to a "sinister kind of 'toilet training program' to house-break all composers," and their mission to "treating dandruff by decapitation." Here's part of his testimony. And as for Zappa's explanation as to how the PMRC scored a Senate inquiry, it went a little something like "a couple of blow jobs here and there and bingo, you get a hearing!"
So when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began slapping "Parental Advisory" stickers on albums at the PMRC's behest, it wasn't entirely surprising that Zappa's next album, the 1986 Grammy winner Jazz from Hell, carried one of these labels. No, what was surprising was that Jazz from Hell was entirely instrumental, leaving the sonic naughtiness up to the listener's imagination.
It's unclear whether the RIAA took umbrage with the album's title, a single electronic track dubbed "G-Spot Tornado" (above), or the fact that, during the 1985 Senate hearings, Zappa accused the Washington wives of being a cult "intent on running the Constitution of the United States through the family paper shredder," but we wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter.