All Women's Talk

10 of the Most Controversial Music Videos of All Time ...

By Neecey

Miley’s Wrecking Ball must be the most famous music video of most recent times to raise a furore. Robin Thicke caused a stir with his song, but video, nah, not so much. But in the annals of music history there have been some videos that really stand out for the controversy they caused at the time of their release. Remember any of these?

1 Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Released in 1983, the song remained in the top 40 for quite some time. It became controversial when Radio 1 DJ Mike Read refused to play it because of its provocative lyrics and racy artwork. Later, the BBC banned it from its TV and radio stations, but this couldn't stop millions of people buying the single.
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2 Killing in the Name – Rage against the Machine

Killing in the Name was one of the songs on the debut album of politically charged Rage Against the Machine. They released the song about 6 months after the Los Angeles riots, where four white cops allegedly beat a black motorist, Rodney King. This guitar-heavy, loud, foul-mouthed song packed with several "F" words is against police brutality. It became even more controversial when a BBC DJ played the uncensored version live on air.
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3 Anarchy in the UK – Sex Pistols

Some people love the Sex Pistols, and some simply hate them, but none can ignore them. Released in 1976, their debut single managed to raise a musical and social firestorm. Later, their label kicked them off due to their aggressive and provocative stance and they lasted at A&M for about a week. They finally settled with Virgin and released their studio album.
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4 Dear God – XTC

XTC really tried to stretch the limits of freedom of speech with their song "Dear God". With lyrics written by Andy Partridge, it became one of the most controversial music videos of all time for tackling the most controversial subject. The song blames God for all of human suffering. Many record shops refused to keep it in stock to avoid a religious backlash.
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5 Like a Prayer – Madonna

Even though there wasn't any blood, gore, or nudity involved, Madonna managed to make "Like a Prayer" one of the most controversial videos of the 1980s for toying with classic taboos. The video depicts an African-American man as Jesus. It all takes place in a church with burning crosses everywhere. Many Christian communities boycotted Pepsi for sponsoring the video, and later the soda giant dropped their sponsorship with Madonna due to this controversy.
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6 Angel of Death – Slayer

The lyrics of "Angel of Death" made many people call "Slayer" racists and Nazi sympathizers. The video was about Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician who conducted hideous and crazy human experiments during WWII. The video shared graphic details with display of sex change operations, surgeries without anesthesia, gassing, removal of organs, and isolation endurance. The record labels didn't entertain the music video, but Slayer still managed to perform the song in front of thousands of fans.
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7 Heart Shaped Box – Nirvana

This music video stirred controversy due to its lyrics that were related to female genitalia and other metaphors for death, sickness, and the weakness of the human body. It was controversial but couldn't stop Nirvana from winning two MTV music awards back in 1994.
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8 God save the Queen – Sex Pistols

This time the Queen was the target of the Sex Pistols. Released originally during the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the music video highlighted the plight of the working class citizen, but many considered it an act of disdain against the Queen. The BBC banned it, but could stop it from becoming another punk classic.
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9 Jeremy – Pearl Jam

Based on the real story of a sophomore student who committed suicide in front of his classmates, "Jeremy" became controversial for dramatizing the main character's torment. It had the gun, and the blood, and the terrified faces of young kids at school. The controversy couldn't stop Pearl Jam from wining several MTV awards for "Jeremy".
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10 F*ck Da Police and Straight Outta Compton – N.W.a

Eric Wright, an admitted drug dealer started Ruthless Records in the late 1980s and recruited his friends to N.W.A. They released this song in 1989, highlighting their ghetto life back in Compton. California police took the song an outright insult, which made MTV to say no to the video. The controversy couldn't stop people from buying the album – it sold a million copies and made five hip hoppers superstars.
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These sure brought back some memories for me. Which controversial videos have stuck in your mind?

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