The North Texas Daily (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 69, No. 45, Ed. 1 Tuesday, November 19, 1985 Page: 4 of 8
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Tuesday, November 10,1086
Hirmlng' music trend spurs album controversy
By ROD WOODRUFF
“Eat Me Alive,” by Judas Meat.
Ling said lyrics from the Twisted Sister song includes
these verses: “Your hands am tied, your legs ate strapped
. . . you’re going under the blade.” Judas Priest’s “Eat
Me Alive” deals with oral sex at gunpoint, Ling said.
After months of controversy over the labeling and
possible rating of rock ’n’ roll albums, the war of words .... --------------------- .— ----—- —
between the opposing groups ended with the raising of He said that these types of songs have a great impact on
a white flag and a compromise by both sides. the children who listen to them.
In conflict were the Parents Music Resource Center “When this music is listened to by 12-year-olds,
and members of the recording industry. 11-year-olds and 10-year-olds, it moves from being a
In the end, the Recording Industry Association of reinforcer and encourager into the role of educator. Many
America, in rompiiance with the PMRC, announced that of these young children are being educated in these things
some albums with sexual, violent or other objectionable before they have any kind of frame of reference to property
lyrics would include warning labels stating, “Explicit
Lyrics: Parental Advisory” or have the lyrics on sheets
of paper outside the album covers.
The whole matter began this May when a group of
Washington women, including wives of several U.S.
senators, organized a meeting to discuss what they
perceived as an alarming new trend in rock music lyrics
and their references to violent sexuality, drug abuse and
It was this meeting that gave birth to the PMRC. The
group’s main spokeswomen were Tipper Gore, wife of
Sen. Albert Gore, D.-Tenn., and Susan Baker, wife of
Secretary of the Treasury James Baker. They began
appearing on news programs all over the United States,
understand,” Ling said.
Sen. Paula Hawkins of Florida said that too much
responsibility is being placed on parents for their children's
behavior when there might be outside influences involved
“It’s the parent we blame when the child commits
suicide; it's the parents we blame when the child bums
down a building,” Hawkins said. “How much guilt can
we place on these parents without offering them some
help?” she asked.
Athough disagreement between the PMRC and the
recording industry was dominant throughout the hearing,
the two groups did agree on something. The recording
industry agreed with the PMRC that there are certain
appealing Vis iivwa jm/giuuia wi •••» ------------’ —o---- -----------------
voicing their concerns and discussing how they planned albums that contain inappropriate messages for children.
to combat the objectionable lyrics and the bands that
It all came to a climax in late September when a Senate
hearing was called to discuss what the PMRC terms pom
rock and to discuss what could be done to control the
spread of the music. PMRC representatives faced off
against musicians and recording artists, and the battle
started. Susan Baker began, voicing PMRC’s concern
“There is a new element of vulgarity, violence and
brutality to women that is unprecedented. While a few
outrageous recordings have always existed, the prolifera-
tion of songs glorifying rape, sadomasochism, incest,
the occult and suicide ... is alarming,” Baker said.
Jeff Ling, a PMRC consultant, said that two youths
committed suicide while listening to AC/DC’s song “Shoot
to Thrill.” Ling said other songs that were objectionable
included “Fade to Black,” by Metallica, which centers
on despair and suicide; “Suicide Solution,” by Ozzy
Osbourne; “Under the Blade,” by Twisted Sister; and
But people in the recording industry insist that demands
for labeling and the methods of labeling are extreme
and even unconstitutional. One outspoken musician was
“The PMRC has created a lot of confusion with
improper comparisons between song lyrics, videos, record
packaging, radio broadcasting and live performances.
These are all different mediums, and the people who
work in them have the right to conduct their business
without trade-restraining legislation whipped up like an
instant pudding by the wives of Big Brother,” Zappa
Despite being told that the PMRC was not suggesting
legislation to control music lyrics, Zappa remained
“The establishment of a rating system, voluntary or
otherwise, opens the door to an endless parade of moral
quality control programs, based on certain things Christians
don’t like,” Zappa said.
Continued on Page 5
Photo illustration by CARLENE STARR
Albums courtesy of SOUND WAREHOUSE
Controversial labels, promoted by the Parents Music
Resource Center, have already shown up on albums
in stores. The warning label is aimed to help parents
monitor some of the music their children listen to.
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The North Texas Daily (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 69, No. 45, Ed. 1 Tuesday, November 19, 1985, newspaper, November 19, 1985; Denton, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth723858/m1/4/: accessed March 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.