The Filthy Fifteen

The 80s is easily one of my favorite decades of music. Although I did not exist during this decade (lol,) it was the decade where my parents blossomed from children to young adults. So many iconic things happened during the 80s. Michael. Prince. Madonna. Whitney. Flawless gems were created and timeless memories will always remain. Another thing that occurred during the 80s was parental advisory stickers to be listed on albums that contain explicit content.

The PMRC (Parent Music Resource Center) was a committee formed in 1985 to increase parental control over what children are consuming on studio albums released to the general public. Founded by Tipper Gore, Susan Baker, Pam Howar and Sally Nevius, the ladies suggested the RIAA & music industry to develop a rating system that is similar to the film rating system that the MPAA has in place.

The whole ordeal was controversial due to the fact that it shifted the whole dynamic of music at that point. The sticker was applied to albums released post 1985, and when you think about gave consumers a more “forbidden fruit” feeling. While certain retailers banned the sales of albums with the sticker applied, it made consumers want the albums even more..essentially generating more sales for the artists. If you ask me, it is a win/win.

1. Prince’s “Darling Nikki.”

Written by Prince.

Lyrical content: Sex/Masturbation.

 I knew a girl named Nikki/I guess you could say she was a sex fiend/I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine

Darling Nikki is one of my favorite songs from the Purple Rain album. Telling the story of a “sex fiend” named Nikki who seduces the singer. If you love the film, The Kid directs the song towards Apollonia for working with his rival Morris Day.

This song alone is responsible for the parental advisory sticker due to Tipper Gore witnessing her daughter Karenna listening to Darling Nikki at the age of 11.

2. Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls.”

Written by Alexander Nevermind (a pseudonym used by Prince).

Lyrical content: Sex

Blood races to your private spots/Lets me know there’s a fire … /Come spend the night inside my sugar walls

The power of Prince! The Scottish singer Sheena scored a hit with the sultry record “Sugar Walls.” The title alone is assumed to be an euphemism for the lining of a vagina. I mean, it is not that subtle, but Tipper Gore wasn’t having it chile!

While the music video did not contain controversial imagery, the people had it banned due to visual imagery. Make it make sense. Nevertheless, the song peaked in the top ten on the pop and R&B charts and number one on the dance charts.

3. Judas Priest’s “Eat Me Alive”

Written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford, & K.K. Downing.

Lyrical content: sex/violence.

 “Groan in the pleasure zone/Gasping from the heat … /I’m gonna force you at gunpoint/To eat me alive … /Squealing in passion as the rod steel injects.”

Gore considered the album cut from Judas Priest to be at the top of the list due to the lyrics being about oral sex at gunpoint. The group stated that the song wasn’t meant to be taken so literal, however went into writing the song knowing that the song would catch some type of attention. The song wasn’t released as a single.

4. Vanity’s “Strap On Robbie Baby”

Written by Robbie Bruce

Lyrical content: Sex

Come on and stroke me/Strap this thing on tight/If you want to glide down my hallway, it’s open/Strap yourself in and ride.

Vanity (of Vanity 6 fame) went solo and signed to Motown around the mid 80s, and released two solo albums with Motown. Her solo debut album “Wild Animal” contained the album cut “Strap On Robbie Baby.” It was never released as a single, but was notorious for its lyrical content.

5. Motley Crue’s “Bastard.”

Written by Nikki Sixx

Lyrical content: Violence/Language

Out go the lights, in goes my knife/Pull out his life, consider that bastard dead

Motley Crue’s breakthrough album “Shout at the Devil” contained the album cut “Bastard,” which Gore found to be offensive due to the lyrics listed above. 😭

6. AC/DC’s “Let Me Put My Love Into You”

Written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson

Lyrical content: Sex

Don’t you struggle/Don’t you fight/Let me put my love into you/Let me cut your cake with my knife

AC/DC discussed how the attack on Rock & Roll disrupts the whole meaning of freedom of speech.

7. Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”

Written by Dee Snider

Lyrical content: Violence

We’ll fight the powers that be … /We’re not gonna take it

Written by vocalist Dee Snider, the top 40 hit was truly a song of teen rebellion and sports anthem!

8. Madonna’s “Dress You Up”

Written by Andrea LaRusso & Peggy Stanziale

Lyrical content: Sex

Gonna dress you up in my love/All over your body

Madonna’s reign began in the early 80s. Her breakthrough album “Like a Virgin” contained the Nile Rodgers produced “Dress You Up.” Deemed too sexual for the PMRC. It’s like it was subtle, but not that subtle I guess lol.

9. W.A.S.P.’s “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)”

Written by Blackie Lawless

Lyrical content: Sex, language and violence

I got pictures of naked ladies lying on my bed … /I’m making artificial love for free/I start to howl in heat/I fuck like a beast

This song definitely was not that subtle, but either way it made the list. 🤣 Released as the group’s debut single, it was supposed to be the album opener on their self-titled debut album…but Capitol Records didn’t want major retial outlets to ban the record.

10. Def Leppard’s “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)”

Written by Steve Clark, Rick Savage & Joe Elliott

Lyrical content: Drug and alcohol use.

Saturday, I feel right/I’ve been drinking all day … /I got my whiskey/I got my wine/I got my woman/And this time, the lights are going out

The title track to the group’s multi-platinum album, the song was criticized for its lyrics that describe alcohol use and intoxication.

11. Mercyful Fate’s “Into The Coven”

Written by King Diamond

Lyrical content: Occult

Come, come into my coven/And become Lucifer’s child

This song falls at number 11, and do not understand why it was even included on the list, but if gave the group more promotion.

12. Black Sabbath’s “Trashed”

Written by Tony Iommi, Ian Gillan, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Lyrical content: Drug and alcohol use

I drank a bottle of tequila and I feel real good … /I knew I wouldn’t make it the car/Just wouldn’t make it.

Trashed made the list for the content of drugs and alcohol. Not sure why, but it is there.

13. Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House”

Written by Rick James.

Lyrical content: Sex

When it comes down to makin’ love/I’ll satisfy your every need/And every fantasy you think up

This song was chosen on the list for its alleged sexual innuendo. In My House is not that subtle, but it is a bop! I mean what do you expect from a song composed by the King of Sex, RICK JAMES?! Nevertheless, the song became a number one hit and is one of the Mary Jane Girls’ most timeless hits.

14. Venom’s “Possessed”

Written by Conrad Thomas Lant & Jeff Dunn.

Lyrical content: Occult

I drink the vomit of the priests/Make love with the dying whore/Satan, as my master incarnate/Hell, praise to the unholy host

Making the list for the occult lyrics, Possessed is a thrash metal song which that group stated that it is just a rock n’ roll song that shouldn’t have been taken so literal.

15. Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop”

Written by Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Broughton Lunt, Gary Corbett & Rick Chertoff.

Lyrical content: Sex/Masturbation

I want to go south and get me some more … /They say I better stop or I’ll go blind

Cyndi Lauper’s She Bop was considered controversial because of the lyrics mainly being about masturbation. Lauper stated that she wanted the song to be a dance song for kids, and wanted them to understand the meaning when they got older. Nevertheless, the song became an international hit!

I guess the moral of the story is that umm…..IT WAS NEVER THAT SERIOUS. However, the controversy that stemmed from the filthy fifteen and the parental advisory that it may have helped boost sales for albums to this day. -MJ

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