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Parents Music Resource Center
| You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was founded in 1985 by Tipper Gore, wife of then-Senator, later-Vice President
and inventor of the Internet Al Gore, to save America from the menace of "filthy" music. And apostrophes, judging by its name.
Tipper was so upset to find her daughter listening to "Darling Nikki" by Prince, what with its lyrics about masturbation in a hotel lobby, that she put two and two together and decided rock‘n’roll was to blame for teen suicide, murder, Satanism, drug and alcohol use, and worse.
Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?!?
The PMRC released a "Filthy Fifteen" list of the worst songs, some of which were obscure up to that point (like "Animal: F*** Like A Beast" by W.A.S.P. and "Strap On Robbie Baby" by Vanity); the list ended up helping the more obscure artists' record sales.
The group then instigated a Senate hearing on "porn rock" in August 1985, at which testimony in opposition to the PMRC and censorship was delivered by Frank Zappa,[notes 1] Dee Snider of Twisted Sister,[notes 2] and John Denver.[notes 3]
During the hearings, the Recording Industry Association of America voluntarily agreed to label potentially naughty records — not with MPAA-like ratings or a descriptive label of what content might lie within an album, but with the generic and now-infamous "PARENTAL ADVISORY - EXPLICIT LYRICS" sticker, which became known as the "Tipper Sticker".
Numerous artists embraced the Tipper Sticker and its subsequent "forbidden fruit" effect to boost album sales. Tipper Stickers also became synonymous with hip-hop albums when gangsta and hardcore rap overwhelmed the genre in the early-to-mid 1990s; a rapper who released an album without a Tipper Sticker would sometimes have their street cred called into question.
The PMRC (and Tipper Gore) remained fodder for jokes, and a target for free speech activists and musicians such as Jello Biafra and Rage Against the Machine, for many years after the Senate hearing.
- Backward masking
- Comics Code Authority
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Moral panic
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- Satanic panic
- Streisand effect
- Zappa went on to use recordings of the hearings on his track "Porn Wars", which lampooned the controversy.
- The band's song "We're Not Gonna Take It" was one of the "Filthy Fifteen".
- In a manner which even manages to surpass the absurdity of the first two, he came under the gun for "Rocky Mountain High" because the PMRC founders thought it was about drugs. No, seriously, they actually thought this.