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Timeline

Title Page
Thesis
Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC)
Impact on the World Today
Process Paper
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Timeline
Contact Us

PMRC EVENTS

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1984 - Tipper Gore hears Prince's "Darling Nikki" and is outraged.

 

1985 - Following a meeting at St. Columbia's Church in Washington, D.C. in early May, Tipper Gore, Susan Baker, and twenty wives of influential Washington politicians and businessmen form the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). The PMRC's goals were to lobby the music industry for: lyrics printed on album covers; explicit album covers kept under the counter; a records ratings system that is similar to that used for films; a ratings system for concerts; reassessment of contracts for those performers who engage in violence and explicit sexual behavior on stage; and a media watch by citizens and record companies that will pressure broadcasters to not air "questionable talent."

 

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1985 - Christian rock band DeGarmo & Key see their video for "Six, Six, Six." banned by the channel because their music video is too violent.

1985-The PMRC writes to music industry presidents and CEOs and requests a rating system for music lyrics and imagery. The letter contains a list of the "filthy fifteen" (the artists initially targeted by the PMRC), those artists are AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Cyndi Lauper, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Madonna, Mary Jane Girls, Mercyful Fate, Motley Cre, Prince, Sheena Easton, Twisted Sister, Vanity, Venom, and W.A.S.P.

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1985 - At the urging of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation holds hearings on music lyrics and proposed systems to rate or sticker albums that contain violent or sexually-themed lyrics on September 19th. Representatives from the PMRC and National PTA, Senator Paula Hawkins, and Dr. Joe Stuessy speak in support of regulating music, while three musicians - Frank Zappa, Dee Snider (of Twisted Sister), and John Denver - speak in defense of popular music.

1985 - The Washington Post released a magazine with Tipper Gore's demands:

 

1. Print lyrics on album covers.

2. Keep explicit covers under the counter.

3. Establish a ratings system for records

   similar to that for films.

4. Establish a ratings system for concerts.

5. Reassess the contracts of performers who

   engage in violence and explicit sexual

   behavior onstage.

6. Establish a citizen and record-company media
   watch that would pressure broadcasters not
   to air "questionable-talent."

1985 - Tipper Gore releases 'filthy fifteen', fifteen songs that were given ratings

V for violence

O for references to the occult

D/A for overuse of drugs/alcohol

X for harsh sexual content

Judas Priest -- "Eat Me Alive" -- Rated X

Motley Crue --"Bastard" -- Rated V

Prince -- "Darling Nikki" -- Rated X

Sheena Easton -- "Sugar Walls" -- Rated X

W.A.S.P. -- "(Animal) F-*-*-K Like a Beast" -- Rated X

Mercyful Fate -- "Into the Coven" -- Rated O

Vanity -- "Strap on Robbie Baby" -- Rated X

Def Leppard -- "High ‘n' Dry" -- Rated D/A

Twisted Sister -- "We're Not Gonna Take It" -- Rated V

Madonna -- "Dress You Up" -- Rated X

Cyndi Lauper -- "She Bop" -- Rated X

AC/DC -- "Let Me Put My Love Into You" -- Rated X

Black Sabbath -- "Trashed" -- Rated D/A

Mary Jane Girls -- "My House" -- Rated X

Venom -- "Possessed" -- Rated O

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1989 - The Pennsylvania house passes a bill requiring a warning label on all albums with explicit lyrics. The Pennsylvania legislators place the burden of enforcement (and criminal liability) on the backs of local retailers.

1995-Ten years after the PMRC's creation, the organization's Executive Director, Barbara Wyatt, renews the call for a records ratings system that is similar to the system in place for films and television

1996 - Walmart stops selling CDs that contain content objectionable to listeners.

 

OTHER CENSORSHIP EVENTS

1936 - a gypsy band's song 'Gloomy Sunday' was banned in Hungary for its links to suicide, and America in 1941.

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1936 - Joseph Keller's suicide was blamed on Rezso Seress's 1933 hit, 'Gloomy Sunday'

 

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1951- Radio stations ban Dottie O'Brien's "Four or Five Times" and Dean Martin's "Wham Bam, Thank You Ma'am" fearing they are suggestive.

 

 

1958- The Mutual Broadcasting System drops all rock and roll records from its network music programs, calling it "distorted, monotonous, noisy music."

 

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1959- Link Wray's instrumental classic "Rumble" is dropped from radio stations across the country in January - even though it has no lyrics. The title of the song is thought to be suggestive of teenage violence. When Wray appears on American Bandstand to perform the song, Dick Clark introduces Wray and his band, but refuses to mention the song's title.

1965-Cleveland Mayor Ralph Locher bans all rock concerts in the city following a Rolling Stones performance.

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1966 - Beatles are banned from the radio in Spain and South Africa after saying "we've become more popular than Jesus Christ."

1970- A group known as the Movement to Restore Democracy calls for the banning of rock music to end the spread of Socialism in America.

1970- Country Joe McDonald is fined $500 for uttering an obscenity during a concert performance of his song "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag.”

 

1971- In May, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sends all radio stations telegrams threatening their licenses for playing rock music that glorified drugs.

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1976- The RKO radio chain refuses to play Rod Stewart's hit "Tonight's The Night" until the lyric "spread your wings and let me come inside" is edited from the song.

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1978- British punk band “The Sex Pistols” was initially denied visas to enter the U.S.A. for their first American tour.

 

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1982- Ozzy Osbourne is forbidden from performing in San Antonio, Texas, after he is arrested for urinating on the Alamo. Osbourne's various legal troubles also prevented him from playing in several other cities, including Boston, Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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1985- In October, President Ronald Reagan insinuates that "reactionary" and "obscene" rock music does not deserve Constitutional protection. Reagan states "I don't believe that our Founding Fathers ever intended to create a nation where the rights of pornographers would take precedence over the rights of parents, and the violent and malevolent would be given free rein to prey upon our children."

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1987- A part-time record clerk is arrested in April in Callaway, Florida, for selling a copy of 2 Live Crew's album “2 Live Is What We Are to a fourteen year old boy.”

1990- Missouri legislators introduce a bill in January that forbids the sale of records containing lyrics that are violent, sexually explicit or perverse. Similar measures are introduced in 20 other states.

1990- In March, a Tennessee judge ruled that 2 Live Crew's “Nasty As They Wanna Be” and N.W.A.'s “Straight Outta Compton” are obscene under state law. Anyone arrested for selling the records could face fines from $10,000 to $100,000, depending upon the involvement of minors in the offense.

 

1990- Following the controversy surrounding 2 Live Crew's obscenity battle in Florida, six states pass legislation declaring the band's album Nasty As They Wanna Be legally obscene. The states are Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

1992 - Following the controversy surrounding Ice Cube's album Death Certificate, the state of Oregon makes it illegal to display Ice Cube's image in any retail store. The ban even extends to ads for St. Ides Malt Liquor, which uses Ice Cube as a spokesperson.

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1992- Wal-Mart and K-Mart refuse to stock Nirvana's second major label album, In Utero, because they object to the cover art and one of the song titles. Shortly after the record becomes the number one selling album in the country, the mass merchandisers strike a deal to carry the album. The album's back cover art is subdued and the title of the offending song is changed from "Rape Me" to "Waif Me."