The Rise of the PMRC


Tipper Gore

In November 1985, I happened to see a copy of People Magazine on the dining room table. On the front cover was a picture of Madonna and the title was “Has Rock Gone Too Far?” Naturally, I had to read the article therein and that was how I first learned about the Parents Music Resource Center. Founded by Tipper Gore, wife of then senator Al Gore and Susan Baker, wife of then Treasury Secretary James Baker, the PMRC  to combat the concerns of the effect rock music was having on young minds, heavy metal was particularly a prime target for the “Washington Wives.” Their concern was that explicit lyrics and ‘shocking’ music videos were having a potentially bad influence on children. What the PMRC wanted was records being rated in regards to sex, violence, drugs and the occult. They also wanted stations like MTV not to play songs which fell into the above ratings and ask record companies to reassess their contracts with performers who might act too sexual or violent on stage. They went on to produce the “Filthy Fifteen’ songs as an example.

Filthy Fifteen

  1. Prince- Darling Nikki- References to sex and masturbation
  2. Sheena Easton- Sugar Walls- sex
  3. Judas Priest- Eat Me Alive- sex and violence
  4. Vanity- Strap On Robbie Baby- sex
  5. Motley Crue- Bastard- Violence, language
  6. AC/DC- Let Me Put My Love Into You- sex
  7. Twisted Sister- We’re Not Gonna Take It- violence
  8. Madonna- Dress You Up- sex
  9. W.A.S.P.- Fuck Like a Beast- sex, violence, language
  10. Def Leppard- High ‘N’ Dry- drugs and alcohol use
  11. Mercyful Fate- Into the Coven- occult
  12. Black Sabbath- Trashed- drug and alcohol use
  13. Mary Jane Girls- In My House- sex
  14. Venom- Possessed- Occult
  15. Cyndi Lauper- She Bop- sex and masturbation

For further amusement please watch this video:

What resulted from the PMRC’s actions was a Senate hearing. Coming to defend rock music was John Denver, Frank Zappa and Dee Snider, all of which testified before the Senate committee putting forward their views as what they and I saw as an attempt by the PMRC at censorship. So for your further entertainment, I have included parts of the testimonies of all three of these great men.

In the end, the record industry agreed to voluntarily police itself and put advisory labels on records whose lyrics some might have found offensive. Rumours abounded at the time that the record industry was trying to get lawmakers to put a tax or surcharge on blank tapes because they feared everyone was taping their albums and they were losing money from it. Therefore, they agreed to the labels in the hopes that Congress would look into the taping ‘situation.’ Personally, I believe this to be true and there has been evidence to support it. The record companies sold the musicians up the river in an attempt to garnish more profit.

Did the PMRC change anything? Is their depravity and insurrection in the streets because of rock music? I don’t think so to either question. I do think that the one thing to come out of the PMRC’s actions was that it would cost Al Gore the presidency fifteen years later. The fear of having someone like Tipper Gore as First Lady scared the shit out of me and her extreme actions on music made me damn sure I wasn’t going to vote for her husband. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 by the way.

Next post: I was going to save this more towards the end of 1985 but this post has motivated me to post it next. WASP- The Last Command

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:













13 Responses to “The Rise of the PMRC”

  1. They should put that list out as a compilation album…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Dude, you are gonna flip when I post my Alice Cooper interview from 1987. They talk about Tipper and Al. You are gonna love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha, imagine what the PRMC would make of some of Eminem’s music 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s interesting about musicians supporting it to get support against home taping.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember it well. The PMRC were so annoying, as if we didn’t get enough stick anyway because of the way we dressed and what we listened to. I thought Denver, Zappa and Snyder gave brilliant accounts at the time, and the three went up notches in my already high appreciation of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] Source: The Rise of the PMRC | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

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