That Time Al and Tipper Gore Teamed Up To Brand Prince a Public Menace

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That Time Al and Tipper Gore Teamed Up To Brand Prince a Public Menace
No wonder he scared the living ? out of ultra-squares such as Al and Tipper Gore. In 1985, the future vice president and planet-saver and his wife were, as Tipper's 1987 best-selling anti-rock, anti-Satanism, anti-sex manifesto put it, Raising PG Kids in an ? Society. Tipper headed up the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), whose sacred document was a list of songs it called "The Filthy Fifteen." These were songs that glorified sex, drugs, Satan, and ? and could pervert your kid—or even lead them to commit suicide. At number one on the list was Prince's "Darling Nikki," from his massive soundtrack record to Purple Rain (jeezus, wasn't that movie a revelation? Of what exactly, I can't remember, but finally, it seemed, a rock star had truly delivered on the genius we all wanted to see emerge from pop music into film).

On page 3 of Raising PG Kids, Tipper explained why that particular song had moved her to create an organization that would use the the threat of government action to clean up "sex and violence in the media":

In December 1984, I purchased Prince's best-selling album Purple Rain for my 11-year-old daughter....When we brought the album home, out it on our stereo, and listened to it together, we heard the words to..."Darling Nikki": "I knew a girl named Nikki/guess [you] could say she was a sex fiend/I met her in a hotel lobby/? with a magazine." The song went on and on, in a similar manner. I couldn't believe my ears! The ? lyrics embarrassed both of us. At first, I was stunned—then I got mad!

Of course, when you're the wife of a second-generation U.S. senator, your mad counts for more than most of the rest of us. In 1985, the Senate wasted its time and our money by holding a hearing on the dread menace of ? lyrics and the whole bang-the-gong medley of backward masking, rock-induced suicide, and sexual promiscuity. Just a few years later, Al and Tipper would reinvent themselves as diehard Grateful Dead fans, the better to look hip while campaigning with Bill and Hillary Clinton (another couple of revanchist baby boomers who burned a hell of a lot time in the 1990s attacking broadcast TV and basic cable as impossibily violent and desperately in need of regulation).

But before pretending to grok the Dead, Al would showboat at "the first session on contents of music and the lyrics of records," where he appeared as a witness in favor of the PMRC's record-labeling system.


  • jono
    jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was just telling my girl this earlier. They weren't doing parental controls on albums when Prince was talking about getting (and giving) head, ? in public places he was a wild boy