How heavy metal and Satan gave us this sticker

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  • Published on:  Tuesday, April 9, 2019
  • Heavy metal and Satan played a role in the introduction of the explicit lyrics sticker.

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    The explicit lyrics sticker is one of the most recognizable images in American music. Its placement on an album cover signifies you’re going to hear something for adult ears only, and it’s an image we often take for granted. The story behind how we got that sticker is bonkers, to say the least.

    The very public discussion around the advisory label involved the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), a group led by the wives of Washington politicians and a few musicians including Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver.

    While the PMRC’s involvement was allegedly sparked by some raunchy lyrics from Prince’s 1984 album Purple Rain, the debate over rock lyrics had been infiltrating American culture and politics for a decade. The driving force behind that debate was the rise of heavy metal, a genre that saw explosive popularity with the launch of MTV in 1981, and the growing influence of the religious right, who saw rock music as a powerful threat to Christianity.

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    A number of sources went into the research of this piece including Eric Nuzum’s book
    Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America

    Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.
    Previous headline: The devilish history of the explicit lyrics sticker is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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  • Vox


     5 months ago +1287

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  • ひめ いちご

    ひめ いちご

     an hour ago

    Devil is mostly in Black Metal.

  • Sepher Agon

    Sepher Agon

     20 hours ago +1

    + I'm pretty sure this all was done by the C.I.A. as an extension (continuation) of their' project MK Ultra. :(

  • Sepher Agon

    Sepher Agon

     20 hours ago +1

    PMRC was right cause now they're actually sacrificing people. I was a metal head then and still am now, I thought this was ridiculous then, but after what I know now I see that these people were absolutely correct.

  • Dihydrogen Monoxide

    Dihydrogen Monoxide

     21 hours ago

    0:34 - “Parents Music Resource Center” AKA “Karen’s Music Resource Center”

  • BlacKat Pride

    BlacKat Pride


    America is great at blaming the wrong thing... villainize something innocent and normalize what's actually killing people.

  • MiniMight



    is getting pestered by everyone and criticized constantly and having their interests criticized and belittled all the time
    kills theirself
    "IT wAs tHe mUsIc"

  • kirbythebamf



    Parent: I'm an irresponsible person
    Everybody else:

  • kingtkuehn



    Another thing!!! They all received there talent from Me! Your Welcome!

  • Bella Bella

    Bella Bella


    I grew up listening to music, even from a young age, and didn’t watch a lot of tv. In 1970, when I was in the first grade, the kids on the school bus were talking about the new Gentle Ben episode, and I didn’t have a clue what the show was about so I said “I heard Jefferson Airplanes new song!”. The kids looked at me rather confused and the bus driver (still parked in front of the school) turned around and looked surprised and laughed. It wasn’t until somewhat recently that I stopped listening to most rock music, but I love classical music and Gregorian chant, along with liking some opera and non-rock music.

  • Bianca Mitchell

    Bianca Mitchell


    when kids listen to music that was made for adults, they bame the artist trying to brainwash kids

  • Japhy VanSanity

    Japhy VanSanity


    Well constructed and entertaining thank you ! Long live freedom of expression

  • John CO.

    John CO.


    Kids these days with their rock and roll music and their violent video games

  • Hank Igoe

    Hank Igoe

     2 days ago

    who sits around listening to records backwards in the first place? if you're that bored , find a hobby, lol

  • macaron3141592653


     2 days ago

    "when you see heavy metal play on the TV"
    shows motley crue

  • cashewpea peacashew

    cashewpea peacashew

     2 days ago

    My religious relatives be like 7:18

  • cashewpea peacashew

    cashewpea peacashew

     2 days ago

    Me : *listening to rock music *
    My religious relatives: stop listening to rock music coz it's the music of the Devil 👿

  • Audrey Merveille

    Audrey Merveille

     2 days ago

    Correlation doesn’t equal causation!

  • Ghost Cloud Music

    Ghost Cloud Music

     3 days ago

    Why is queensryche on the darker more intense side of metal in their graphic lol

  • jane paige

    jane paige

     3 days ago

    imagine these people hearing pink season by pink guy