With the constantly evolving societal standards of decency, do you ever look back at a controversial music video and wonder what the problem was?
In listening to a list of Queen's best songs, I was shocked to hear that one of their music videos was banned by MTV for something that's pretty tame, and even comical, by today's standards. In looking further into banned music videos, there are plenty that got the ax back in the day that would probably get a pass on Cartoon Network today.
Which of these videos do you think shouldn't have been banned? Do you think any of them would still be banned today?
Cher - If I Could Turn Back Time
One of Cher's most iconic songs and videos, her concert for the Navy wasn't completely banned by MTV, but was put on a limited rotation time due to Cher's revealing outfit.
Garth Brooks - The Thunder Rolls
Instead of MTV, this video ticked off the folks at CMT. Brooks' video for 'The Thunder Rolls' showed Brooks in a TERRIBLE wig and fake beard playing an abusive husband having an affair. Upon returning home to a wife who now knows his secret, the husband beats his wife in front of their daughter, effectively getting the video banned from Country Music Television out of belief the video was glorifying spousal abuse. Due to rights issues, you can't even find the video on YouTube or any of Brooks' music on iTunes.
Queen - I Want to Break Free
Departing from their regular music videos, Queen was looking to express a more fun side to their group and show they didn't take themselves too seriously. Here, the group all dressed in drag in an imitation of the British Soap Opera 'Coronation Street'. However, the image of four men dressed as women was too much for MTV to handle and the video was banned.
Michael Jackson - Black or White
Premiering on November 14, 1991 simultaneously in 27 countries, Michael Jackson's 'Black or White' was the biggest music video debut of its time and caused immediate backlash. At the end of the short-film, Jackson dances in an alley and destroys a car with racist and derogatory phrases on it. The violent destruction of the car, the racist phrases, and Jackson's crotch-grabbing dance caused enough backlash that Jackson issued an apology along with an edited version of the video. The full unedited video was only played overnight on MTV.
Motörhead - Killed By Death
The 1984 release from English band Motörhead was quickly pulled from MTV's video selection due to the violent nature of the video, mainly the depiction of Lemmy being electrocuted in an electric chair.
Megadeth - In My Darkest Hour
The most tame video of the bunch, Megadeth's 'In My Darkest Hour' music video was banned for the perceived meaning of the song, not the video itself. MTV incorrectly believed the song glorified suicide, though Dave Mustaine repeatedly explained it was about the death of his friend and former Metallica band-mate Cliff Burton and that he was not informed of the death by the other members of Metallica, instead finding out through word-of-mouth.
Twisted Sister - Be Chrool To Your Scuel
The ever controversial Twisted Sister saw their collaboration with fellow controversial rocker Alice Cooper kicked off MTV for depicting high school kids as zombies engaging in romantic acts.
One of the earliest videos, if not thee earliest video, to be banned by MTV, this cover by Val Halen caused controversy with its opening showing a tied up woman being fondled by two little people.
This song is special in that the video itself wasn't banned, but it caused something else to be banned. Madonna is no stranger to controversial videos and videos relegated to MTV's late-night lineup. With the video for 'Like a Prayer', Madonna witnesses a black man wrongfully accused of the murder of a white girl. The video contained religious symbols like the stigmata as well as racist imagery such as the KKK and a burning cross, and culminated with Madonna kissing a black saint, who was incorrectly believed to be a representation of Jesus. With the quick backlash from the Catholic church, Pepsi was threatened with boycotts if it didn't drop its commercial featuring Madonna and the song. Pepsi caved and the commercial was only aired once.
Watch the original music video HERE.
Britney can blame her ex for this one. After the controversial Super Bowl Half-time show with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, MTV cracked down on any videos they worried would be considered too sexual. One of the casualties was Spears' new video for 'Toxic', which was pushed to the overnight schedule.