I want to make sure we don’t forget about the time when John Denver and Frank Zappa stood up for what is good about America.
Original Design with black and white Tipper Stickers
In the Fall of 1985, the U.S. Senate opened hearings on the so-called “Porn Rock”. This is why we have the “Tipper Sticker” now. You know, the sticker that automatically makes kid want something: Parental Advisory Explicit Content.
Among the opposing witnesses were John Denver and Frank Zappa.
They were not afraid. You should never be.
John Denver said this:"Mr. Chairman, the suppression of the people of a society begins in my mind with the censorship of the written or spoken word. It was so in Nazi Germany. It is so in many places today where those in power are afraid of the consequences of an informed and educated people.
In a mature, incredibly diverse society such as ours, the access to all perspectives of an issue becomes more and more important. Those things which in our experience are undesirable generally prove to be unfurthering and sooner or later become boring. That process cannot and should not be stifled."
(the testimony page 65)
Frank Zappa’s brilliant testimony begins with this: "The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal’s design.
It is my understanding that in law First Amendment issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation.
No one has forced Mrs. Baker or Mrs. Gore to bring Prince or Sheena Easton into their homes. Thanks to the Constitution, they are free to buy other forms of music for their children. Apparently, they insist on purchasing the works of contemporary recording artists in order to support a personal illusion of aerobic sophistication. Ladies, please be advised: The $8.98 purchase price does not entitle you to a kiss on the foot from the composer or performer in exchange for a spin on the family Victrola.
Taken as a whole, the complete list of PMRC demands reads like an instruction manual for some sinister kind of toilet training program to house-break all composers and performers because of the lyrics of a few. Ladies, how dare you?"
To create this image, I manipulated cover art images from John Denver’s album Windsong and Frank Zappa’s album Jazz From Hell which got one of those explicit content stickers (even though it was an instrumental album)