In 1985, the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC), led by Tipper Gore, was trying to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing “offensive material.” The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.), which resulted in the “Parental Advisory” sticker now found on new album releases with “questionable content.” The incongruous trio of Frank Zappa, Dee Snider and John Denver were called before Congress to testify in defense of music.
Snider has written an Op-Ed story about his experience, which appeared today on HuffingtonPost.com.
“Thirty years later, everything and nothing has changed,” Snider wrote. “The ultra-conservatives still want to dictate to the masses what they deem acceptable for the general public to see and hear. The record industry is a mere shadow of its former self (apt punishment for its cowardice), and CDs and vinyl albums have almost become ‘novelties’ in a world driven by downloads. Yet, the warning labels still adorn individual track listings and albums online.
“While initially my appearance at those Senate hearings was damaging to my career and reputation, long term it was beneficial, showing people for the first time that I was much more than a screaming ‘Raggedy Ann on acid’ and a fairly intelligent, sentient human being. Fortunately, I have gone onto better things.”
Read more at HuffingtonPost.com.