According to my mom, 80s music was “too vulgar.” She may not have been wrong, there are a lot of songs from the 80s that are still considered risque.
My mom wasn’t the only one who had that opinion, so many parents thought the same that an American committee was formed in 1985 to increase parental control over the access of children to music deemed “too violent, drug-related, or sexually explicit.”
Here are some songs that made the Parents Music Resource Center group’s “Filthy Fifteen” list, and other songs my parents always scolded me for listening to.
1. “Darling Nikki” – Prince
Prince had his way with the ladies, and so did his songs. I think what my parents disliked about this song was all that background grunting. The words would have sufficed. I’m just glad no one ever caught me watching the music video.
2. “Like A Virgin” – Madonna
Of course, one of the most popular songs of the ’80s had to be banned from being played in my house! This only happened because my sister asked my dad what a virgin is. Needless to say, that conversation was very uncomfortable. Definitely unfair, but this only meant that the song would be playing with the volume on full blast when I was home alone.
3. “Physical” – Olivia Newton-John
This song made me want to run a marathon. I sang to it every time it came on the radio. Yes, it was on the radio, which is how I justified to my parents that the song was appropriate to listen to. It’s only dirty if you have a dirty mind, right?
4. “Touch Me” – Samantha Fox
Samantha Fox was definitely not trying to be subtle when she wrote “Touch Me.” She talks about “pleasure and pain,” and how she’s begging for someone to touch her because she also wants to feel their body. If she thought we might have missed the point of the song, she even added some grunts. My dad hated this song with a passion.
5. “She Bop” – Cyndi Lauper
“She Bop” was so harmless. The catchy lyrics had everyone saying “she bop, he bop, and we bop. I bop, you bop, and they bop.” When my mom told me I shouldn’t sing that song in public anymore, I was shocked. Turns out the song is about masturbation. Who knew?
These next songs were also on my mom’s list of forbidden songs…
6. Let Me Put My Love Into You” – AC/DC
Even if you weren’t a fan of rock music, you were still a fan of AC/DC. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to interpret this song. The title is self-explanatory. No one in your home wants you to scream that famous rock lyric. I mean no one. Not even yourself.
7. “I Want Your Sex” – George Michael
My mom was obsessed with George Michael, and I’m sure I’ve heard her listen to this song a few times, but it wasn’t a song we could be listening to. To be honest, the song was too explicit for me anyway. When George says “huah,” I still cringe.
8. “Me So Horny” – 2 Live Crew
I’d only play this song in my house if I was trying to get on someone’s nerves. And yes I got grounded, if you’re wondering.
Decades later, this song makes me cringe. How could a song like that top the charts in the ’80s? It was extremely vulgar, and the references to sex were quite explicit. I haven’t heard a song on the radio today that talks so openly about sex like “Me So Horny.” I’m starting to sound like my mom now…
9. “Sugar Walls” – Sheena Easton
Prince wrote this song, so you instantly know it’s not going to fly with your parents. A committee actually had to decide whether the song was appropriate or not, and it was ultimately deemed as too sexual. The song was pretty good, aside from the lyrics, “blood races to my private spots.” Couldn’t they have just changed that one line? It would have made my life easier, that’s for sure.
10. “I Touch Myself” – Divinyls
I never paid much attention to the lyrics of this song, and I still don’t today. My friends and I would groove to this song because it had a great beat. That being said, my aunt accidentally hummed to this song once and I just couldn’t look at her the same.
Listen to the full playlist here: