We take a look back at five of our favourite, once banned, music videos to see what made them so controversial.
It's thirty years ago this week that MTV banned Madonna's Justify My Love video. Back in 1990 it was deemed that chicly shot, arty portrayals of men and women enjoying a bit of casual BDSM in the luxury of a hotel room were all a bit too much for Joe Public to appreciate. Fast forward three decades and we're post Fifty Shades, still amidst a pandemic of none too subtle, highly suggestive twerking in almost every Hip-Hop video and nearly every new gritty drama worth it's weight seems to feel the need to throw in a vivid sex scene, full frontal nudity or even self-abuse. Obviously there is an issue of age ratings and watershed times to be considered when certain platforms make their decisions but we thought it high time we took a look back at five of our favourite, once banned videos.
David Bowie - The Next Day.
Who would ban a David Bowie video for heavens sake, surely the man is a legend and undeserving of such an annoyance. Well it seems dressing as a messiah figure and depicting a bloody stigmata to a group of scantily clad women in a bar whilst they're toying with the affections and attentions of various religious figures would do it. You Tube apparently didn't like the near nudity or gory eye balls even though the video starred, as well as Bowie himself, Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax.
Frankie's provocative, sexually charged, Relax, released in 1983 by Paul Morley's ZTT Records, not only had the dubious honour of being a banned single by the BBC but it also had, at one point, both of it's videos banned by the BBC and MTV. Frankie's main protagonists did nothing to help at the time taking out adds depicting them in leather and rubber with captions reading, 'All the nice boys love sea men". The first video shot in a S&M gay bar, that has long since resurfaced, was subsequently replaced by a Godley and Creme version but even that was banned for a time.
Madonna - Justify My Love.
Shot in Paris by Jean-Baptiste Mondino in black and white, the video to accompany Madonna's song Justify My Love, is all very film noir and cinematic. As videos go, it is still pretty racy, although clearly not as racy as when it was released thirty years ago. The BDSM referencing, at times voyeuristic and provocative film is one of a string of Madonna videos, including Erotica, to be banned over time on different networks but then Madge has always loved to push the boundaries and challenge perceptions of decency, maybe she was ahead of her time and paving the way.
Queen - I Want To Break Free.
So, men wearing women's cloths! Outrageous I know. Well back in 1984 it clearly was too unpalatable for those wholesome, God fearing folk over at MTV. A vacuuming Freddie Mercury could clearly unhinge a nation with his camp, quite clearly tongue-in-cheek, depiction of your average housewife of the day. Queen also had their song Body Language banned for being too erotic! (1982 wasn't quite ready for that then)
The Cardigans - My Favourite Game.
With a name like The Cardigans you really can't imagine that there would be any likelihood of causing even the slightest offense to anyone can you? Well when The Cardigans released their video to accompany the song, My Favourite Game, they did cause controversy and the video was, in it's original form banned. The images of reckless driving in the Mojave Desert were certainly too much for MTV UK. The Cardigans joint song writer Nina Persson is seen driving her black 1974 Cadillac Elderado all over the road having jammed the accelerator pedal down with a weighty rock. Four different endings were made by director Jonas Akerlund followed, because of the banning, by five different edits in an attempt to get it shown. In the end cut number five became the most played in the UK. Over in America, and elsewhere, they were less fussy about the many crashes, the deliberate maiming of pedestrians and the potential to encourage joy riding, they just let it play!
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