Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
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uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
 

More Banned Cover Art

By request, and due to the large number of people who have been visiting the first banned cover art article at Freeway Jam, here's the sequel: another dozen albums whose covers were banned, altered or yanked from distribution for varying reasons.

13. The Five Keys: On Stage! (1957)
The Five Keys: On Stage!
What could be wrong with this cover? Here we have a stage picture of the Five Keys, a doo-wop band from Virgina best known for "Out Of Sight, Out of Mind", in snazzy matching suits. They weren't known as rabble rousers or troublemakers, and their sweet brand of harmonic r&b was certainly tame. The trouble, it seems, is due to the unfortunate placement of leader Rudy West's right hand (West is on the far left), which gave the appearance of a male appendage. Subsequent releases airbrushed it out.

14. Battered Wives: Battered Wives (1978)
Battered Wives: Battered Wives (1978)
Battered Wives were a Canadian punk band that released three albums from 1978-1980. Their 1978 album landed them in hot water with feminists who objected to the band's offensive name, the front-and-center placement of the woman's butt on the cover, and the band's logo, a lipstick-smeared fist (which many thought was smeared with blood). After numerous protests, some stores refused to stock the album. Given the band's punk posturing, they may have welcomed the controversy, but they never sold enough to last very long.

15. Guns 'n' Roses: Appetite For Destruction (1987)
Guns 'n' Roses: Appetite For Destruction (1987)
Guns 'n' Roses have never been a band to turn to for good taste; their music could be sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, and just plain ignorant. Their debut album managed to infuriate women who found the cover art, by noted artist Robert Willimas, to be offensive; it appears to be the aftermath of a back-alley rape. After early pressings, the cover art was moved to the inside cover, and replaced with the skulls and cross that remains there to this day.

16. Jane's Addiction: Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)
Jane's Addiction: Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)
Jane's Addiction released their sophomore album in 1990 with original artwork by Perry Farrell on the cover. A cross between outsider art and Mexican devotional art, the cover is striking, and not particularly offensive. However, a number of major chain stores decided the public morals would be better served with a ban, and the record was pulled from the shelves. A second cover, plain white, with the album title, and a quote from the Bill of Rights was substituted for these outlets.

17. 2 Live Crew: As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989)
2 Live Crew: As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989)
This album, by Miami based rap group 2 Live Crew, stirred up a hornet's nest. Objecting to both the album cover, featuring g-stringed ladies displaying their assets, and the lyrical content, which was 'unenlightened' to put it charitably, the album made history by being declared obscene in federal court. Three record store clerks were arrested for selling the disc, as were some band members. The controversy helped boost sales in the places where the album remained available.

18. Roxy Blue: Want Some? (1992)
Roxy Blue: Want Some? (1992)
Heavy Metal band Roxy Blue released only one album, on Geffen records, in 1992. The cover features a leering Uncle Sam on the cover, his arm around a scantily clad mistress, his hand cupping her derriere. Far worse images can be seen on television on any given day during after school hours, and it's hard to see why this album cover was singled out by retailers as offensive. Perhaps if it hadn't been Uncle Sam, they would've left it alone. The chains wouldn't stock the album, which killed the sales, and prematurely ended Roxy Blue's career.

19. Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1969)
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1969)
The cover of Jimi Hendrix's 1969 masterpiece, Electric Ladyland, was quickly banned in the U.S., for obvious reasons. A substitute cover featuring Jimi's face was substituted and remains on U.S. pressings to this day. It should be noted that this album cover wasn't banned in Europe, apparantly without harm to the public morals. Import copies of this album have always been among the best selling imported records in the U.S.

20. Blind Faith: Blind Faith (1969)
Blind Faith: Blind Faith (1969)
Along with Electric Ladyland, Blind Faith was one of the more important rock releases of 1969. The band was the first rock supergroup, formed by Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker of Cream with Stevie Winwood of Traffic and Rick Grech of Family. Their lone album, Blind Faith, featured this photo of a topless 13-year old girl. The cover is anything but titillating; at first glance, even her gender is unclear. Re-issues substituted a band photo instead.

21. Scorpions: Lovedrive (1979)
Scorpions: Lovedrive (1979)
German heavy metal band Scorpions managed to get two album covers banned in the 70's. The first, Virgin Killer, was nixed for its nude cover of a pre-pubescent girl. The second, Lovedrive, was banned for this bubblegum mishap on the cover. Original pressings in the U.S. were wrapped in a plain wrapper. Re-issues substituted a black cover with a blue scorpion on it. Once again, it's fairly hard to see now what all the fuss was about; far more tawdry images are readily available in all media.

22. The Beautiful South: Welcome To The Beautiful South (1989)
The Beautiful South: Welcome To The Beautiful South (1989)
The debut album from successful British alternative pop/rock band The Beautiful South originally featured this cover, with a woman pointing a revolver into her mouth. The cover actually matches a lot of the lyrical material, which is violent and unsettling, subversively set to lovely melodies and tasteful instrumentation. Objecting to the violent insinuations of this elegant but disturbing cover, retailers called for a replacement, and one was delivered featuring two teddy bears. One can argue the teddy bears were worse, as they didn't tip off the casual buyer to the lyrics contained within.

23. Negativland: U2 (1991)
Negativland: U2 (1991)
Avant-garde sound collage pioneers Negativland found themselves in a world of trouble after this release. The single contained a now-famous recording of America's top-40 deejay Casey Casum having a major meltdown, and samples of U2's "I Still haven't Found What I'm Looking For" , which got them sued by both U2 and Casum, and nearly put them out of business completely. The cover was included in the lawsuit, for misleading consumers into thinking the disc was a U2 release.

24. Mom's Apple Pie: Mom's Apple Pie (1972)
Mom's Apple Pie: Mom's Apple Pie (1972)
Mom's Apple Pie were a fairly run-of-the-mill hard rock/funk band of the early 70's. Their place in rock history is due to the album cover of their 1972 debut. Within the missing slice of pie is a fairly detailed vulva, oozing what appears to be semen, while Mom licks her lips. The cover was yanked from the stores fast, and substituted with an alternate that had the pie slice bricked up, and a tear rolling down Mom's cheek. The album failed to sell, and is now a collector's item (the second version is actually rarer than the first); the band vanished after its release.


     

 
Comments:
The Battered Wives, I have that LP on clear vinyl, what a great set of tunes. Lovers' Balls, Uganda Stomp, Daredevil, wow, now I really feel old.

Always enjoy reading your stuff.

--c8j
 
I hate feminists.
 
Thanks, cajun. One of these days, I want to do an all-Canadian playlist.

asian lep

I think they're extinct now. Disappeared somewhere between riot grrrl and Britney Spears.
 
Roxy Music's Country Life is another good one. My copy of the LP was sold with opaque shrink wrap, and a version without the girls - foilage only - appeared in stores shortly.

I believe the first album on Virgin (!) from semi-obscure Brit-rockers Boxer also came in "nekkid girl" and "band photo" variants. (A boxing glove covered the crotch area on the former.)

"Bomp Idi Bomp" ;->
 
Mom's Apple Pie albumn
I'm sax player on the albumn. Yea, the band was known only 4 that. Terry Knite found us in cleveland during a demo,@ 19 years old what did I care. Now @ 53 have a site tunesnd.com. Music now is pruity and passion.
Thanks 4 mentioning the albumn
 
that was GREAT!!!
 
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