; Tangled Up In Blue: Music Banned from My House Growing Up

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Music Banned from My House Growing Up

My dad is a Methodist minister. He considers himself a liberal and an urban sophisticate in exile in America's rural heartland, so he wasn't going to ban rock & roll from the house. But there was music that was forbidden (I've just polled my brother and apparently such craziness did not exist when he came along six years later, so my parents must have realized it was futile at some point.) and I thought y'all would get a kick out of knowing what I was not allowed to listen to.

1. License to Ill by the Beastie Boys. Reason: Vulgar and misogynist. Work around: The mayor's daughter made me a copy and labeled it "Duran Duran."

2. Lies, Lies, Lies by Guns & Roses. Reason: Practically naked chick on the record sleeve and disparaging terms for African Americans and homosexuals in the songs. Work around: Sneaking over to neighbor boy's house to listen to it and learn how to smoke cigarettes and appreciate Anthrax.

3. "Don't you want me, baby?" by Human League. Reason: Grandparents thought my parents were bad parents after the middle brother and I spent a whole Christmas singing "Don't you want me, baby? Don't you want me, oh oh oh oh?" Work around: None. Once the parents got yelled at, our work was done.

4. "I want to hold your hand" by the Beatles. Reason: Some parents don't appreciate a young girl and her brother holding hands and singing "I want to hold your hand" at the top of their lungs from Joliet, Illinois to Rock Island, Illinois. Work around: Once your dad starts swatting wildly into the back seat at LaSalle/Peru, you don't try to come up with a work around for fear he really will pull this car over and give you something to sing about.


Blogger Raizor's Edge said...

The one song I remember my dad threatening me over was "The Bitch is Back" by Elton John. He said if I ever played that song he'd throw all my Elton John records in the Atlantic Ocean. (That wasn't that far a throw, we lived a block from the ocean.)

6:43 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

I grew up in a strict Baptist household (however, they are no longer strict nor Baptist and can drink me under the table these days), and was allowed to listen to some old Motown records my parents had. They also had a pre-Saturday Night Fever Beegees record that I could spin on my Fisher Price player, but they would not buy me any of the Kiss records I begged for.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

I had the Purple Rain album on vinyl, and used to listen to Darling Nikki whenever my parents were gone.

When my mom realized I had it, she made me smash it with a hammer. What she didn't realize was that I substituted the record from Part 2 of American Hot Wax, which I didn't really like all that much. She got the satisfaction of seeing the tiny black shards of record and I got to keep my Prince album. It was downright evil of me. Now I know what it feels like When Doves Cry.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

That is pretty funny. My Baptist mom was pretty liberal in regards to music. After all, she loved rock and roll herself. I remember one time though that she totally freked out at the album cover for the Rolling Stones album Tatto You because it had a naked chick on it with tattoos all over her. She ripped up the cover to my cassette. I still got to keep the tape, but I really like that cover :)I was eleven then. That is about it though. Otherwise, she was alright.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

No one should have to smash their Prince album!

Glen, didn't you ever tell mom it's only rock and roll and I like it?

Aunt B, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" has got to be one of the most innocent rock songs ever. I can remember listening to "Meet The Beatles," my first album, (I was 7 when it came out....yes, that makes me 48 now)and it changed my life. Brilliant tonic changes on "Not A Second Time." The Beatles, even then, were doing things musically that hadn't been done in rock and roll, and even they didn't know it...they just wrote it and did it. Dig out the album/cd...lots of gems on that one. Of course, a lot of this explains your "rebellious" behavior. ;)

1:40 AM  
Blogger John H said...

The transistor radio that my parents gave me for my 9th birthday became the trojan horse which introduced rock n' roll jungle music to my innocent ears heretofore unsullied by anything more brutal than all those songs about blood in church.

My parents had raised me on Mozart and Schubert and were stunned to find out that their son preferred Berry, and of course, later on, the Stones.

My fledgling record collection was vetted and approved(this is early 1960s) for listening until the great 'Louie Louie' scare swept thought Nashville like rumors on Wisteria Lane.

Louie Louie was a double edged sword. The Kingsmen sung the lyrics in such a way that no one could understandwhatthehell anyone was saying, which meant that most people thought it was really dirty (we were sure that the line 'smelt the rose in her hair' was instead 'felt my bone in her hair) which means that the song became incredibly cool on top of the fact that the entire world of 3-chord rock and roll can be traced back to that song.

So, when the parents did a sweep on my collection while I was away at school, it became difficult to prove that the lyrics I thought were so cool and so really dirty were instead really about some guy getting on a boat and leaving his girlfriend. My 45s and 33s were quarantined for a time, until somebody came up with a lyric sheet which, while it did get me my records back, ultimately totally disappointed us because the squeaky-clean lyrics could have been sung on the Micky Mouse Club without any fear of reprisal.

Several years later, I was really really grateful that Ed Sullivan made the Stones sing 'Let's spend some time together' rather than 'Let's spend the night together' because my mom was really getting suspicious. I was able to point out the innocent 'true' lyrics at approximately the same time that my father determined that Mick Jagger was really really gay (not the term he used).

If I had grown up in the era of Purple Rain, I suspect that i would not have owned a record collection for long.

5:13 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Sharon, I'm positive my dad liked "I want to hold your hand" before his children decided to sing it over and over again for an hour and a half.

No matter how good a song is, very few of them can stand up to that kind of abuse.

8:52 AM  
Blogger dolphin said...

I wasn't allowed to watch Mtv growing up but I don't recall there being anythign I couldn't listen to.

10:01 AM  
Blogger melusina said...

There was nothing banned in my house, until my mom realized I was listening to my brothers' Cheech & Chong albums and George Carlin albums. But then again, that isn't music.

My parents would have been loathe to ban any type of music in our house. We were a Unitarian household, though.

10:30 AM  
Blogger P. K. Nail said...

Ah, Purple Rain. I was nine when that came out, and my friends and I were forbidden to have it. One girl managed to smuggle a copy into her house and we would all pile into her room, huddle around her tape player and be mystified at the lyrics of "Darling Nikki".

10:50 AM  
Blogger HUCK said...

I wanted so badly to be in the KISS army when I was young, but the "Knights in Satan's Service" were simply not tolerated by my family's values.

One time, I really cheesed my dad off when, while he was gone on a week-long fishing trip to Scotland, I spent all of my hard-earned allowance at Spencers. I thought the old man was going to spontaneously combust when he returned to my newly black-lit room, and saw the black velvet "Diver Down"/DIO poster of the priest frantically swimming away from a giant horned beast.

After he tore the Dio poster into a thousand tiny pieces, he went medieval on my poster of Eddie/Iron Maiden, and moved on to maul Judas Priest. Then he knocked off Randy Rhodes for a second time, and finally crumpled up a small horned Black Sabbath infant on his way out the door.

As soon as the thunderous sound of his steps trailing down the hall had faded, I gathered up all of my metal tapes and hid them deep within the recesses of my closet.

Funny... I never figured out why he never bothered to ask about what I was actually listening to.

All I can say is thank goodness for my Walkman.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Apparently, Mel and I grew up in the same house without knowing it. My rock records weren't threating to my parents misguided religious fervor. However, George Carlin, Cheech and Chong, Steve Martin and Robin Williams were Satan's own filthy-mouthed drug comedians who were sure to rot my brain, grow hair on my palms and cause the Commies to win the war.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

Whoa Huck. What a story.

9:08 PM  
Blogger HUCK said...

The funny thing is my mother never cared. I had the posters up for a week before my dad came home.

Honestly, I love my mom - always will of course, but I don't think it was that she was all that tolerant on purpose. I think she simply didn't have a clue.

I mean, that same year in my easter basket I got 2 tapes along with my candy.

She had told the guy behind the counter what sort of music I was into and asked his opinion on what she might supplement my normal Easter assortment with. The next sunday in my basket I found Rush "2112" and Judas Priest "Defenders of the Faith". I shit you not.

...and my parents were devout Methodists.

I bet I'm the only kid in all the world that ever got a Judas Priest tape in his Easter Basket.

Dad never saw it. I stashed it away quick before he could crawl out of bed.

2:36 PM  

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