V-O-T-E spells VOTE! “Rock The Vote” 1990
CENSORSHIP IS UNAMERICAN!
(this has a been a public service announcement)
So here’s a little personal history from the late 1980’s and early 90’s.
I graduated from UCSC in 1987 with a degree in Theatre Arts, and moved to Novato in Marin County, north of San Francisco. After living and working in the Bay Area for a year, I returned to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment business.
My very first “Hollywood” job as a Production Assistant (PA) was for a company called Highlight Commercials in 1989. I worked for them on the first “Rock the Vote” PSAs for Virgin Records with Iggy Pop and Anthony Kiedis (and a bunch of other celebrities) on the Chaplin Stage at A&M Records in Hollywood. I was paid $50 a day for three days of work.
This is a still from the first “Rock the Vote” Censorship is UnAmerican video campaign in 1990. I was the Production Assistant wrapping the cellophane tape around Iggy Pop! Filmed in 1989 on the Chaplin Stage at A&M Studios (now Henson Studios) in Hollywood with Iggy Pop, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Kiedes, Justine Bateman, Louis Perez, Blair Underwood and others. Oh, and yes, CENSORSHIP IS STILL UNAMERICAN!
I found a rundown/synopsis of the some of the PSA shoot:
3:49 Iggy Pop reads First Amendment: As he reads, he is gradually having tape wrapped around his body. At the end, the tape covers his mouth. “Express yourself. Vote.” (I was the guy wrapping Iggy in the tape!)
NOTE: I finally found the Iggy Pop PSA! The page has links to all the spots!
RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW THE VIDEO!
WATCH THE CLIP!> http://mediaburn.org/video/rock-the-vote-33-spots/?t=3:49
4:50 Woody Harrelson: “Howdy. I believe in freedom of expression. Express yourself. Vote.”
5:49 Justine Bateman: “You might as well be invisible if you don’t vote. You’ve got everyone telling you what to do. You don‘t want people telling you what to see. Express yourself. Vote. It’s your life, it’s your world.”
6:50 Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: Higher Ground music video plays. “If you love your freedom, fight censorship. Express yourself. Vote.”
7:50 Anthony Kiedis: “Most beautiful and powerful ingredient in America – freedom of speech.”
1990 ROCK THE VOTE ANTHONY KIEDIS RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS PSA!
Watch the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUu-lzVWuhE
8:50 Blair Underwood: “If we don’t make the rules we’ll have to live with somebody else’s. 70 percent of American voters are over age 40.”
“RIGHT CLICK” AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!
In 1989, a group of Virgin Records executives began the “Rock the Vote” campaign in response to the Recording Industry’s Parental Advisory Labeling and Tipper Gore’s attempt to censor American music. The campaign partnered with MTV and the most popular, outspoken and controversial artists of the time to rally young voters to protect the First Amendment of the Constitution and encourage more people to vote.
Madonna’s 1990 PSA eclipsed all the other Celebrity Spots. Draped in an American flag, Madonna, flanked by two male dancers in cutoff denim shorts, raps an acapella version of “Vogue” about the First Amendment and replaces the lyrics with “get up and vote!”
NOTE: The next job I worked for Highlights was a Lady Stetson perfume commercial.
History of THE PMRC and CENSORSHIP in the 1980’s:
The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was a committee formed in 1985 with the goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to be violent or sexually suggestive. The committee was founded by four women: Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius. They were known as the “Washington wives”
The PMRC began in 1984 after Tipper Gore, along with her daughter Karenna, heard Prince’s song “Darling Nikki”, which appears on the soundtrack to the film Purple Rain, contains references to sex and masturbation (“I knew a girl named Nikki/I guess you could say she was a sex fiend/I met her in a hotel lobby/Masturbating with a magazine”). Rap music of the mid to late 80s, especially artists that were deemed violent, particularly Ice-T and Run DMC furthered their influence in American politics. Ice-T was personally accused by Tipper Gore with support from the PMRC for the increasing rates of violence against police officers in Los Angeles in the late 80s.
The PMRC also released the “Filthy Fifteen”, a list of the 15 songs they found most objectionable:
1 Prince “Darling Nikki” Sex
2 Sheena Easton “Sugar Walls” Sex
3 Judas Priest “Eat Me Alive” Sex
4 Vanity “Strap on Robbie Baby” Sex
5 Mötley Crüe “Bastard” Violence
6 AC/DC “Let Me Put My Love into You” Sex
7 Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It” Violence
8 Madonna “Dress You Up” Sex
9 W.A.S.P. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” Sex/Language
10 Def Leppard “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” Drug and alcohol use
11 Mercyful Fate “Into the Coven” Occult
12 Black Sabbath “Trashed” Drug and alcohol use
13 Mary Jane Girls “In My House” Sex
14 Venom “Possessed” Occult
15 Cyndi Lauper “She Bop” Sex
The PMRC also advocated against supposed subliminal backmasking in records and (incorrectly) accused bands including Iron Maiden, Styx, Rush, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Kiss and Queen of backmasking to promote Satanism and/or drug use.
In August 1985, 19 record companies agreed to put “Parental Guidance: Explicit Lyrics” labels on albums to warn of explicit lyrical content. Before the labels could be put into place, the Senate agreed to hold a hearing on so-called “porn rock”. This began on September 19, 1985, when representatives from the PMRC, three musicians–Dee Snider, Frank Zappa, John Denver–and Senators Paula Hawkins and Al Gore testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on “the subject of the content of certain sound recordings and suggestions that recording packages be labeled to provide a warning to prospective purchasers of sexually explicit or other potentially offensive content.”
This Blog was UPDATED January 31 and February 9, 2017 to combine a previous blog and add more information.
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