Pop music lends itself to controversy, if only by catering to the smallest common denominator of edge and daring in any society. We've compiled a few musical shockers of modern pop culture for either your titillation or boredom. Yawn-worthy, gratuitous or groundbreaking? That's for you to decide.
1. Elvis Presley, "Hound Dog" on The Ed Sullivan Show
No list of vintage controversy would be complete without Elvis da Pelvis, as he was so eloquently dubbed by the media for his then-outrageous dance moves. It can go unsaid that, compared to most dance clubs or music videos these days, The King looks positively Puritan.
2. N.W.A., "F*ck Tha Police"
Public Enemy didn't mince words when it came to the growing tensions between urban youth and police officers in Compton. America was outraged by the brutal honesty and violence, but the song triggered worldwide controversy. An Australian Radio station Triple J was banned from playing this track. The station responded by going on strike, playing N.W.A.'s "Express Yourself" on-air, on repeat for 24 hours.
3. The Kingsmen, "Louie Louie"
For a seemingly innocuous rock song, "Louie Louie" seemingly garnered the rage of every Leave It To Beaver-watching suburban home in America. This song was banned by Matthew Walsh, the then-governor of Indiana on an apparent power trip. The lyrics were also the subject of a two year, inconclusive obscenity investigation by the FBI, who we can only assume were already growing bored of busting Communists in Hollywood.
4. Erykah Badu, "Window Seat" music video
It's a video so controversial we couldn't even find an uncensored copy of it online. Badu's guerrilla style, permit-less endeavor shows her disrobing and walking to the spot where JFK was murdered. A gunshot is heard, and her "blood" spells out "Group think." She was fined $500 for public nudity and given six months of probation, so don't sweat it, America's youth is safe once more.
5. Madonna, "Like A Prayer" music video
It's not every controversial musician who gets a special, angry shout out from The Pope, but Madonna's not just any controversial musician.
Controversy is as inextricable from pop music as four chord melodies. In retrospect, the shock and moral outrage of yesteryear can sometimes seem absurd, if only in comparison to the surprises pop stars are cooking up as we speak.