Most Controversial Music Videos

Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, incestuous Gainsbourgs make list
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2009 8:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – With MTV's Video Music Awards set for Sunday (not that you'll see many videos on the channel these days), takes a look at some of the form’s most controversial:

  • Closer, Nine Inch Nails: To go along with the explicitly sexual lyrics, this 1994 piece includes a monkey fixed to a cross, a nude woman with a crucifix mask, and a diagram of a vulva. And it’s in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
  • Jeremy, Pearl Jam: The 1992 video depicts a boy who, after being teased, heads into a classroom with a gun; MTV banned it after the 1999 Columbine massacre.

  • Lemon Incest, Serge Gainsbourg: The French star’s song for his daughter was already controversial; the 1984 video showed him in bed with Charlotte, then 12.
  • Like A Prayer, Madonna: The Vatican’s laundry list of complaints with this 1989 hit included burning crosses and Madonna making out with a saint and developing stigmata.
  • The Thunder Rolls, Garth Brooks: CMT and TNN banned this 1991 hit in which an abusive husband gets what’s coming to him.
For the full list, with video clips, click the link below.