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Music and controversies share an eternal bond, irrespective of the culture, language, country and genre. Here is a list of the top 10 most controversial songs of all time which have offended the masses, sometimes even the most liberal ones. While some of the songs highlight the social issues or vices prevalent in the world, others are simply the means to get publicity. Though many of these controversial songs are in dire violation of the right to freedom of speech, they have found acceptance among some sections.
Let us have a look at the top 10 controversial songs and the damage (or good) they have done to the world and their creators.
Suicide solution tops the chart of top 10 most controversial songs of all time due to the furore it created. A teenager committed tried to take his own life after listening to this song. And the parents of the adolescent sued the vocalist Ozzy Osbourne for promoting such behaviour. The court later acquitted him as the lyrics referred to his own drinking problems and was not meant to propagate anything. Ozzy was mainly a victim of misinterpretation of his lyrics. In the controversial lyrics, solution denoted alcohol and the track was all about his addiction.
This number by rapper Eminem is ranked second on our list of top 10 most controversial songs of all time. It is an expression of anger and wrath towards his then wife, Kim Mathers. The brash lyrics describe the rapper’s hatred towards Kim and the song ends in her homicide. The video featured Eminem slaughtering a doll that supposedly represented her. After watching it Kim made a failed attempt at taking her own life and later sued the rapper for defaming her.
This punk rock classic was released during the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The song was banned by the BBC for its offensive lyrics and outrageous cover art, making it one of the top 10 most controversial songs of all time. The band later claimed that the motive of the song was to draw attention to the difficulties of the working class. The song was meant as a stand against the Queen’s fascist regime and portrayed the people’s love for their country.
Ranked fourth on our list of top 10 most controversial songs, this track by XTC has probably offended the largest number of people. Written by the English guitarist, singer and songwriter, Andy Partridge, it is completely against God and religion. One of the most controversial songs of all time, it vividly highlights the human sufferings and blames God for putting mankind through all that. Filled with anti- religion sentiments, its every verse ends with ‘I can’t believe in you’. Many record shops refused to sell the album fearing a religious backlash.
Slayer is not new to controversies. But with angel of death they took it to another level all together. A regular on the list of top 10 controversial songs, the track was accused of Nazi sympathising. The number refers to Josef Mengele, a Nazi physician who conducted dreadful experiments on humans, without anaesthesia, during World War II. The uproar created by this controversial song forced them to go under covers. Moreover, the record label also distanced itself from the release.
Another one of the top 10 most controversial songs is Get Your Gunn by Marilyn Manson. The track was composed during the initial years of his career. The song takes inspiration from the homicide of the doctor David Gunn in 1993 by activist Michael Frederic Griffin. The song describes the incident as hypocrisy and irony in the name of being pro- life. The most controversial part of the song is an audio of the press conference where the American politician Budd Dwyer took his own life.
The Shamen, a British electronica- dance group gave another one of the top 10 controversial songs of all time. Released in the September of 1992, the track propagates the recreational use of narcotics. Not only had its lyrics, the timing of its release as well flamed the controversy about it. BBC was observing its drug-awareness week then. The song started at number 6 on the British charts and reached the first spot within a couple of weeks. Although the controversial song did not use any drug name but the disguise was also pretty evident, with the ‘E’ in ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ referring to the drug Ecstasy.
This track by the rap metal band is a sarcastic accusation of the police brutality and institutionalised racism. The American band released the song in the after math of Los Angeles riots. The unrest was fuelled by the exoneration of the white police men who brutally beat up a black guy. One amongst the top 10 controversial songs of all time, it featured on the politically charged band’s debut album. The outcry over the vulgar song was further fuelled when a BBC DJ aired the uncensored version during the top 40 countdown.
Relax was Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s first single. It did really well for his budding career, not because it was a master piece but the publicity it got. The principle that human mind finds negative things intriguing, held true for this one of the top 10 controversial songs of all time. It was released in 1983 and became controversial due to its theme. Though that is not such a big issue, but the Radio 1 DJ, Mike Read’s refusal to air the song gave it immense publicity. Further BBC banned it from all broadcasts and that led to the song selling over million copies.
Another one of the top 10 controversial songs of all times is delivered by the Grammy Award winning artist Prince. Darling Nikki got its ill repute for its lyrics. The hysterical and ludicrous wording of the controversial number also brought a bad name for the singer. Without any hidden meaning or sense, this song is solely about gender and takes it to another low level. However, it is interesting that the track is a part of his 1984 Grammy winning album, Purple Rain.