30 Years Ago Heavy Metal Has Changed Forever On PMRC Senate Hearing


The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to be violent, have drug use or be sexual via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers. 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 former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius.

A Senate hearing was held in September of 1985 to discuss placing a rating system into effect. At the hearing, representatives of the PMRC testified along with TWISTED SISTER’s Dee Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver. Below you can watch entire video from hearing. As a result of the PMRC, the Recording Industry Association of America agreed to put “Parental Advisory” stickers on some albums.

Snider has written an op-ed piece about his experience at The Huffington Post. An excerpt below:

“Thirty years later, everything and nothing has changed. The ultra-conservatives still want to dictate to the masses what they deem acceptable for the general public to see and hear. The record industry is a mere shadow of its former self (apt punishment for its cowardice), and CDs and vinyl albums have almost become ‘novelties’ in a world driven by downloads. Yet, the warning labels still adorn individual track listings and albums online.

“While initially my appearance at those Senate hearings was damaging to my career and reputation, long term it was beneficial, showing people for the first time that I was much more than a screaming “Raggedy Ann on acid” and a fairly intelligent, sentient human being. Fortunately, I have gone onto better things. My arch nemeses Al and Tipper Gore are long divorced, while this October 23rd my wife Suzette and I will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. You’re damn right I’m bragging. I wasn’t throwing stones at their glass house. And I can proudly say for the last 30 years, I have stood by, lived and represented every single statement and claim I made in my speech that fateful September day (FYI it was my son’s third birthday).”