10 Perfect Rock Songs That Were Incredibly Controversial

The whole point of music is to keep the audience engaged in some way. It’s called the entertainment industry for a reason, and the goal is always to leave audiences satisfied after seeing something they can’t get anywhere else. Some might try to make it a positive experience, but it’s more fun to try to disturb the audience when you can.

As early as the 1950s, rock and roll was already pushing the boundaries of what was allowed in the mainstream, from secular language to drug use. While we can laugh at some of them these days, some of them also ended up becoming popular for all the wrong reasons, feeding parents on how rock music corrupts young people and is meant to wash away people’s brains. If you look at the songs here, you can see why some people were upset.

On each of the tracks here, the mainstream media began to pull back very harshly, either not stocking the album in record stores or simply refusing to play the song on the radio. That didn’t stop fans, however, who always ended up finding the songs somewhere and blasting them behind their parents’ backs.

After all, rock was meant to be music to piss off your parents with, and more than a few feathers were ruffled once they found their way into the air.

For all the controversial songs that come and go in rock music, how on earth did the Beatles manage to end up on a list like this? While they may not have been the healthiest people behind the scenes, they were the kind of happy, lucky boy band that made rock and roll acceptable to people. That was before they started dropping acid, and the media got a little too worried when the psychedelic era kicked in on Sgt. Pepper.

Being one of the few Beatles albums without any mainstream singles on it, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is one of the most trippy experiences the band has ever released, as John Lennon weaves together images that give the feeling of being ripped off. Alice in Wonderland. That didn’t stop people from looking for trouble, and they certainly had one when someone pointed out that the main words in the title spelled LSD.

In this case though, most of the media had their minds in the gutter, as John had been inspired by a drawing his son Julian had done at school of one of his classmates named Lucy. Apparently that wasn’t enough of an explanation, with most radio stations refusing to play it for fear it would lead to kids losing acid. John can offer as many defenses as he wants (and they might even be true), but the kind of music the Beatles were certainly making suggested certain chemical enhancements outside of the studio walls.


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Grace D. Erickson