The Ten Best Music Videos Banned by MTV

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MTV has gotten some flack for censorship over the course of its 30 years on the air. The station, in addition to helping proliferate the music video concept, is equally known, it seems, for bleeping words, playing only censored versions of certain videos, relegating racy videos to late-night play only and, on occasion, banning videos entirely.

This practice was more prevalent in the station's '80s and '90s heyday; nowadays, artists are happy to produce alternative versions of their videos to get some much-needed airplay.

Back in the day, though, getting banned by MTV was something of a badge of honor: The media, predictably, would have a field day whenever such censorship was announced.

These days, most music video consumption happens via the Internet, and MTV's content is mostly made up of bottom-barrel reality programming. So it's easy to forget that some really awesome music moments happened courtesy of the hubbub surrounding MTV censorship.

Thus, we've collected the top 10 music videos banned on MTV. Click on the jump, and shield your eyes if you're sensitive. Although some of these videos are over 20 years old, they're still not safe for the kiddies.


10. Soundgarden, "Jesus Christ Pose." The video for the first single off Badmotorfinger (1991) shows a bunch of stuff (girls, skeletons, vegetables) nailed to crosses. Entry No. 1 in the list of surefire ways to get your video banned? Put stuff on crosses. Best supporting actor nomination? Chris Cornell's abs.


9. Tool, "Prison Sex." Gee. Why ever would a song with a name like "Prison Sex" get banned? But seriously, folks: Even when acted out by puppets, molestation is a topic with major squick factor. This was Tool's first single off their debut album, and the stop-motion animation in this video set the precedent for many more stop-motion Tool videos. Despite the ban, the video was nominated for an MTV Video Award for best special effects.


8. Megadeth, "In My Darkest Hour." MTV banned this one because they thought the lyrics referred to suicide. In fact, Dave Mustaine wrote this song upon former bandmate Cliff Burton's untimely passing. The video itself is a bunch of live clips; it was featured in Decline of Western Civilization II, and the song is a regular feature of Megadeth's live shows. Best supporting actor nomination goes to Mustaine's luscious locks.


7. MIA, "Sunshowers." The video itself isn't offensive; MTV banned it when MIA refused to release a censored version of the lyrics, which allude to sociopolitical tensions in Sri Lanka. Specifically, the line "Like PLO, I don't surrendo" ticked off the censors at MTV. MIA's been known to prickle when the censors do their thing; she reportedly wasn't too happy when MTV censored the gunshots in her hit "Paper Planes," either.


6. Lady Gaga, "Alejandro." This video wasn't completely banned; it was just relegated to the midnight hours on one of MTV's endless sister channels that actually play videos. The fact that MTV proper doesn't really play videos renders the video's "banned" status basically moot. This one got the censors all fired up, though, because of the usual reasons: bondage, simulated sex, religious imagery, dudes in vinyl Nazi outfits, Gaga in a vinyl nun outfit. We've been through this before, right?



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19 comments
ChangingF8
ChangingF8

There is a video called Ark Of The Suffering by Tourniquet about animal abuse that was banned after just a couple of showings.

Derek Garrison
Derek Garrison

By the way, Youtube banned the "Smack My Bitch Up" video due to nudity.

Blake Snodgrass
Blake Snodgrass

I stopped watching in 1997 after they got rid of "Beavis & Butthead" and then watched it that brief moment they came back a couple of years ago.

R.s. Rosenquist
R.s. Rosenquist

There would be a list of "Ten Music Videos MTV showed" but there wouldn't be enough to fill it.

David Ellefsen
David Ellefsen

Dont get me started on the other, too....IFC (Independant Movie Channel), should be renamed MITMC, The Malcolm In The Middle Channel......History Channel, should be renamed LFSFIT (Lets Find Shit and Fix it Up Channel), AMC (American Movie Classics), should be WPAWC (We'll Play Anything (except Classics) With Commericails!! and the list goes on...

Derek Garrison
Derek Garrison

I stopped watching somewhere in the 90's. They can't compete with Youtube and the internet.

Derek Garrison
Derek Garrison

People would get it confused with the History Channel, TLC, Nat Geo, etcetera...

D.j. Sanders
D.j. Sanders

They loved to ban lots of Madonna's videos

Andy Odom
Andy Odom

You forgot Neil Young's "This Note's For You".

David Ellefsen
David Ellefsen

I think MTV should be forced to changed their name....they haven't shown a music video in more than 20 fucking years! How about "SRTV".....Shit Realty TV.

Erin Crosby
Erin Crosby

Yeah... I know MTV showed that prodigy video at least once

Marci Fermier
Marci Fermier

Umm, MTV is the only place I saw most of those videos.

havoth1
havoth1

I find it ironic that #1 & #2 Prodigy & Madonna videos have been removed form YouTube. More censorship. sigh.

jantan sverandi
jantan sverandi

I've seen Justify my love a several times on MTV even have it recorded on some old VHS-tape

Ken Lowery
Ken Lowery

I remember seeing the video for "Smack My Bitch Up" well into the wee hours of the morning on MTV, complete with introduction by Kurt Loder. Epic times.

Greg
Greg

When was 18 and Life banned?  I remember seeing it a few dozen times.

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