Censored, controversial, banned and sickening music videos...
On a month when Britney Spears and Hilary Duff have got naked for music videos in a bid to grab media attention, Gigwise is presenting an ultimate countdown of the 50 most controversial music videos. Don't believe anyone when they tell you that The Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up' or Madonna's 'Like A Prayer' are the most controversial of all time; while they fare highly on Gigwise's countdown, there are some sicker and more twisted ones to be found...
CLICK HERE to see the 50 most controversial album covers of all time. Some are truly sick!
50. Britney Spears: 'Womanizer'- Following her mental meltdown, people knew the pop star would need to return to the fray with a bang and it does just that in style. Directed by Joseph Kahn, in one scene we see a an oiled-up Britney writhing around completely naked in a sauna. Duly, it secured the singer endless column inches around the globe.
49. Sigur Ros: Vidrar Vel Til Loftrsa- Set in 1950s Iceland, the cinematic video tells the story of a young boy, presumably gay, whose father discovers him playing with dolls. The dad reacts angrily and forces the child to play football where he angrily berates him on the sidelines. Controversially it then shoots to two separate scenes of the boy and an equally young male friend kissing passionately on the field before they are torn apart.
48. The Bloodhound Gang: 'The Bad Touch' - Ah those Bloodhound idiots, they're crazy aren't they? As if in a bid to prove their zaniness, their 1999 promo feature bashing gay French men, eating maggots and ensnaring dwarves. The 'uncut' version even featured two band members (dressed as teletubbie type monkeys) spewing excrement into each others' mouths for good measure. Lovely.
47. Hilary Duff: 'Reach Out' - The squeaky clean 21-year-old actress and singer looks every inch the porn star in this headline-grabbing 2008 video. The Philip Andelman directed promo features plenty of finger sucking, whipping, simulated sex and blindfolding. Branded too racy for US television, the video has now been heavily censored.
46. Queen: 'Body Language' - Freddie Mercury's 1982 foray into dance music was widely panned by critics and ignored by the public. This changed slightly with this video which sees sweaty bodies rubbing bodies against each other while Mercury groans. It takes the impressive honour of being the first ever video to be banned by MTV.
45. The Prodigy: 'Firestarter' - When Top of the Pops first aired the video in 1996 a record number of complaints were phoned in to the BBC show. Rumour has it that the TOTP wanted The Prodigy to shoot an alternative version of the video, to which the band politely told them to fuck off. Basically a devil-horned Keith Flint dancing menacingly into a camera, it's easily one of the most instantly recognisable videos on this list.
44. George Michael: 'I Want Your Sex' - Filmed a good few years before he came out as gay, a semi-naked George Michael gets intimate with the stunning Kathy Jeung in this headline-grabbing 1987 video. The steamiest moment comes when Michael pulls out some lipstick and writes 'EXPLORE' on Jeung's thigh and 'MONOGAMY' on her back. A decent enough music video then, it's just a shame the music is crap.
43. D12: 'Purple Pills' - Arguably the song's content is more controversial than the video content, but when you group the two together it packs a killer punch. Lyrically, of course, Eminem and co.'s song overtly speaks of recreational drug use with references to coke, ecstasy, LSD, uppers, downers and magic mushrooms, while visually it looks like a hallucinogenic trip in all its colourful wonder with a bit of Christopher Reeves japing thrown in for good measure.
42. Duran Duran: 'Girls On Film' - The Birmingham band's 1981 got a lukewarm reception when it was unveiled in 1981 and faced the real danger of sinking on the charts. That was until they unveiled the titillating video. Featuring women getting their breasts out, wrestling in mud and other kinky antics, it immediately propelled the band into the limelight and resurged their career. 27 years on and they're still going.
41. Eminem: 'Stan' - A literal visualization of Eminem's infamous song, it tells the turbulent tale of Stan, his pregnant wife (Dido) and his infatuation with Eminem. The video ends with Stan driving his car off a bridge with his wife in a trunk. Lovely. The broadcast version of the video unsurprisingly edited out footage of Dido bound and gagged in the drunk and bleeped out the countless swear words and vicious lyrics like 'slit her throat.'
40. Junior Jack: 'Stupidisco'- Fellow House DJs Armand Van Helden and Benny Benassi have released videos of women dancing in bikinis, but Junior Jack, real name Vito Lucente, stepped it up a gear with this 2004 single promo. Basically scantily-clad women fighting in wrestling ring who start making out towards the end, it had teenage boys salivating across the globe.
39. Frankie Goes To Hollywood: 'Relax' - The provocative song lyrics for the Liverpool band's 1983 debut hit were deemed far too racy for the BBC. The accompanying video just compounded this. Set in an ultra cliched gay club complete with S&M men, the video reaches a climax (so to speak) when Holly Johnson sings 'when you're gonna come' and he is duly showered in a cream spray.
38. Jay-Z: '99 Problems'- The vast majority of the video passes without notable incident until the final minute when the Jigga Man is pelted with bullets by an unseen gunman. MTV decided that the video could be shown in its entirety on air, but only with an introduction from Jay-Z and their own employee John Norris. The rapper said the ending signified the death of Jay-Z and the re-birth of Shaun Carter.
37. The Smashing Pumpkins: 'Try Try Try' - Containing a warning at the start, the documentary-style video follows a couple of drug addicts as they go about their torrid daily search for the next hit. Heaving, drinking, intravenous injections, prostitution all lead up to the tragic overdose at the end. A very powerful and affecting video that was censored early on, it's a shame that more people haven't had the chance to view it.
36. t.A.T.u: 'Beliy Plashchik' - The Russian lesbian duo appear partially naked in the video which ends highly controversially. After being followed through the streets, a heavily pregnant Yulia is executed by her bandmate Lena by a gun shot to the head. The uncensored video was never released to mainstream video channels, instead only appearing on the DVD version of the 2008 single.
35. Robbie Williams: 'Rock DJ' - It's the stuff of nightmares for so many of us; the thought of Robbie Williams naked. Yet this became a harsh reality with 2000's Rock DJ. Banned by a number of TV stations, the Vaughan Arnell video climaxes with Robbie tearing his flesh and organs away until all that remains is a skeleton. The video ends with the statement: 'No Robbies were Harmed During the Making of this Video'. A damn shame.
34. Aphex Twin: 'Come To Daddy'- Chris Cunningham has concocted some seriously fucked up videos in his time, but this is perhaps the most shocking and hard-hitting of them all. If the sight of school children running around with creepy Richard D James faces isn't enough to chill your bones, then the sight of the hideous monster thing screaming in an OAP's face should just about do it. A work of genius.
33. Metallica: 'Turn The Page' - The metal band's cover of the 1973 Bob Seger track came with a video depicting the life of a stripper and prostitute as played by Ginger Lynn Allen. Exposing the grim underbelly of the sex industry, warts and all, director Jonas Akerlund tells the story of a woman struggling to provide for her child and becomes involved in a life threatening business. Just as thought provoking as it is controversial, it's a highly poignant work.
32. Fiona Apple: 'Criminal' - A winner of two MTV Video Music Awards back in 1998, the video features a then 20-year-old Fiona Apple appear semi-naked and get herself into a variety of compromising positions. However, the overtly shocking thing about it is just how young and painfully skinny Apple looks.
31. Korn: 'A.D.I.D.A.S' - The 1997 promo depicts the aftermath of a car crash which has killed all the members of Korn. Macabre throughout, police then zip the band members up in body bags and take them to a grim mortuary where they are unclothed. Hilariously, frontman Jonathan Davis is wearing women's underwear adding a light-hearted twist to the video.
30. Sepultura: 'Arise' -The video to the 1991 thrash metal classic was shot in Death Valley and featured Christ-like characters nailed to the cross and wearing gas masks. It was swiftly (and predictably) banned by MTV who were seemingly worried it would upset conservative Christians. The bores.
29. Nelly: 'Tip Drill' - Nelly sure as hell loves big butts and this video is duly rammed packed with well oiled, wobbling backsides. In fact Nelly plays second to them as they vie for camera attention. Accompanying a song about his women's butts, we wouldn't have expected anything else. Originally meant for a single release, it was withdrawn after a barrage of complaints from women's groups who claim it demeans women and treats them as sexual objects.
28. The Strokes: 'Juicebox' - The New Yorkers' 2005 video featured not one, not two, but three sex scenes. A lesbian scene on a balcony, a gay shag in a toilet and heterosexual one in the back of a cab. The latter one hilariously ends up with the boy falling out the taxi being sick after going down on his girl. Director Michael Palmieri was reportedly so unhappy with MTV's edit that he removed his name from the credits.
27. Madonna: 'Justify My Love' - Filmed at a time when Madge had the horn badly, and she had just released the book 'Sex' the extremely raunchy 1990 video featured a highly sexed up Madge getting up to all kinds with her then partner Tony Ward. Predictably banned by MTV, the video hit the headlines and ultimate became a best seller when it was released on video a few months later. Much parodied, it's hard to take the video seriously nowadays.
26. Mitsou: 'Dis-Moi, Dis-Moi' - Released a few months after Madonna's 'Justify My Love', the Canadian pop singer's 1991 video was also banned for its overt eroticism. Surrounded by muscle-bound men, Mitsou hops into a shower with them and does plenty of licking, massaging and simulated sex. We reckon it surpasses Madonna. Just.
25. Tool: 'Stinkfist' â€“ Skilfully directed by the band's guitarist Adam Jones, the unforgettable and very grisly 1996 video focuses on disturbing human like creatures, 'sand people' (in certain shots they're missing limbs), who ingest sharp spikes and wires and store flesh in jars. Very disturbing and potent, MTV refused to show it due to the track name alone because of the alleged connotations of fisting. Their loss.
24. Britney Spears: 'Baby One More Time' - There's no denying that Britney's debut video did a good job in getting the pop megastar noticed; in fact it single-handedly kick-started her career. Yet, when you think about it rationally, it's very wrong indeed. Basically an under-age looking teenager dancing provocatively in a Catholic school uniform, how this made it onto daytime MTV is beyond us.
23. The Cribs: 'Men's Needs' - Those lovable Yorkshire brothers seemingly tried to prove they had a dark side with this 2007 single. Directed by Diane Martel, while performing nonchalantly the band are serenaded by a completely naked woman who looks as though she doesn't shave downstairs often. She licks frontman Ryan Jarman before decapitating him and severing Ross' arm. The video would be a hell of a lot more controversial if the special effects weren't so naff.
22. Marilyn Manson: 'Coma White' - Deemed highly shocking by many, the 1999 video directly parodied the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963, with Manson as the president and his then girlfriend Rose McGowan playing Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy. Defending the video, Manson said the assassination was a "metaphor for America's obsession and worship of violence.' Typically, Manson ends up crucified at the end of the promo.
21. Farmer Boys: 'Here Comes To Pain' - Part animated / part real footage, the promo opens with an evil Jesus-like figure on the cross beckoning the oncoming pain. Honestly, if you were on acid it would scare the shit out of you. We then follow the exploits of a female assassin who thinks nothing of blowing the brains out of her victims with an oversized weapon. A video that's more famous than the German nu metal band themselves.
20. Master P: 'Gutta Time' - This video is an artistic statement without racist intent... it is not an endorsement of the KKK' reads the disclaimer at the start of the 2006 hip-hop video. Featuring Ku Klux Klan members with machine guns being defeated by black men in a basketball game, it ends with a note saying that the victors were lynched the next day. Lyrically too, the song is equally abrasive.
19. Nine Inch Nails: 'Closer' - Directed by the much-lauded Mark Romanek, the video takes place in a depraved 19th Century science laboratory. Featuring semi-naked women in S&M gear, a monkey nailed to a cross, diagrams of vaginas, the band's very own Trent Reznor wearing shackles and licking a phallic instrument, it offers a veritable plethora of controversy. Killjoy censors removed certain scenes for television, replacing them with a notice saying 'Scene Missing'.
18. Bjork: 'Pagan Poetry' - Definitely not one the squeamish, the 2001 video directed by Nick Knight climaxes with a graphic body piercing. Before that we get a semi-naked Bjork jumping around excitedly and distorted footage of the singer having sex with her partner Matthew Barney, all controversial enough, but it's the piercing that gets us. Ouch.
17. Nas ft P Diddy: 'Hate Me Now' - Nas wearing a crown of thorns and being crucified? Anticipating the inevitable controversy of his 1999 video, the rapper issued a statement to precede it saying 'Nas believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and this video is in no way a depiction or portrayal of his life or death...' Yeah right. In the original cut P Diddy also appeared on a cross, but as a devout catholic he asked for this to be omitted.
16. Gorgoroth: 'Carving A Giant' - Musically the Norwegian black metal sound like Satan spewing up razor blades. Visually they're even worse. This 2006 promo features gallons of blood, satanic rituals, mutilated bodies nailed to crosses, sheep's heads and burning upside-down crosses all segued together lovingly with shots of the horrorshow band.
15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: 'Y Control' - Kicking off with a bunch of pre-pubescent kids wreaking carnage with baseball bats and axes and sprawling 'We Are All Going To Hell' graffiti on a warehouse wall, the Spike Jonze directed video takes a slightly sinister turn when a boy asks a young girl to chop his hand off. Admittedly the effects are extremely fake, but this doesn't take too much away from its controversial nature.
14. Marilyn Manson: '(s)AINT' - He's never been one to steer clear of controversy has our Brian, and this 2003 video is no exception. Featuring bondage, drug abuse, self-mutilation, full frontal nudity and simulated sex, it's a visual feast of debauchery. Directed by Italian actress Asia Argento, the entire video was shot in one Los Angeles hotel room. It must have been one hell of a mess afterwards!
13. Soundgarden: 'Jesus Christ Pose' - Directed by Eric Zimmerman, the 1991 promo contained imagery deemed highly offensive by conservative Christians including burning crucifixes, a woman on the cross and a crucified skeleton. Explaining why they depicted a woman on the cross, Chris Cornell said: "It's challenging to people, because women basically have been persecuted since before recorded history, and it would almost make more sense than seeing a man on it." The band received some death threats over the song and video from hard-line religious nuts.
12. Satyricon: 'Fuel For Hatred' - The 2002 video features a completely naked woman (genitalia and all) who is badly bruised (presumably beaten) and draped with a snake. Towards the promo's finale, the band's frontman Satyr swings an axe towards the woman before the video ends with the singer covered in blood. Lovely.
11. Nirvana: 'Heart Shaped Box' - The legendary Anton Corbijn was the man behind this famous 1993 video. Cobain performs passionately as Corbijn presents a barrage of striking imagery, including a girl dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, foetuses on trees, and old man in Santa outfit nailed to a cross and an overweight women re-enacting the front sleeve of 'In Utero'.
10. Skinny Puppy: 'Worlock' - The 1990 promo is basically a mish-mash of disgusting, graphic scenes from horror movies including Hellraiser II, Death Warmed Up and Dead and Buried. Aside from all the violence and gore, an image of the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe pops up at one point next to a crucifix. The video has been rarely seen due to its controversial content and also because the Canadian band never bothered to seek permission to use any of the footage!
9. Nine Inch Nails: 'Happiness Is Slavery'- The damn bizarre black and white video features the late performance artist Bob Flanagan who stars as a man who worships a machine. At the start Flanagan offers a candle to his God before stripping naked and washing. He then offers himself as a sacrifice. Screaming in pain he is tortured by probing sharp objects as the machine saps his blood. Some conspiracy seekers claim the video was real, although this was later quashed. Unsurprisingly the video was banned upon its release.
8. Dir en gray: 'Obscure' - Vomiting and wearing hideous masks that would make Slipknot weep, the Japanese rockers went all out to shock with this high budget video - and they succeeded emphatically. Scary clowns, a young girl in a bleeding nightdress, instruments of torture and some gruesome special effects where one band member pulls his heart out of his chest make this truly captivating. Easily the most disgusting part though is the mechanical, foetus like penises. Nasty.
7. The Prodigy: 'Smack My Bitch Up' - The 1997 song itself was controversial enough, but the boys from Braintree truly excelled themselves with the Jonas Akerlund directed video. Filmed from a first person perspective it features violence, drink-driving, vomiting, groping, cocaine snorting, heroin injecting, full frontal nudity and an obligatory sex scene. A breathtaking work, the clever twist at the end brilliantly quashes any further misogynistic claims.
6. Madonna: 'Like A Prayer' - At the start of 1989 Madonna unveiled her new single 'Like A Prayer' it was, and still is, her most controversial career moment. The video featured burning crosses, stigmata and Madge herself kissing a black Jesus. The Vatican slammed it for overtly linking eroticism with religion. In the light of the video, drinks company Pepsi even revoked their sponsorship of Madonna.
5. Justice: 'Stress' - The Parisian dance duo caused an outcry when the 'Stress' video was unleashed this summer. It follows a gang of youths in Justice 'cross' jackets who trawl the streets of Paris committing GBH, joy-riding, arson and vandalism. Some media outlets accused it of being racist because it depicts youths of African decent, but the band were quick to quash this, saying: 'If people see racism in the video, it's definitely because they might have a problem with racism; because they only see black people beating up white people, which is not what happens.'
4. Pearl Jam: 'Jeremy' - An extremely hard-hitting video, it tells the story of a young boy (presumably Jeremy) who is tormented by bullies at school and ignored by his parents. At breaking point, he walks into school lesson armed with a pistol, puts it in his mouth and fires the trigger. The video closes with a still of the shocked classmates covered in Jeremy's blood.
3. Placebo: 'Protage-Moi' - Directed by controversial film maker Gaspar Noe, the 2003 video isn't just nudity, it's full on hardcore pornography including fellatio and various other graphic sex acts. Unsurprising, other than on a few dodgy websites, the video was deemed too explicit to be shown and never saw the light of day. The replacement video is totally underwhelming in comparison.
2. Cradle of Filth: 'From Cradle To Enslave' - A seriously, seriously fucked up video. Set in a satanic church there's a chase and bloody murder of a girl, deformed dwarves, a plethora of weird creatures, women slashing their wrists with bladed violin bows, another murder and much more. Very disturbing, just as you'd expect from the Birmingham shock rockers.
1. Necrophagia: 'Blood Freak' - This video is so disgusting, we advise you not to watch it. Seriously. The Death Metal band's sickening film features a man groping a young woman and a psychopath who shoots the girl, decapitates the corpse and relieves himself on it before burying the evidence. It' truly vile, very wrong and is ten times more shocking than any other video on this list. We should have expected it from a band who derive their name from the act of cannibalizing dead bodies. Sick bastards.