Controversy Creates Cash
“You know you want it”. Yes, yes I guess we do, Mr Thicke, from a sales perspective at least. Robin Thicke’s controversial (*rapey) hit Blurred Lines has been named the UK’s most downloaded song of all time. Despite the controversy-hurricane surrounding the song (banned from around 20 student bars and has been widely labeled as a ‘rape anthem’ in the media), Blurred Lines amassed over 1.5 million downloads, thanks to the paying UK public. Clearly, controversy doesn’t harm sales. Click on through for 5 other songs/albums that, despite the hullaballoo surrounding them, were ludicrously successful anyhow.
A Day In The Life represents one of the last great successes of the Lennon and McCartney writing partnership, with the pair generally writing alone afterwards. Rather suitably, they went out with one of the most adventurous, surreal and powerful songs that they ever made. Despite this, the line ‘I’d love to turn you on’ was all it took for the BBC to ban the track, a spokesperson for the BBC stating, “We have decided that it appears to go just a little too far, and could encourage a permissive attitude to drug-taking.” The ban was later lifted.
God Save The Queen was controversy manifest when released back in 1977. From the iconic artwork (see left), to its lyrics “there is no future in England’s dreaming”. Her Majesty was even compared to a fascist regime “God save the Queen/ The Fascist Regime”. However, The Pistols classic still made it to number two in the charts, although this brought yet further controversy, as the BBC has been accused of blocking the track from the number one spot, due to the Queen’s silver jubilee. Hmm. The Fascist Regime…
Keeping in with the monarchy bashing, we have what we ranked as the greatest record of all time on our Greatest Albums Of All Time list. Though not quite as hysteria-inducing as The Sex Pistols’ assault on the crown, shy Mr Morrissey did put out this old gem of a lyric in tribute to Queeny on the opening track of the album “Her very Lowness with her head in a sling”. Just brilliant.
The eternally introverted Bowie found himself once more in the eye of a controversy-storm with the release of the music video for The Next Day. Initially banned from Youtube (later reinstated), the song came under intense scrutiny from Christian Organisations, with even the former Archbishop of Canterbury wading into to declare the video “juvenile”, urging Christians to “rise above” it. A response can be found on Bowie’s official website.
Just to buck the trend with this list, here is an album where controversy UTTERLY OBLITERATED all previous success achieved. With Milli Vanilli’s debut going to number one, as well as netting them a Grammy award, the Vanilli boys must have been pretty chuffed with themselves. But, alas, the pop duo’s success was to be short lived. The LA Times revealed that the lead vocals on the album weren’t really Vanilli’s, resulting in their label deleting the record from its catalogue. And, as one last curb-stomp to the corpse of Vanilli, the duo also received the honour of being the only people to ever have a Grammy award rescinded in history. Ouch.