Darling Nikki

Prince’s Purple Rain album has sold over 13 million copies since 1984, spent weeks topping Billboard charts, and launched the parental advisory warning that we’ve all come to know.Parental Advisory

By 1985, “Darling Nikki” was ranked as number 1 on the PMRC  (Parents Resource Music Center) list of songs to be banned from radio, then known as the “Filthy Fifteen.” *

It is said that Tipper Gore was shocked to hear the opening lyrics of “Darling Nikki”, a song from the popular soundtrack album she had purchased for her 11 year old daughter.

“I knew a girl named Nikki /I guess you could say she was a sex fiend/I met her in a hotel lobby/Masturbating with a magazine/She said how’d you like to waste some time/And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind.”

Then married to Senator Al Gore, Tipper organized her Washington DC friends and formed the PMRC, appeared at the controversial Senate hearings, faced rock artists who defended the music.

All of this effort led to the now 30 year old parental advisory label.

Mission accomplished ? Or did the label just add to a record’s popularity ?

Not sure about that. But, no matter how you feel about it, we owe it all to Prince.

This is a clip of Prince performing the song from the R-rated movie.

*In case you are curious, the infamous 15 songs targeted by the PMRC.




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40 Responses to Darling Nikki

  1. While not a prude I remember being shocked at some of the lyrics on a few of these songs on the list (I’m not familiar with several of them). What’s even worse is I would find myself liking the beat of the music but not really listening to the words and by the time I understood what was being said I felt silly. It’s gotten considerably worse than it was in the 80s and I can’t tolerate most of the foul language in a number of songs. Since I listen to most of my music on Google Play I have it set to play the “clean” versions of these works. I feel so old.

    • Hi Stephanae. You hit on one of the reasons I posted the list…what we hear today is so much worse by comparison than what was considered shocking in the 80’s. (We’ve come a long way, baby ??) It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the music/rhythm and ignore lyrics. We all do it. Thanks for the comment. ☺

      • You’re most welcome and please you can call me Steph 🙂 I was just telling my son the other day I get irritated when I find myself really getting into a song only to find that it’s sung by someone I’m not crazy about like Justin Bieber for example. But try as I might there are two songs of his (they’re played over and over and over) and I still like them. Ugh! 😉

      • ☺ I think I understand.☺

  2. kingmidget says:

    I remember those days … and I’m pretty certain I never paid attention to the label. And, yes, things are so much worse now then they were 30 years ago. It’s one of the areas in which parents have no control and kids find their own way. The music my kids listen to? Well, when we’re traveling together and one of them has their music plugged into the car sound system and certain songs come on, they know to skip right over them. It’s not that I’m offended by them, but I just don’t need to hear songs that are filled with the “f” word” or the “n” word. OK, let me back up, I am offended by the songs with the “n” word. I’ll never be able to accept casual use of that word.

    • I agree. There are some lyrics that are far more offensive than “personal gratification”. Nice that your kids skip over the lyrics to spare you the exposure. Thanks for chiming in, King. ☺

  3. I saw a bit about this on the news last night. The common opinion was that those labels made the music irresistible 🙂 Another sad day for those of us who sang and danced along. 😦

  4. I know, I feel the same. I loved Prince, but yeah, not always hearing the lyrics. And Steph, I was embarrassed I liked a song by Justin Bieber and, dare I say it, One Direction …

  5. I’ve always approached song lyrics with the same strategy I used to teach students about handling books which might contain “dirty words.” As the reader, or in this case, the listener, you have the power to decide whether or not you want to continue reading (or listening.) With books, I would teach them to just sort of “skip” those words in their heads, or substitute a cleaner version in their minds. With song lyrics, a little harder to do, but I suppose you can just “not notice” as those above have described. In either case, if the offensive language is too much, you have the power to close the book…or turn it off!

    • For real. All of those classic works of literature that risked being banned for use of language. We might have lost some of the good stuff. Music is such a personal choice…we surely can turn it off. ☺

  6. Erika Kind says:

    The lyrics are pretty “hot”… Never paid attention to them 30 years ago. I have to say that today they censor particular words in songs which is simply ridiculous. Thanks for the link. I saw that Prince songs are flooding YouTube now.

  7. Val Boyko says:

    I never cared about the words, but that able would get me interested that’s for sure!

  8. Judy Martin says:

    He was a pioneer in so many ways. An extraordinary talent, such a dreadful loss to the music industry.

  9. Not much to add, but I will say that we are losing a large number of musical icons of late, and that’s terribly sad.

  10. George says:

    I remember those days. I think back then the warning added to the curious popularity of those filthy fifteen but now I think it’s just a stamp on the cover. Most people expect to hear some off color language, especially with certain artists or categories of music. Not many eyebrows raised anymore.

    • Music will always be about expression. Some need vulgarity, others never will. But to think that we could censor our children’s choices in a digital age…futile for sure. Thanks, George. ☺

  11. Thumbup says:

    Censorship! Scary!

  12. The strange thing is that so much censoring actually drives peoples’ interest.

  13. I never knew this wow! Well things have sure changed!

  14. joey says:

    Hm. I hadn’t realized this was now 30 years old. The thing I remember is 2 Live Crew. lol I don’t think I was paying attention until high school. I had to have my father buy some things, and I remember being super irritated about it. My parents weren’t into censorship and I’m not either. Per kid, per thing, some decisions are made, but on music? Nah.
    That list… I just, wow.

    • I know. I wonder how Tipper’s kids turned out ??? And with husband Al, it was surprising to me that she’d be so up in arms about masturbation ? ☺ Sorry…I went there.

      • joey says:

        I don’t know how their kids turned out. I don’t mind you going there, sex is part of life, and it’s definitely green 😉

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