12 Of The Most Controversial Songs Ever Written

Guns n' Roses - Used To Love Her

Guns n' Roses - Used To Love Her

The song title doesn’t give a lot away; it sounds like it could be a broken-hearted tune. Well, it is in a way but then Gunners usually had a unique slant on most things. The band claim that it was a tongue-in-cheek song but with lyrics like ‘I used to love her, but I had to kill her’, and ‘I had to put her, six feet under, she’s buried right in my back yard’, this is a song that was always going to upset somebody.

Madonna - Justify My Love

Madonna - Justify My Love

Sex definitely does sell; just ask Madonna. ‘Justify My Love’ is arguably the song which caused most controversy during Madonna’s long stint during the 80s and 90s as the most provocative and sex-obsessed artists on the planet. The accompanying video was largely to blame, being so sexually explicit that it almost required a classification. To be fair though, that was a few years ago, it would probably go unnoticed these days.



Eminem - Kim

Eminem - Kim

Eminem is definitely no stranger to controversy. Perhaps the track that put him in the cross-hairs the most was ‘Kim”. Both emotional and aggressive, the song details the murder of his wife at his own hands and includes the distressing description of Eminem slitting his wife’s throat while screaming “Bleed, bitch! Bleed!” Strangely, Kim was once at a live performance of this song and upon witnessing the audiences’ approval, she attempted suicide, although thankfully she was not successful. She then sued Em for defamation.

The Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

The Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

This song was an attack on the Queen and what they called ‘her fascist regime’. Released during Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, it caused quite a stir with it lyrics as well as artwork. The Sex Pistols claim they were just aiming to draw attention to the plight of the working man and actually showed a love for their country. Of course, it was banned by the BBC but again, this probably just added to its charm, appeal and commercial success.



Body Count - Cop Killer

Body Count - Cop Killer

Not too difficult to see the problem here is it? Fronted by rap legend Ice T, Body Count’s rap-metal ‘Cop Killer’ caused a massive stir for its intent to provoke. The song tells the point of view of an individual, so disillusioned by police brutality, that he decides to take matters into his hands and begins killing police officers.

NWA - Fuck Tha Police

NWA - Fuck Tha Police

'Fuck Tha Police’, from 1988’s album ‘Straight Outta Compton’, wasn’t slammed for misspelling the word “the”, but for including lyrics in such antagonistic opposition to authority. It is ultimately a protest song highlighting police brutality and racial tensions. Constructed to inflame and provoke a response on behalf of the disenfranchised, the song met its mark attracting attention from the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service.



Judas Priest - Better By You, Better Than Me

Judas Priest - Better By You, Better Than Me

Because of this song Judas Priest found themselves involved in a civil action that alleged they were responsible for the shotgun suicides of 20-year old James Vance and 19-year old Ray Belknap from Nevada, USA. But seriously, who wants their target audience dead?

Cannibal Corpse - Fresh Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's C**t

Cannibal Corpse - Fresh Entrails Ripped From A Virgin's C**t

Cannibal Corpse are anything but subtle in their attempts to shock and offend. The reactions of politicians, religious groups and family groups have probably helped their bank account more than hinder their success. This song title is up there challenging for the “most offensive song title” award; that is, until you read through the rest of their back catalogue....



Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name

Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name

This song is one of many of the band’s politically-themed criticisms of social injustices, and attacked institutional racism and police brutality. It was released not long after the LA Riots which followed the Rodney King trial. Famous for its catchy, ‘Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ refrain, controversy surrounding the song appeared to miss the point just because it includes the F-bomb quite a few times.

The Shamen - Ebeneezer Goode

The Shamen - Ebeneezer Goode

This track hit the British airwaves and subsequently foreign shores in 1992. A song with not-too-subtle references to drug use, the chorus included the lyrics, ‘Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode, He’s Ebeneezer Goode’, an analogy to ecstasy. The song was banned by the BBC but reached number one on the charts in the UK during the same week that the BBC was holding its drug awareness week.



Slayer - Angel Of Death

Slayer - Angel Of Death

Slayer have never been subtle with their lyrical subject matter however, ask the band themselves and they’ll tell you their lyrics don’t condone, but are merely fantasy or telling stories in the same way a Hollywood film might, or even the Old Testament. But however you view this, the subject of this song was grisly. Telling of Nazi ‘physician’ Josef Mengele, who conducted hideous human experiments at Auschwitz during World War II, it details surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusion of blood between twins, isolation endurance, gassing, injections with lethal germs, sex change operations, the removal of organs and limbs.

The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up

The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up

Well, it isn’t hard to see where the controversy starts here with this song. Nobody wants impressionable minds thinking about domestic violence.

The real stir though, was created by the song’s video. It is filmed from a first-person perspective and depicts a hedonistic night out from drink driving, violence, vandalism, nudity and sex. The unedited version also includes scenes of heroin abuse and a full sex scene. We assume the person is a male the whole time but in the end we find out it is a woman, a nice little way to challenge stereotypical views of sexuality.