Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is on everyone everyone’s lips these days. The ubiquitous tune is catchy as hell and features musical help from fellow super-talents T.I. and Pharrell Williams. As if that’s not enough to earn it some serious column inches, let’s not forget the controversially racy (and very NSFW) music video! The vid has raised some red flags with fans, and even got yanked off of YouTube for a spell. #Thicke and Co insist that the over the top clip was merely meant as a joke, but we’re pretty sure he’s laughing all the way to the bank. A little controversy never hurt record sales, did it? Just read on to see 25 scandalously sexy music vids that were too hot to handle when they first dropped!
25. “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga (2010)
Pretty much any Mother Monster video could fit here. They’re all sexy, and all of them seem to have drawn criticism for one reason or another. But the pairing of Gaga’s sexiness with the religious iconography in her “Alejandro” clip earned the most heat to date, drawing fire from both the Catholic church and (even scarier) Madonna fans accusing her of ripping off the iconic “Like A Prayer” video by dovetailing blasphemy and sexy so seamlessly.
24. “Body Language” by Queen (1982)
Taking place in a sauna, the skin and sweat earned this video the distinction of being the first clip banned by the fledgling MTV station!
23. “Crazy” by Aerosmith (1994)
Alicia Silverstone stars in her third Aerosmith video, this time playing a rebellious Catholic school girl. The hotness of the scene is offset by the creepiness factor when you realize that the vid also features Steven Tyler’s teenage daughter, Liv. Interesting. Apparently the casting agent had seen her in a shampoo commercial and had no idea she was related to the band’s front-man…But still, we feel like it would have been OK for Steven to say he didn’t want to sing about his own daughter “not wearing nothin’ under that overcoat,” pole dancing, and driving him “crazy”. So we’ll pretend he’s only singing about Alicia.
22. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant (1990)
It’s not terribly subtle, but then again rock doesn’t always have to be. This early MTV vid’s primary draw is model Bobbie Brown dancing and occasionally being sprayed with a fire hose. Canadian cable networks refused to broadcast the clip due to it’s overtly sexist nature, but apparently Bobbie didn’t have a problem with it. She got involved with lead singer Jani Lane soon after the shoot wrapped, and married him a year later. How romantic!
21. “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1983)
The song itself was banned by the BBC for it’s over-the-top sexual lyrics, so it stands to reason that the video never stood a chance. The first version featured the band being accosted by leather-wearing men at a gay nightclub. The video was promptly banned from not only the Beeb, but also MTV as well. We’re guessing it may have had something to do with the implied “golden-shower” by the dude dressed up as a Roman emperor.
20. “Reach Out” by Hilary Duff (2007)
What’s the quickest way to shed your Disney princess image and jumpstart your flagging singing career at the same time? Release a ridiculously sexy music video, of course! No, literally, the clip for Duff’s rethinking of ” Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” is actually pretty absurd. So in the end a censored version of the video was recut for television broadcast.
19. “Girls On Film” by Duran Duran (1981)
The title is pretty suggestive, and the video delivers. Filmed just before MTV revolutionized the industry by playing videos in regular rotation, the New Wave group made the clip to be shown at discotheques and on Playboy-esque pay-per-view channels. However, the video caused an uproar in the mainstream media, getting banned by the BBC. MTV only agreed to play a heavily edited version, limiting the scantily clad pillow fights, sumo-wrestling, mud-wrestling, nudity and other debauchery. However the full shoot was later made available on VHS, and earned a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.
18. “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” by The White Stripes (2003)
There was absolutely nothing controversial about the White Stripes’ cover of this Burt Bacharach classic until Sofia Coppola decided to make the music video center completely around supermodel Kate Moss doing a pole dance. VH1’s very own Pop Up Video has all sorts of priceless details for this sultry shoot.
17. “Rock DJ” by Robbie Williams (2000)
The British pop legend presents stripping gone horribly horribly wrong. Don’t spoil the surprise for those who haven’t seen it! Despite being grossly hilarious, the twist ending resulted in the video being band across many European music television stations.
16. “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992)
Apparently MTV doesn’t like big butts. The network actually banned the video for this ’90s classic for packin’ a little too much heat. He is rapping while standing on a giant donk, after all. Obviously the banning helped take the song to legendary status, and soon enough MTV put the song back into rotation. Hey, it could be worse…at least Sir Mix is endorsing natural body types, right?
15. “Lapdance” by N*E*R*D (2001)
When you record a song as a tribute to strip-clubs, chances are pretty high that the video is gonna catch some flack. Viewers were mortified by the explicit sexual displays and the offensive objectification of women, so the original version was heavily censored when it was first released. Tragically, no one thought to censor Pharrell’s terrifying mustache.
14. “Miserable” by Lit (1999)
That’s the great thing about being in a rock band, even just a marginally successful one: You can request that your next video take place on Pamela Anderson’s bikini-clad body, and no one bats an eye! Although it’s not total cheesecake. In the end, giantess Pam gets the last laugh by eating the band members alive one by one.
13. “Sad Eyes” by Enrique Iglesias (2000)
Director Dave LaChapelle chose a unique scenario for Enrique’s cover of the Bruce Springsteen song: A man in his hotel room fantasizing about a woman he sees in a phone-sex commercial. Did we say “unique”? We meant “the most painfully realistic sex scenario on this list”. But music execs decided that it didn’t exactly portray their hunk in the best light, and the vid was shelved. Even when LaChapelle uploaded his work to his personal website in 2009, the record company insisted that he remove it. But as we all know, nothing can ever be truly removed from the internet…so we tracked it down.
12. “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi (2003)
Although there actually are Playboy versions of this iconic video floating around the internet, we highly doubt Benny had anything to do with them. The actual clip merges a Victoria’s Secret catalog with a Home Depot flyer, with vivid results. Many saw the video as offensive and sexist upon first release, and some networks would only play a different, animated version.
11. “I’m A Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears (2001)
Choosing the sexiest Britney Spears video is undeniably tough (“Womanizer” almost made it), but the clip for this Pharrell Williams tune might have to top our list. It showcased her graduation from Disney teen to Mature Diva (she turned 20 a few months after the video came out) and ruffed a lot of feathers. She’d been seductive before, but purring “Kitty kitty,” while dancing in a non-shirt to the hypnotic beat that, yes, she’s a slave 4? No contest. In case it wasn’t hot enough for you, the video appears to take place in a world that is on fire.
10. “Me So Horny” by 2 Live Crew (1989)
The Crew got into some seriously hot water just for the lyrical nature of their song. A Florida prosecutor had them tried for obscenity, and merchants who were caught selling their record were arrested. So this video featuring G-string wearing dancers really just added fuel to the flames. Luckily the obscene ruling was reversed on appeal, but the song still had to undergo some lyrical changes (and the dancers had to put on bike shorts) before it could be shown on MTV.
9. “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” by D’Angelo (2000)
Some videos require millions of dollars with of special FX bells and whistles. But in this case, D’Angelo’s ridiculously sculpted body was more than enough to hold our attention. The video turned D’Angelo into a sex symbol, but the constant screams of women demanding he remove his shirt during live performances gave the singer body issues for years to come. Awww, good thing The Situation didn’t meet the same fate.
8. “Girls, Girls, Girls” by Motley Crue (1987)
Remember what we said about “Lapdance”? Same rule applies here, y’all. The first version of this one was yanked from MTV for (surprise!) nudity.
7. “S&M” by Rihanna (2010)
“When I go out to make something, I kind of go out with the intention to get it banned ,” Riri told MTV News when she learned that her latest video for “S&M” was, indeed, banned in eleven countries and red flagged on YouTube. “Well not to get it banned, but to make something provocative … it’s making an effect and people are having a dialogue about it. So, to me, that’s successful.” If that’s true, Rihanna succeeded beyond her wildest dreams on this clip, which featured a candy-colored view of a whole host of sexual kinks. She even faced a lawsuit from film director David LaChapelle, who claimed that the video ripped off eight of his photographs that had been published in various international magazine publications. The case was settled out of court in 2011.
6. “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak (1989)
For years whenever this video came on, we assumed it was a Calvin Klein ad and just changed the channel. But it wasn’t until recently that we actually watched the whole thing and realized just exactly why this beach romp got everybody hot and bothered back in the glory days of MTV.
5. “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael (1987)
Even though David Fincher’s supermodel-filled vid for “Freedom ’90” is wayyyyyyy better, this earlier post-Wham! single generated more headlines for this scando clip starring Michael and his then-girlfriend Kathy Jeung. It’s almost kind of cute to watch ol’ George gush about the wonders of monogamy…by writing the word “monogamy” on her bare back with lipstick. The lyrics don’t exactly help matters, featuring eternal lines like “I’m not your father/I’m not your brother/Talk to your sister/I am a lover” and of course “It’s natural/It’s chemical/It’s logical/Habitual.”
4. “Call On Me” by Eric Prydz (2004)
This video almost made us actually want to go to the gym! Almost…The video for this Euro-dance hit had to be recut for the daylight hours, for obvious reasons.
3. “Justify My Love” by Madonna (1990)
The always image-conscious Madge did her very best to cause a scandalous splash with this infamous video, which actually isn’t terribly shocking when you get down the nuts (pun!) and bolts (not pun) of it. Shot in grainy black and white, the video aimed to resembled a ’60s art-house film of Paris, where the scenes were shot in an upscale hotel. But still, the scarcely covered dominatrix made things too hot for MTV, who subsequently banned the video for being overly sexual (and maybe also for not being a very good song). Thus, the track became Madonna’s first “video single”, available for purchase on VHS in plain black packaging meant to resemble, essentially, porn. Sure she achieved higher levels of drama and scandal with “Like A Prayer” a year earlier, but it’s nowhere near as hot as this.
2. “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera (2002)
Like her former Mickey Mouse Club mate Britney Spears did a year before with “I’m A Slave 4 U,” her 4th album Stripped heralded her move from squeaky clean pop starlet to Xtina: her wild and raunchy alter ego decked out with tattoos, piercings and (most scarily) omber hair. The transition was jarring for some fans, who didn’t know what to make of the David LaChapelle directed video, which he described as “a post-apocalyptic orgy.” The sex fetishes, mud wrestling, suggestive dance moves, revealing clothing and all-around dirrrrrrrrrrtiness of the video alienated record buyers and networks alike, and the single stalled at Number 48 on Billboard. But on the upside, it did introduce the dance-move known as “the slutdrop” to the world (really).
The video was banned in Thailand due to Thai-language postersoin the set apparently promoting sex tourism (which the director claimed to be unaware of). Many criticized Christina for allowing sex to get in the way of the music, and her new image was widely ridiculed by critics. However, it went on to receive great acclaim on MTV, who proclaimed it the sexiest music video ever made and inducted it into the TRL Hall-Of-Fame.
1. “Hooked On A Feeling” by David Hasselhoff (1996)
Hey, we like what we like, ok? Don’t judge.
[Photo: Universal/Warner Brothers/Virgin Records]