14 Hit Rock Albums from the ’70s That Wouldn’t Pass Today’s Standards for Acceptable Lyrics

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Rock music has long been synonymous with rebellion and lyrics pushing societal limits. The 1970s were a revolutionary time for this music. However, many rock albums that left an indelible mark back then might not go well with today’s generation. Let’s deep-dive and see 14 rock albums from the 1970s with problematic lyrics.

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‘Led Zeppelin IV’ by Led Zeppelin

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Released in 1971, Led Zeppelin’s fourth studio album was often called ‘ Led Zeppelin IV.’ The rock album featured iconic songs like ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ However, another song, ‘The Battle of Evermore,’ included lyrics that people might criticize for glorifying violence and warfare. Additionally, the song ‘Black Dog’ would also receive backlash for objectifying women. The band’s inappropriate behavior issues would also fuel the hatred fire.

‘Sticky Fingers’ by The Rolling Stones

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‘Sticky Fingers’ by The Rolling Stones has given many hits like ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Wild Horses,’ but as much as they received the love of the audience at that time, they can receive more criticism today time. They contain racist and absurd lyrics regarding the exploitation of a young enslaved woman. The use of such language is not acceptable today.

‘Hotel California’ by Eagles

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‘Hotel California’ was one of the most iconic rock albums known for its masterful songwriting, guitar work, and the title track, which captivated listeners for decades. However, in recent years, it has received heavy criticism for references to excess, substance abuse, and a pleasure-seeking lifestyle through many lyrics. The problematic tracks include ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ ‘Pretty Maids All in a Row’ and others that are criticized for spreading outdated gender norms and a life filled with drugs.

‘Rocks’ by Aerosmith

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With tracks like ‘Back in the Saddle’ and ‘Last Child,’ which scream raw energy, Aerosmith’s ‘Rocks’ made a place in people’s hearts. However, the lyrics of these songs reflected themes of misogyny and objectification of women, which receive heavy criticism today. ‘Sick as a Dog’ even has references to drug abuse, which is a sensitive matter to talk about. People argue that such a portrayal would encourage an outdated, harmful mindset in youngsters.

‘Physical Graffiti’ by Led Zeppelin

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‘Physical Graffiti’ was a double album released by Led Zeppelin in 1975. It featured hits like ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Trampled Under Foot’. However, tracks like ‘In My Time of Dying’ and ‘Custard Pie’ led this memorable album to come under the list because of the obscene lyrics. This incident becomes more controversial after considering the band’s reputation regarding their treatment and portrayal of women. People would criticize such things heavily in today’s time for promoting problematic portrayals.

‘Exile on Main St.’ by The Rolling Stones

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‘Exile on Main St.’ is another Rolling Stones album that has secured its spot on the list. It was famous for its gritty soundtracks like ‘Tumbling Dice’ and ‘Sweet Virginia.’ However, it might not resonate with the audience that much as it included themes of drug use and casual relationships that promoted a pleasure-seeking lifestyle. Such things would be unacceptable by society as they would only increase the problems in today’s time.

‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd

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‘The Wall’ was a concept album released in 1979 by Pink Floyd to explore the themes of isolation and mental illness. This good concept became popular and grabbed people’s attention as it blended the rock beats with the dark, isolated themes well. However, the depiction of violence and misogynistic attitudes in songs like ‘Young Lust’ and ‘One of My Turns’ would be faced with questions today as there’s more awareness around mental health and gender issues now. 

‘High Voltage’ by AC/DC

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The ‘High Voltage’ Rock Album released by AC/DC in 1976 was known for its rebellious spirit and hard-rocking sound because of hit songs like ‘T.N.T’ and ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll).’ But with such good music, the lyrics often glorified violence and aggressive behavior, which would not be acceptable today. Society would not want the young ones to listen to such songs and adopt the behavior promoted in them.

‘Goats Head Soup’ by The Rolling Stones

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And yet another Rolling Stones on the list. This album was named ‘Goats Head Soup’ and was released in 1973. ‘Angie’ and ‘Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)’ were some famous tracks, but songs like ‘Start Star’ included provocative content and crude language. And according to today’s standards, such a thing would receive heavy backlash for lacking decency and respect towards women.

‘A Night at the Opera’ by Queen

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Queen released their album, ‘A Night at the Opera’ in 1975 and was praised for giving hits like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ but would have been criticized for writing the song, ‘Death on Two Legs’ as it contains bitter lyrics aimed at a former manager. The personal feelings taken out in it might be interpreted as overly harsh by today’s generation.

‘Houses of the Holy’ by Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin might also receive criticism for the 1973 album Houses of the Holy. It had hit tracks like ‘The Song Remains the Same’ and ‘No Quarter,’ but offensive songs like ‘The Crunge’ and ‘D’yer Mak’er’ would earn it some bad spotlight in today’s era. The mentioned songs carried obscene content and fostered problematic issues, which would not be acceptable.

‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ was an icon for portraying American life and dreams at that time, but one song, ‘Meeting Across the River, ’ might foster some problems for today’s generation. The song glamorized illegal activities and gave a negative viewpoint, reflecting a darker lifetime. However, people argue that it should be framed differently to convey the message, as the depiction might encourage unlawful behavior.

‘Destroyer’ by KISS

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One of the band’s most successful and influential albums, ‘KISS’. ‘Destroyer’ has had many controversial tracks like ‘Christine Sixteen’, ‘Do you Love Me?’, and ‘Detroit Rock City’ with rocking anthems. The mentioned tracks depicted many serious issues in an unhealthy manner, like obsession, minor consent, objectification, stereotypes about women, dangerous lifestyles, and many more. In today’s time, such content would receive heavy backlash and negative reviews from listeners for promoting such things.

‘Toys in the Attic’ by Aerosmith

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With another Aerosmith album on the list, ‘Toys in the Attic’ was appreciated for its raw energy and classic rock sound, marking some of the best hits. However, tracks like ‘Walk This Way,’ ‘Sweet Emotion’, and ‘Big Ten Inch Record’ contain lyrics that might not resonate with today’s standards. They perpetuate objectification of women, substance abuse, and obscene language, which would be criticized for glamorizing dangerous behavior.

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