Exploring the Origins: Who Had the First Parental Advisory Sticker on Their Album?

Exploring the Origins: Who Had the First Parental Advisory Sticker on Their Album?


Parental Advisory stickers have become a common sight on album covers, warning parents about explicit content. But have you ever wondered who had the first album to receive this sticker? In this article, we will explore the origins of the Parental Advisory sticker and discover which artist was the first to have it on their album.

The Birth of the Parental Advisory Sticker

In the late 1980s, concerns about explicit and offensive lyrics in music began to rise. Parents and conservative groups were worried about the impact these lyrics could have on young listeners. In response to these concerns, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) introduced the Parental Advisory sticker in 1985.

The Purpose of the Sticker

The main purpose of the Parental Advisory sticker was to inform parents about explicit content in music. The sticker served as a warning, indicating that the album contained explicit language, themes, or both. It was up to the parents to decide whether or not their children should listen to such content.

The Criteria for Receiving the Sticker

The decision to apply the Parental Advisory sticker to an album was not taken lightly. The RIAA had a set of criteria that determined whether an album should receive the sticker. These criteria included explicit language, references to violence or drug use, and sexually suggestive content.

The First Album with the Parental Advisory Sticker

Now that we understand the background of the Parental Advisory sticker, let’s find out which album was the first to receive it. The honor goes to none other than the iconic rock band, Guns N’ Roses.

The Controversial Album: “Appetite for Destruction”

In 1987, Guns N’ Roses released their debut studio album, “Appetite for Destruction.” The album was an instant success, but it also faced significant controversy due to its explicit content. Songs like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” contained explicit language and themes that were deemed inappropriate for younger audiences.

The Impact of the Sticker

With the introduction of the Parental Advisory sticker, “Appetite for Destruction” became even more controversial. The sticker drew attention to the explicit content of the album, leading to debates about censorship and freedom of expression. Despite the controversy, the album continued to sell well and is now considered a classic in rock music.

Subsequent Albums with the Parental Advisory Sticker

After Guns N’ Roses broke the barrier, many other artists followed suit and released albums with the Parental Advisory sticker. Some notable examples include:

1. N.W.A – “Straight Outta Compton” (1988)

This groundbreaking album by N.W.A pushed the boundaries of explicit content in music. It addressed social and political issues, but also contained explicit language and references to violence.

2. 2 Live Crew – “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” (1989)

2 Live Crew’s album was so explicit that it led to a legal battle. The album was deemed obscene by a court, but the decision was later overturned, setting a precedent for freedom of expression in music.

3. Eminem – “The Marshall Mathers LP” (2000)

Eminem’s second major-label album was highly controversial due to its explicit lyrics and themes. It received both critical acclaim and backlash for its provocative content.

The Evolution of the Parental Advisory Sticker

Over the years, the Parental Advisory sticker has evolved to adapt to changing times and technology. In addition to physical album covers, the sticker now appears on digital platforms, such as streaming services and online music stores.

Parental Controls and Content Warnings

Alongside the Parental Advisory sticker, parental controls and content warnings have become more prevalent. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music allow users to set restrictions on explicit content, ensuring that parents have control over what their children can access.


The Parental Advisory sticker has become an important tool for informing parents about explicit content in music. Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” holds the distinction of being the first album to receive this sticker. Since then, numerous albums have followed suit, pushing the boundaries of explicit content in music. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the ways in which we protect young listeners from potentially harmful content.


  1. “Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America” by Eric Nuzum
  2. “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” by Ricardo Cort├ęs
  3. “The History of Parental Advisory Stickers” by Alex Suskind

Table: Albums with the Parental Advisory Sticker

Album Artist Year
Appetite for Destruction Guns N’ Roses 1987
Straight Outta Compton N.W.A 1988
As Nasty As They Wanna Be 2 Live Crew 1989
The Marshall Mathers LP Eminem 2000