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POP EYE

February 16, 1986|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

VIDEORGY: The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) may be yesterday's news, but don't tell that to Tom Snyder, who emceed another round in the rock censorship wars Monday afternoon on his new KABC-TV talk show "Tom Snyder." The show drew quite a crowd, including PMRC Executive Director Sis Levin, popster Donny Osmond (who, as Snyder put it, "needs no introduction"), Jack McCollum (who is suing Ozzy Osbourne for his alleged role in McCollum's son's 1984 suicide) and Don Arden, who manages Ozzy's old band, Black Sabbath. Arden was an incredibly odd choice to defend Ozzy, since--apparently unbeknown to Snyder's staff--he's also suing Osbourne. (He filed suit last summer against Ozzy and his wife, Sharon--Arden's daughter--for allegedly slandering Arden by telling Black Sabbath that he steals from his clients).

Still, when Osbourne came under attack for the lyrics to his song "Suicide Solution," Arden offered a defense, of sorts, saying, "To be perfectly honest, I would be doubtful as to whether Mr. Osbourne knew the meaning of the lyrics--if there was a meaning--because his command of the English language is minimal anyway, so I wouldn't think there was any evil intent there."

But rock's most vociferous--and articulate--defender was none other than Donny Osmond, who termed the PMRC-instigated warning-sticker system "a stupid way" to go about warning parents about explicit rock lyrics. "If I was forced to put a 'G' label on my records, that would be death to me," he said. "Do you think a teen-ager is going to walk into a record store and buy a 'G'-rated Donny Osmond album? I'd be embarrassed to walk in and buy a 'G'-rated album. Next thing you know, it's going to go into its own place in the store, next to the 'Jungle Book' sound track."

Osmond insisted that it was unfair for any independent group to judge lyric content. "I don't think there's anything wrong with recording a song with sexual connotations," he said. "It depends how far you take it. But what's the difference between me recording a song with sexual connotations and the way someone else may record it? . . . I could get away with murder. Look at 'Puppy Love,' my biggest record. It can be a very filthy song."

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