Kick Out the Jams is the debut album by American protopunk band MC5. It was released in February 1969, through Elektra Records. It was recorded live at Detroit's Grande Ballroom over two nights, Devil's Night and Halloween 1968. The LP peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 chart, with the title track peaking at No. 82 in the Hot 100. Although the album received an unfavorable review in Rolling Stone magazine upon its release, it has gone on to be considered an important forerunner to punk rock music, and in 2003 was ranked number 294 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.
While "Ramblin' Rose" and "Motor City Is Burning" open with inflammatory rhetoric, it was the opening line to the title track that stirred up controversy. Vocalist Rob Tyner shouted, "And right now... right now... right now it's time to... kick out the jams, motherfuckers!" before the opening riffs. Elektra Records executives were offended by the line and had preferred to edit it out of the album (replacing the offending words with "brothers and sisters"), while the band and manager John Sinclair adamantly opposed this.
The original release had "kick out the jams, Motherfuckers!" printed on the inside album cover, but was soon pulled from stores. Two versions were then released, both with censored album covers, with the uncensored audio version sold behind record counters. Making matters worse, Hudson's department stores refused to carry the album. Tensions between the band and the Hudson's chain escalated to the point that the department stores refused to carry any album from the Elektra label after MC5 took out a full-page ad that, according to Danny Fields, "was just a picture of Rob Tyner, and the only copy was 'Fuck Hudson's.' And it had the Elektra logo". To end the conflict and to avoid further financial loss, Elektra dropped MC5 from their record label. Ironically, band members later alleged that Elektra official Jac Holzman encouraged the use of the epithet on the record itself.
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