8 stars who think sex isn’t necessary to sell records, from Adele to Miley Cyrus
By Naomi GordonThursday, May 21 2015, 12:20pm EDT
Dame Shirley Bassey has voiced her disappointment over what she sees as a high amount of scantily-clad stars leaving too little to the imagination these days.
The ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ star complained: “It is like they are all in competition with each other. Who can wear the skimpiest outfit? I mean, come on.”
Dame Shirley also suggested that instead of talented musicians feeling like they need to wear see-through outfits to get noticed, they should be concentrating on honing their art – and she’s not the only star who feels that way.
Here are 8 more celebrities – including some of the biggest names in pop – who’ve previously gone on record to insist that stars shouldn’t feel obliged to take their clothes off in order to sell their music:
1. Katy Perry: “Everybody’s getting naked”
Katy Perry has hit the headlines for wearing skin-tight latex, see-through frocks and cupcake bras on stage in the past – but even the ‘Dark Horse’ singer seems fed up with the lack of clothes popstars seem to have on today.
Speaking on the radio last year, she lamented: “Everybody’s getting naked. I mean, I’ve been naked before, but I don’t feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed.
“I’m not talking about anyone in particular. I’m talking about all of them… It’s like, ‘Put it away. We know you’ve got it. I got it too’.”
Katy conceded that she had worn revealing stage outfits in the past, but argued that musicians shouldn’t feel pressured to play the “sexy card” constantly.
“I’ve taken it off for – I’ve taken it out here and there. And I’m not necessarily judging. I’m just saying sometimes it’s nice to play that card, but also it’s nice to play other cards,” said the ‘Firework’ star.
“I know I have that sexy card in my deck – but I don’t always have to use that card.”
2. Adele: “Exploiting yourself sexually is not a good look… the key is to be happy with yourself”
Adele remarked that “exploiting yourself sexually is not a good look”, as she explained that she doesn’t feel a need to take her clothes off to sell her records.
Speaking in a 2012 interview, the multi award-winning ‘Skyfall’ singer also insisted that she wasn’t concerned by perceptions she’s “a plus size” or “bigger than other artists”.
“To sell more records, I don’t need to do that. I just stand there and sing. I’m not worried that I’m a ‘plus size’ and so much bigger than other artists,” she said. “Exploiting yourself sexually is not a good look. I don’t find it encouraging.
“No matter what you look like, the key is to be happy with yourself.”
3. Bette Midler: “You don’t have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead”
Bette Midler wasn’t afraid to give her forthright views on the ‘pornification of pop music’ today, taking aim at Ariana Grande in an interview last year.
“It’s terrible! It’s always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch looking so ridiculous,” Midler said.
“I mean, it’s silly beyond belief and I don’t know who’s telling her to do it. I wish they’d stop. But it’s not my business, I’m not her mother. Or her manager.”
Bette continued: “Maybe they tell them that’s what you’ve got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold.
“I mean, apparently people really like to pretend they’re having sex. They really like to slap each other’s butts. I mean, don’t ask me. It’s beyond me. I’m too old. I don’t know what the end game is going to be. I don’t know where you go from all that sex in your twenties. I don’t know how you sustain it.”
Offering advice for young women entering the industry, Bette said: “Trust your talent. You don’t have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead. You really don’t.”
Bette later issued an apology to Grande on Twitter, writing: “About my screed on @ArianaGrande , all I can say is, ‘Spoken like a reformed old whore!’ She does have a beautiful voice, on a couch or off.”
4. Kelly Clarkson: “Pitchy strippers”
Miley Cyrus’s latex bikini-clad performance of ‘Blurred Lines’ with Robin Thicke at the MTV VMAs in 2013 got everybody talking – including Kelly Clarkson, it seems.
Although she didn’t name names, Clarkson herself hit the headlines when she posted her reaction to “a couple [of] performances” from the ceremony, tweeting: “Two words: #pitchystrippers.”
She later clarified her comments, explaining: “It was more me just being funny. I guess I saw about six performances from [the VMAs] and I was just being funny.”
On how most fans assumed she was referring to Miley Cyrus, Kelly added: “That’s not my fault. I didn’t say any names… I’m not dragging anyone’s name in the mud. Everybody’s art is their art.
“I was just simply expressing my artistic point of view. Ain’t nothing wrong with being a stripper. Maybe be on key… Be the best dang stripper you can be.”
5. Chrissie Hynde: “If they’re under pressure to get their kit off, maybe they should just be making porn films”
Chrissie Hynde didn’t hold back when she suggested that there’s a “definite division of what I’d call porn stars trying to make records, and then musicians”.
The Pretenders star suggested that “real musicians” don’t need to take their clothes off in a 2014 interview, saying: “If you go and see Kate Bush, you’ll see a real musician. She takes care of business the way she wants.
“If a girl walks on stage and starts playing like Jimi Hendrix, believe me, no-one will be asking her to take her clothes off.
Chrissie also encouraged musicians to stand up for their rights to control their image, arguing: “If anyone says, ‘I have to do this because my record company told me’, that’s a lie. The artist is in control of what they’re doing. You can always tell anyone to f**k off.
“If they’re under pressure to get their kit off, maybe they should just be making porn films. Maybe they’re in the wrong game.”
Melanie C argued that sexualised stars could send a damaging message to “impressionable” young fans.
“It sends the wrong message to teenage girls. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney Spears have great voices and don’t need to take their clothes off. Young fans can be impressionable. Sometimes people go a little too far,” said the former Spice Girl in a 2011 interview.
“Sex has always been sold. It seems that now it has become very prevalent in pop music.”
7. Kings of Leon: “It almost seems to be making the world a bad place”
Kings of Leon have also revealed their disdain towards over-sexualisation in pop music.
Guitarist Matthew Followill complained: “Some pop shows I watch, it feels like the end of the world, it’s f**king awful. It’s not even music any more. You would never want your children to watch [shows like that] and I can’t believe that younger kids, even teenagers, are watching that stuff. It almost seems to be making the world a bad place.”
His cousin and bandmate Jared Followill added: “They make me cringe. I can’t watch that stuff. Not even just because they’re taking their clothes off, it’s the whole thing, the dance moves, it’s not good.”
8. Miley Cyrus: “Find a way that’s not just showing your tits”
Back in 2013, Miley Cyrus said that while she accepts the point of view that sex sells, she also thinks people need to “find a way that’s not just showing your tits” for the sake of it.
“A star is someone who doesn’t have to take her clothes off to be sexy because you naturally have star power,” Cyrus said in an interview conducted before her MTV VMAs ‘Blurred Lines’ performance.
“Sex does sell, but you have to find a way that’s not just showing your tits. I don’t want to be a glorified model. They just walk on stage and it’s all about their clothes – or lack of clothes.”