Soviet Union 1985 And Music

A cornucopia of what doesn't fit anywhere else - post away.

Soviet Union 1985 And Music

Postby Marsbar » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:08 pm

This article appeared in - I have done some editing.

Soviet Union Creates a List of 38 Dangerous Rock Bands: Kiss, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Village People & More (1985)

DM - while I trust the source I can't verify the truth behind the story. However is a fun read.

Music is dangerous and powerful, and can be, without intending to, a political weapon. All authoritarian regimes have understood this, including repressive elements in the U.S. throughout the Cold War. I remember having books handed to me before the Berlin Wall came down, by family friends fearful of the evils of popular music—especially punk rock and metal, but also pretty much everything else.

The descriptions in these paranoid tracts of the bands I knew and loved sounded so ludicrous and hyperbolic that I couldn’t help suspect each was in fact a work of satire. They were at the very least anachronistic, yet ideal, types of Poe’s Law.

Such may be your reaction to a list published in 1985 by the Komsomol, the Soviet youth organization formed as the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League in 1918. (Find it below.) Consisting of thirty-eight punk, rock, metal, disco, and New Wave bands, the list is not at all unlike the materials printed around the same time by certain youth organizations I came into contact with.

DM - the list of bad artists and the reasons are:

1. Sex Pistols: punk, violence
2. B-52s: punk, violence
3. Madness: punk, violence
4. Clash: punk, violence
5. Stranglers: punk, violence
6. Kiss: neofascism, punk, violence
7. Crocus: violence, cult of strong personality
8. Styx: violence, vandalism
9. Iron Maiden: violence, religious obscuritanism
10. Judas Priest: anticommunism, racism
11. AC/DC: neofascism, violence
12. Sparks: neofascism, racism
13. Black Sabbath: violence, religious obscuritanism
15. Alice Cooper: violence, vandalism
16. Nazareth: violence, religious mysticism
17. Scorpions: violence
18. Gengis Khan: anticommunism, nationalism
19. UFO: violence
20. Pink Floyd (1983): distortion of Soviet foreign policy ("Soviet agression in Afghanistan")***
21. Talking Heads: myth of the Soviet military threat
22. Perron: eroticism
23. Bohannon: eroticism
24. Originals: sex
25. Donna Summer: eroticism
26. Tina Turner: sex
27. Junior English: sex
28. Canned Heat: homosexuality
29. Munich Machine: eroticism
30. Ramones: punk
31. Van Halen: anti-soviet propaganda
32. Julio Iglesias: neofascism
33. Yazoo: punk, violence
34. Depeche Mode: punk, violence
35. Village People: violence (DM - but not homosexuality??? WTF - :-)
36. Ten CC: neofascism
37. Stooges: violence
38. Boys: punk, violence
39. Blondie: punk, violence

The list circulated for “the purpose of intensifying control over the activities of discoteques.” It comes to us from Alexei Yurchak’s Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, which cites it as an example, writes one reader, of “the contradictory nature of Soviet life, where as citizens participated in the ritualized, pro forma ideological discourse, this very discourse allowed them to carve out what they called ‘normal meaningful life’ that went beyond the state’s ideology.” A large part of that “normal” life involved circulating bootlegs of ideologically suspect music on improvised materials like discarded and stolen X-Rays. The Komsomol eventually wised up. As Yurchak documents in his book, they co-opted local amateur rock bands and promoted their own events as a counter-attack on the influence of bourgeois culture. You can probably guess how much success they had with this strategy.
User avatar
Stage Manager
Posts: 1253
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:52 pm

Return to Just Stuff