Prompted by the recent death of Sex Pistols manager and punk honcho Malcolm McLaren, film critic/writer Roger Ebert recently posted an unfinished film script he wrote for the pioneering English punk band in the summer of 1977. Read Who Killed Bambi? here, on Ebert’s Chicago Sun-Times blog.
A secret Cold War document has been revealed, listing bands the Soviet Union refused to allow to be heard in youth discos – and while the usual suspects are high in the ratings there’s a few surprising entries too.
The Sex Pistols, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Judas Priest and AC/DC all appear, as might be expected. But alongside them are some
surprising entries, including “punk violence” acts Madness and Blondie, and “neofascist” performers Julio Iglesias and 10cc.
The People’s Cube has translated the paper into English, detailing the reasons why 38 acts were not to be heard in the USSR during the mid-1980s. The site editor explains: “We never saw it before because it was for internal use only, but we felt the invisible presence of such lists throughout life in the Motherland.”
It’s a stark illustration of the strict limits imposed on freedom in the Soviet Union of the 1980s, even though the era of change which would see the collapse of the USSR and and the end of the Cold War was only a year away.
The Soviet Komsomol, the Communist Party for young people, released the banning order in 1985, stating: “The following is a list of foreign music groups and artists whose repertoires contain ideologically harmful compositions.
“This information is recommended for the purpose of intensifying control over the activities of discotheques. This information must also be provided to all vocal-instrument ensembles [that’s bands] in the region.”
The list, approved by Head of the General Department of the Obkom of Komsomol, explains why each band is not to be publicised.
“Group Name and Type of Propaganda”
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. Krokus – violence, cult of strong personality
8. Styx – violence, vandalism
9. Iron Maiden – violence, religious obscurantism
10. Judas Priest – anticommunism, racism
11. AC/DC – neofascism, violence
12. Sparks – neofascism, racism
13. Black Sabbath – violence, religious obscurantism
14. Alice Cooper – violence, vandalism
15. Nazareth – violence, religious mysticism
16. Scorpions – violence
17. Genghis Khan – anticommunism, nationalism
18. UFO – violenct
19. Pink Floyd – distortion of Soviet foreign policy (“Soviet agression in Afghanistan”)
20. Talking Heads – myth of the Soviet military threat
21. Perron – eroticism
22. Bohannon – eroticism
23. Originals – sex
24. Donna Summer – eroticism
25. Tina Turner – sex
26. Junior English – sex
27. Canned Heat – homosexuality
28. Munich Machine – eroticism
29. Ramones – punk
30. Van Halen – anti-Soviet propaganda
31. Julio Iglesias – neofascism
32. Yazoo – punk, violence
33. Depeche Mode – punk, violence
34. Village People – violence
35. 10cc – neofascism
36. Stooges – violence
37. Boys – punk, violence
38. Blondie – punk, violence