The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

25 June 2006

Honey, disconnect the phone

Banned in the U.S.S.R.:

While the Kremlin fretted over Afghanistan and an economy creaking under the strain of the Cold War, it also had time to keep a beady eye on the baleful influence of popular Western music.

The blacklist, which was meant to clamp down on disco playlists, was distributed to party officials in January 1985, two months before Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as the leader of the USSR.

Its existence has been revealed in a new book, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, by Russian emigre and author Alexei Yurchak.

Some of the Listed:

Despite their left-wing street-cred in the West, the Clash were banned for "punk and violence", as were, among others, the B-52s, the Stranglers and Blondie.

Heavy metal acts such as Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were blacklisted for supposed offences including religious obscurantism, violence, racism and anti-communism.

Talking Heads joined the list for "myth of the Soviet military threat" and Pink Floyd were blacklisted for "distortion of Soviet foreign policy".

"All in all, you're just another brick in the Berlin Wall."

But more mainstream acts also fell foul of the communist authorities. The Village People were deemed "violent", Tina Turner was banned for "sex", Summer for "eroticism" and several artists, including [Julio] Iglesias and 10cc, for "neo-fascism".

Oh, come on. There are lots of reasons to ban Julio Iglesias besides "neo-fascism," starting with "environmental protection."

The present-day KGB playlist is here.


Posted at 7:14 PM to Tongue and Groove

Tina Turner was banned for "sex"

Dang, was everything illegal there?

Posted by: McGehee at 9:50 AM on 26 June 2006