The Plastic People of the Universe - Egon Bondy's Happy Hearts Club Banned
Lots of bands like to think that they are doing something important. Few are. This one did.
The Plastic People formed right after Prague Spring, when the USSR troops came in and clamped down on all that messy freedom stuff. These guys paid the price over the years as Czech society became more repressive. Many of them went to jail.
This is the first document of their existence to be smuggled out to the Western world. It is thought to have been recorded around 73 or 74, but it wasn't released until 1978. As a political statement, it really can't be topped. As a purely musical expression, it's really good.
The PPU were clearly influenced by the Mothers and the Fugs and the Velvets, which is a great palate to work from. The Eastern European touches, especially in the modes that they use, give it a real unique flavor. The translated lyrics make it clear that they were pretty crass and pretty funny. I included the translated title names to give readers a feel for this.
The PPU were part of a group of artists, rabblerousers, and intellectuals that included Vaclav Havel. This group of people was responsible for a big part of a larger movement that helped to bring down the Soviet Empire. Let's see Bono top that.
This is another item from that NWW list of rare and weird recordings. I'll try to get another one or two of those up here this week. Burned from vinyl, and the recording source probably wasn't so hot to begin with, so the sound ain't super purdy. But the best stuff rarely is.