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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Here's a list of Western bands banned on Soviet radio in 1985

Check out this 1985 list of Western music banned on Soviet radio stations - the blacklist, titled ‘The Approximate List of Foreign Musical Groups and Artists, Whose Repertoires Contain Ideologically Harmful Compositions’, was drawn up by Komsomol, the Communist Party's Youth Wing. It was written in the obscure and verbose language of Soviet bureaucracy and riddled with classic Cold War paranoia. Meant to clamp down on disco playlists, the blacklist was distributed to party officials in January 1985.

Here's the translated version from Alexei Yurchak’s book, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More (zoomable original of the list here):

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.
The Village People were banned for violence
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.” 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 Iglesias and 10cc, for “neofascism.”
The document stated: “This information is recommended for the purpose of intensifying control over the activities of discotheques” and “must also be provided to all VIA [vocal instrument ensembles].”


  1. Canned Heat banned for "homosexuality"? WTH?

    1. Is that what "Goin' Up The Country" was about?


  2. I would have banned them all myself for incredible lack of talent.

    1. Seriously? All those musicians lack talent? And you're the second coming of Beethoven, I suppose.