From time to time I give you here some hints where you can inform yourself about the GDR history in English or other foreign languages. I always try to find different offers for foreign language people and so I presented already websites, museums or events regarding the GDR. Today I searched about the topic music in the GDR and I found a really interesting online platform. The site is called “The View East” and deals in different articles with East Europe and the former GDR. It is practiced by the historian Dr. Kelly Hignett, who writes a lot of the articles herself. But sometimes there also write guest authors. The article I want to present you today is written by the guest author James Shingler (historian).
James Shingler studied the history influence of Western popular music on youth culture in the GDR between 1949 and 1990 and wrote on “The View East” an article with the headline “Rocking the Wall: East German Rock and Pop in the 1970s and 1980s”. There he goes into the impact of popular music in the GDR in the 1970s and 1980s. Before he approaches the named time he gives short background information about the years before.
James Shingler portrays in an interesting way, how the situation changed for the musicians in the GDR between the 70s and 80s. He tells about the control of the SED and how it handled Western bands. In the part about the 70s he explains the case of the Klaus Renft Combo, which was banned in 1975.
In the early 1980s the indigenous popular music in the GDR reached a high point with bands like The Puhdys, City, Karat and Silly. Furthermore there was the possibility of a limited musical exchange between East and West Germany. Nevertheless the bands and musicians had to fear censorship and the state influence.
Besides these topics Shingler also tells something about Punk Rock in the GDR and about the end of the GDR.
Shingler undergirds the text with video examples, presents photos und names references for different topics and gives at the end of the text further information on the topic. With this additional information and the examples the article is really interesting to read and examines a special part of the GDR history, which is historico-cultural important.