Plastic People of the Universe

Throughout the 1960s the people of Czechoslovakia demanded the ruling Communists increase social, political and economic freedom. In 1968, after a period of exuberant freedom known as “Prague Spring,” the Soviets sent troops to reassert control. In 1976 the government arrested four members of the Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa-influenced rock group, The Plastic People of the Universe, accusing their lyrics as possessing “extreme vulgarity with an anti-socialist and an anti-social impact, most of them extolling nihilism, decadence and clericalism.” After a controversial and very public trial, several Plastic People of the Universe band members faced prison sentences or went into exile in the West. The Plastic People broke up in the late ’80s though they did reunite in 1997, celebrating the successful emergence of Czechoslovakia from Soviet rule.

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