#postpunk gems, v. 27 — Heaven 17

Well, finally, the Heat Miser has taken his wares elsewhere. He chased us out of Ohio, up to Ontario, and even to Quebec City. Merci, but no merci, Mr. Miser.

As you may know, Heaven 17 included Human League ex-pats Martin Ware and Ian Marsh, and the band took its name from the fictional pop group mentioned in passing in A Clockwork Orange. As reported in NME, the inspiration for their debut 7″ came from an afternoon of persuing Record Mirror, “picking out all the words from those absurd disco song titles. We were laughing at those phrases, thining they’re pretty good and then we just chucked in ‘How Much Longer Must We Tolerate This Fascist Groove Thang.’ We were pissing ourselves for days.”

Following the single’s spring 1981 ascent to #30 on the UK charts, the BBC found it considerably less funny, and dropped it. Why? Their legal department deemed it libelous to say “Reagan, Fascist guard.” So, they recorded another version substituting the phrase “Stateside cowboy guard.”

Like Elvis Costello’s SNL appearance in 1977 (in place of the Sex Pistols, who couldn’t get visas), when he launched into “Radio, Radio.” Lorne “they broke their promise” Michaels banned EC from SNL for 12 years. I love these moments when “the man” feared popular music, offered testerical reactions, and confirmed for all of paying attention that this music deserved closer attention. Fun times! And definitely way more fun (and political) than wardrobe malfunctions.

Here are the gents, avec La Roux, at it more recently at Abbey Road:

Have a dance-worthy week!

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