In Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and early '70s, nothing was more underground than the Plastic People of the Universe, a psychedelic rock band that became even more important for the role it inadvertently played in the origin of the dissident movement Vaclav Havel and others founded. This song is inspired by the sound and the legend of the Plastic People of the Universe.





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Songs for Vaclav Havel




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Ballad of the Plastic People of the Universe




Plastic People of the Universe:

psychedelic Sixties gets diverse.

From a song that brought Frank Zappa fame

Plastic People took their name.

They had a penchant to astound and they covered the sound

of the Fugs and the Velvet Underground.


Plastic People of the Universe

exhibited a tendency to act perverse.

Was it a way to express their rage

when they sacrificed a chicken on stage?

Beside their amplifiers they lit ritual fires

as signs of rebellion and touchstones of desires.


Plastic People of the Universe

bounced between fortunate and adverse.

They refused to play a club when it upset their plans

and wouldn't let them throw rotten tomatoes at their fans.

But they had their successes, and they didn't give a damn

about the mandatory state musicians exam.


Plastic People of the Universe

wanted to be free and got the reverse,

arrested and interrogated

by authorities who wanted them eliminated.

They thought they were heading for a prisoners' hell;

then they found out about a writer named Havel.


Plastic People of the Universe

thought things were going go from bad to worse.

But more intellectuals took their side

and the fight for their defense spread far and wide.

Their calamity became a cause that unites,

a first for Czechoslovak human rights.