History of Communism in Europe

Volume 12/13, 2021/2022

Labour and Global Solidarity during the Long 20th Century / Youth and the Continuous Construction of Communism

Adrian Popan
Pages 99-117

Rock’n’Roll and the Discontents of Communism
The Scandals that Rocked the Scene

The literature on rock music in socialism oscillates between presenting it in opposition to the socialist society and being part of it. This article tackles the same question by looking at the moments where rock musicians found themselves at odds with mainstream morality: the scandals. Three cases have been selected for analysis: the media campaign against the band Chromatic in 1970, the publication of Ceauşescu’s Theses of July in 1971, and the continuing stream of defectors, including from the rock music scene. The analysis concludes that both sides tended to avoid open confrontations. Rock musicians were no dissidents; they preferred to make music using the available institutional means. Authorities would rather close an eye to problematic events to keep up appearances. Mid-level authorities served as mediators while working for their own benefit.