Part of an irregular series of bite-sized posts about 7″ singles I own – shameless nostalgia from the days of vinyl. (Search ‘Backtracking’ to collect the set!)

Heaven 17 – (We don’t need this) Fascist Groove Thang b/w The Decline of the West (Virgin Records, 1981) 

“Have you heard it on the news about this fascist groove thang – evil men with racist views spreading all across this land”

Heaven 17 - we mean it maaaaaan!

History has a nasty habit of repeating itself. Apologists for fascism and genocide may be asserting the right to free speech but their comments need to be vilified in the strongest possible terms.

Danish film director Lars  (“I am a Nazi”) Von Trier claims he was only joking during the press conference at Cannes Film Festival when he said that he sympathises with Adolf Hitler.

He admits that Hitler “did some wrong things” and was “not a good guy”; banalities that must go down as the sickest and most misguided understatements of the year.

What Von Trier was really doing was to seek some cheap publicity to grab the headlines; he has achieved this but probably not in the way he envisaged. Who knows what was going through his head to make such crass remarks.

Some folks have come to his defence and argue that Jews should lighten up, but these were not comments against one race but against the human race.

I therefore dedicate today’s ‘Backtrack’ to Von Trier and would draw his attention to the lines “Hitler proves that funky stuff is not for you and me girl”.

For this storming dance single, Sheffield’s Heaven 17 were Glenn Gregory (vocals), Ian Craig Marsh (synthesizers and sazophone) and Martyn Ware (synthesizers and backing vocals) with guest artiste John Wilson strutting his funky bass and rhythm guitar on the A side.

The power of the single contrasts with the B-side – a turgid piece of synthesized noodling that sounds like an outtake from Bladerunner.

The band got their name from the fictional band mentioned in Anthony Burgess’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’.  Marsh and Ware were formerly members of Human League and founder members of the band/production company B.E.F. (British Electric Foundation).

The synthpop of the 1980s  mostly left me cold but this debut single is a real diamond in the rough.

The BBC banned it which proves they must have been doing something right. Presumably the authorities were as nervous about Ronald Reagon being depicted as a “fascist god in motion” as they were about the Sex Pistols called the royal family a “fascist regime”.

Dance to the rhythm of truth:

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