Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2011 | 3 | 310-329

Article title

Pódia znovu jen pro prověřené. „Normalizace“ oficiální populární hudby v Československu 70. let


Title variants

Venues for the Politically Approved Only, Again: The ‘Normalization’ of Sanctioned Pop Music in Czechoslovakia in the 1970 s

Languages of publication



The article considers the means and mechanisms with which the Czechoslovak Communist régime, after putting a stop to the reforms of the Prague Spring of 1968, regained control over the sphere of pop music, and asserted its ideas about Czechoslovak socialist culture in it. The adherents of the new political course considered the greatest problems to be the loss of State and Party control in this sphere, the abandonment of ideological criteria in the granting of permission to music groups to exist, perform, and make recordings, and the invasion of supply and demand in the sphere of music. Though they brandished ideological slogans, they became more or less satisfi ed, the author argues, with vapid music that served as pure entertainment, while the festivals of politically engagé pro-régime songs helped to provide the rituals for the consolidation of Communist power. The keystone in the system of controls of professional concert production was the music agencies that also served to ‘normalize’ Czechoslovak pop music. After having been ‘purged’ of unreliable individuals, these agencies were politically authorized to carry out requalifi cation examinations of musicians, which started in October 1973. According to the author these merely formed the cover for stripping non-conformist musicians en masse of their professional status. Bringing under control the amateur music scene, which comprised groups with the status of ‘musicians of the people’ ( lidoví hudebníci ), proved, however, to be more complicated. To exist they only needed to have any National Front organization as their patron. Their concerts were under the direction and coordination of the organizers, and they were supposed to be monitored by the National Committees. According to the author, however, these links in the chain failed from the standpoint of the official control of music and everything related to it, since they often played their role only nominally or too liberally. Their role was then taken over by the police, including the secret police. Nonconformist young musicians and music-lovers were then subjected to surveillance, harassment, raids at concerts, and ‘preventative measures to break them down’. As an example, the author discusses Operation Rock Group ( akce ‘Kapela’ ), which the secret police carried out in the second half of the 1970s, thus ‘normalizing’ the amateur music scene as well. The idea of controlling amateur music, however, soon turned out to be illusory, because groups infl uenced by Punk and New Wave arrived on the scene in the early 1980s. This called forth new acts of repression.








Physical description


  • Soudobé dějiny, redakce, Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, v.v.i., Vlašská 9, 118 40 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.