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BEATS OF FREEDOM - A HISTORY OF POLISH ROCK MUSIC


Matyjasz 2 | 1,544
8 Nov 2010 #1
A lot has been written on this page about WWII or history of polish Jews and at the same time the period past 1945 still remains largely neglected and forgotten... and wrongly so! Maybe this documentary will spark an interesting debate about the history that a big number of us got to live through? Although it was meant as a testimony to polish rock music it is a great summary of what was actually happening socially, politically and culture wise on "our" side of the iron curtain. Unfortunately, not everyone speaks English in this documentary, nevertheless it should be an interesting watch for youz guyz. And it has some great tunes too, like this one, my all time favorite Manaam song:

...
Anyway, enjoy!
...
Softsong 5 | 495
17 Nov 2010 #2
This is a very interesting thread! As an American with some Polish ancestry, I have made a big effort to learn as much as I can about Poland's past. And you are right, topics here tend to be dominated by pre-WWII and perhaps right now, but I have wondered about life in Poland during the same time period in which I grew up in America. (the 50's and 60's.)

I remember in 1966 meeting a young Polish girl, Ewa, who moved to NYC from Gdańsk. I was 16 at the time, and she a bit younger. I was crazy about the Beatles. She seemed to have very little knowledge or love of rock and roll, and enjoyed classical music. At first, that was puzzling for an American teenager. I had to learn more about why that would be the case.

But then, I went to Poland for the first time in 2000 and the friend I was visiting was 29 years my junior, and just wild about the Beatles. Despite the huge age gap, we had lots in common and had been emailing for about 8 months, and having a wonderful time. I stayed with his family in Gdańsk, and his folks were about my age. One night his Dad took out the guitar and he and his wife played and sang songs. And I really enjoyed it and felt like they had experienced something similar to my teen years, maybe just a bit later. I think my friend Ewa who moved to NYC had just missed what was about to happen in Poland. So, liked watching these two videos very much. Thanks!
MediaWatch 10 | 945
17 Nov 2010 #3
Softsong,

You have some interesting stories.

Are you interested in Polish American Singers?

I like Pat Benatar a lot. She did not sing Polish rock per se, but she is of Polish ancestry and was a very popular Rocker in the 80's and 90's. I have most of songs still.

Pat Benatar: benatarfanclub.com/biopat.shtml

Love is a Battlefield
...
Shadows of the night
...
Invincible
...
You better run

Hell is for children
...
Heartbraker
Softsong 5 | 495
17 Nov 2010 #4
ThanksMedia Watch. Yes, I am interested in Polish American singers. *hides from Delph* ;-)

Always liked Pat Benatar. Appreciate the links. I am not a big jazz fan, but I like Basia (but I believe she lives in England). Never was too keen on Bobby Vinton. Although, I did learn to say "I love you" in Polish.

I just got done watching all eight parts of the "Beat of Freedom" and found it fascinating how music, and rock in particular has changed cultures and society. I can only imagine how hard it was to defy Communism in Poland. Very proud about how once again, Poland found a way to be a country, and to be free. We always heard about Solidarity here in the States, but it is wonderful to see the music and its influence.

I notice that many people in Europe who were raised under Communism tend to be very anti-liberal. They associate hippies with the left, and seem to equate Socialism in any form to Communism. The hippie movement at least in America was rather liberal. I guess it goes without saying that the hippie movement (and rock and roll) was really against the established order where ever you lived, and for Poles, the established order was Communism. (She said realizing there must be some controversy on PF to get attention to a thread).

Nowadays there are very conservative rockers, too. Any thoughts?
Tim Bucknall 7 | 98
4 Feb 2013 #5
Merged: Punk Rock in the PRL & Music censorship in general

were Punk albums like the Sex Pistols Nevermind the bollocks, released in the PRL?
it wasn't pressed in Russia until 1993
lorito - | 17
4 Feb 2013 #6
Probably the most popular Anarcho Punk band in Poland was Dezerter. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dezerter Definitely a recommended.

they had a great influence in Anarcho Punk and some of their members are still active in the scene with bands like R.U.T.A. .youtube.com/watch?v=SGyAnXfd4Yg .youtube.com/watch?v=O3VCxEcZ9o4

Other bands that come to my mind are TZN XENA and KSU.
Tim Bucknall 7 | 98
4 Feb 2013 #7
thanks for the link
"the show was ended halfway when management of the house disconnected electricity" Brilliant! just like the pistols!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
4 Feb 2013 #8
KSU.

on tour at the moment
pawian 171 | 12,080
29 Jul 2020 #9
The hype about rock music exploded in Poland in 1980s. The film Beats of Freedom tells the story.

ipn.gov.pl/en/news/437,Rock-in-the-Polish-Peoples-Republic-in-a-documentary-film-Beats-of-Freedom.html

At the time when life in Poland was controlled by the regime, music became a phenomenon having enormous influence on people. The "Iron Curtain" was not able to stop rock and young people, who through this music, found their space of freedom. From the beginning Polish rock was against communist reality

I think I will show the most important rock bands from 1980s. That was my fav music at the time when I was a young man and I still like listening to it.

Oddział Zamknięty - Psych Ward
Your world 1982
See the background of the song - a housing estate - a symbol of uniformity propagated by communism.

see the lyrics here: lyricstranslate.com/en/ten-wasz-swiat-your-world.html

They look, veins pricked, nightmares
Victims to their decaying brains
There's more and more of those
I'm waiting entangled in sick hands.


Chorus
What your wonderful world looks like
I know, and they know too
Branded by dreams,
Branded by dreams.


youtu.be/QxQA6WMgMBg

KSU - that was a cult punk rock group from Bieszczady Mountains. Their name was inspired by car registration plates from the area.

Against the Flow 1988

lyricstranslate.com/en/pod-pr%C4%85d-against-flow.html

First stanza

Don't ever try to go against the flow
Don't ever try to find the reasons
Don't break ranks
Because you're nothing, nothing
Don't ever try to say "no"
Don't ever try to find the reasons
The individual is, however, nothing
So are you


youtu.be/V9ouWat5efU
Miloslaw 6 | 3,027
29 Jul 2020 #10
@pawian

Yeah, you were a bit of a rocker in your youth then?
I liked the first song you posted, the second one was OK but I am a bit older than you and never really got into Punk.

But music apart, I like why you posted these videos.
It was an important time for Poland.
pawian 171 | 12,080
29 Jul 2020 #11
Yeah, you were a bit of a rocker in your youth then?

Yes, I was into rock and my favs were heavy metal, hard and punk rock.

than you and ever really got into Punk.

There were different kinds of punk. KSU played "melodic" punk - with nice tunes which you could sing or whistle on your own. After hard punk period, they calmed down a little and also played softer music.

It was an important time for Poland.

Yes, that music was relaxation and also inspiration.

Another one by KSU - melodic hard punk

On the other side of the door - 1988

I'm sitting in an empty pub, everyone has left into the dark night
The waiter collects glasses, they will kick me out again from here
Time to leave, but there is nowhere to go
Before I came here, I had slammed your door

Bitterness time, I see the bottom
Bitterness time and broken glass


youtu.be/PMzQ1mHNcpA
Mr Grunwald 22 | 1,641
30 Jul 2020 #12
@pawian
I am curious what you think about Sabaton?
Specifically: "Primo Victoria", "Winged hussars" and "Uprising"
pawian 171 | 12,080
30 Jul 2020 #13
Polis heavy (metal) rock. The main group was TSA.

They created a wonderful love ballad in 1982.

3 Matches-

The first one...
The first one to see your eyes
The second...
the second to see your mouth
The third...
The third to see all of your face
Three matches one by one, three matches one by one
struck in the night...


Amazing music

youtu.be/A3LEKAw4z3I

It was TSA which spurred me to dislike communism even more that I had before. hahaha Curious story. In 1985 they released a very good album called Heavy Metal World. One of my metal friends was lucky to buy it (shortages of all goods!) and we listened to it in his house and copied the tracks onto our cassettes.

A few months later TSA went to Great Britain to record the album once again with English lyrics. I heard it on the radio and was thrilled coz it sounded twice better than the Polish version - the music was more dynamic, energetic, the main vocal turned aggressive and they added backup voices for all choruses. The result was amazing. I learnt the difference came from Western superiority of recording technology - Polish one was backward.

That was the last straw - communism had to fall. hahahaha

BTW, both versions are available on youtube

Compare the title song in two versions

Heavy Metal World

Polish

youtu.be/1ewPCJYRGQE

English

youtu.be/Dg7hoJAAeM0

The noise of guitars, like a roar of furious lion
That's Heavy Metal Rock
Someday it will wake you up like a canon shot
Then you will find that
Noises of great cities and bustle of dirty machines
Scream of the wrathful crowd, completely deafened you
But we still have our Heavy Metal scream!
Miloslaw 6 | 3,027
30 Jul 2020 #14
@pawian
Like you as I was growing up Electric Blues,Hard Rock and later Heavy Metal was the music that I loved.
TSA were a great Polish Hard Rock band and your posts were fascinating... you may be surprised by this, but I prefered the Polish version, simply because the Englush version made them sound the same as all the NWOBHM bands that were about at the time.

The Polish version, for me, gave them the edge.
pawian 171 | 12,080
30 Jul 2020 #15
The Polish version, for me, gave them the edge.

Of course. I still remember that evening when 3 of us listened with awe to the Polish album. It was like extasy for us - we didn`t say a word until the longplay came to the end. :)

But their more aggressive English album was fascinating, too. You should know that I was also heavily influenced by Metallica - their first album Kill `Em All 1983 was utter revelation to me. I had never heard such fast musical tempo before. Metal Militia rulez! hahaha

That is why when I heard that more dynamic TSA I welcomed it enthusiastically.
Miloslaw 6 | 3,027
3 Aug 2020 #16
I was also heavily influenced by Metallica - their first album Kill `Em All 1983 was utter revelation to me

Same with me, when I first put it on the turntable I had to check that I hadn't mistakenly put it on at 45rpm LOL!!
pawian 171 | 12,080
3 Aug 2020 #17
I didn`t have that problem cos the Polish Radio illegally presented all latest albums so people could easily record them onto cassettes. I had a lot of them, practically most with metal rock.

BTW, talking about metal, there was one more important group apart from TSA.

Turbo

Their biggest hit was the amazing ballad Grown-up Children 1982 - it was considered a hymn of the generation so you must have listened to it once in a while.

1 st stanza
They've taught us rules and dates
They've hammered us wisdom into our heads
They've repeated what we can or not
They've convinced what's good or bad

Refrain
Grown-up children have grudge (grief)
Against lame (poky) recipe (formula) for this world
Grown-up children have grudge
That someone has stolen so much from their life


youtu.be/AnOhpmCS0Fc
mafketis 23 | 8,543
3 Aug 2020 #18
I had to check that I hadn't mistakenly put it on at 45rpm

Back in the early 90s (when super cheap pirate cassettes were everywhere) I bought a compilation of Hanka Ordonówna not having any idea who she was because I like some music from the 1930s (which is what the cover picture looked like).

I loved the tape and played it a _lot_ and then when I saw a non-pirate album (vinyl) I bought it to take back to the US... imagine my surprise at how different it sounded.... I suspect that the tape was recorded too fast. The 1.25 option on youtube sounds a bit too fast so I think it was probably in the 1.10-1.15 range enough to change the sound but still sound credible.... I've since learned to appreciate her at normal speed, but... it's not quite the same....
pawian 171 | 12,080
3 Aug 2020 #19
I didn`t have that problem cos the Polish Radio illegally presented all latest albums

Another metal group was KAT (Hangman) but I didn`t listen to it too much coz they released their first single in 1985 and it was nothing special. Soon they evolved into thrash metal and satanic message in lyrics and lived off various scandals so that completely put me off.

Still standard metal music from their first single - The Last Tabor

youtu.be/Cn2NeKuo7c4
Miloslaw 6 | 3,027
3 Aug 2020 #20
cos the Polish Radio illegally presented all latest albums so people could easily record them onto cassette

I was very well aware of tbis at the time.
But whilst you had to record albums off the radio on cassettes, I could buy the albums on vinyl.... it felt disgusting at the time....
pawian 171 | 12,080
3 Aug 2020 #21
Well, I didn`t complain. Better cassettes than nothing, right? :):) I don`t think other Warsaw Pact countries aired this kind of Western music on their national radioes. Probably Hungary only. If I had lived in Romania, I would have had to listen to Cauceascu`s speeches every day. hahaha
pawian 171 | 12,080
3 Aug 2020 #22
The evolution of my stereos below - Polish manufacturing. They weren`t the best available at the time - when I visited my friends` houses, many had more sophisticated and expensive players. But I was happy with mine and never complained - it played metal music and that was enough.

I still keep them in my basement and garage - except Finezja which was a gift to my cousin when I bought the Mini Tower.


  • 1980 - 1981 Grundig license

  • 1981- 1983 Daria

  • 1983 - 1986 Finezja

  • 1986 + Mini Tower
mafketis 23 | 8,543
3 Aug 2020 #23
I don`t think other Warsaw Pact countries aired this kind of Western music on their national radioes

According to a friend (during the PRL) the broadcast times were scheduled to try to keep young potential troublemakers (to the regime) off the streets. Not so much a concern in more authoritarian demoludy (or Hungary either).
pawian 171 | 12,080
3 Aug 2020 #24
the broadcast times were scheduled to try to keep young potential troublemakers (to the regime) off the streets

hahaha funny, but not true. Like in a joke

"Is it true" the listener asks "that in Moscow, at the Red Square, Moskvich cars are being given for free?"

It is absolutely true" the host replies "just not in Moscow but in Leningrad, not at the Red Square but at the Revolution Square, not cars but bikes, and not given for free but stolen for free."


Yes, they tried to keep off, but regular kids and not troublemakers, and not off streets but off church going and not by rock music but by attractive Teleranek programs on Sunday morning. hahahaha

In my case, Marek Gaszyński always played heavy metal (once he played Marillion, stupid m..the..f...er hahaha) on Tuesdays at 6 pm.
Miloslaw 6 | 3,027
4 Aug 2020 #25
Better cassettes than nothing, right? :):)

This is true and if you missed a radio show the chances were that you could pick up a pirate tape at the local market at the weekend :-)
pawian 171 | 12,080
4 Aug 2020 #26
Not only at the market. At regular shops, too. I remember a posh music shop in the Old Town. They had Western stereos and records but prices were astronomical. So, with my metal friends, 3 of us, we bought two cassettes. We drew straws who was going to keep them - I got the one with Def Leppard, probably Pyromania from 1983 and Madonna`s Like a Virgin on the other side. My friend was luckier coz he got the cassette with Accept`s Restless and Wild, with their cult song which I always loved- Fast as a Shark.

However, if you missed a radio programme, the chances also were you wouldn`t find it in shops or even a flea market coz Gaszyński often presented less popular groups. It was easy to purchase Iron Maiden, ACDC, Judas Priest, Metallica, Black Sabbath etc coy thez were always at the top. There was a problem with Pretty Maids or Running WIld. Not to mention such niche groups as Rose Tattoo. And I still remember Rose Tattoo`s album from the radio.
Miloslaw 6 | 3,027
4 Aug 2020 #27
@pawian

You made me smile because I know all those bands and songs.
Reminds me of my youth :-)
pawian 171 | 12,080
4 Aug 2020 #28
Yes, we were young, brave and innocent. It was later when life corrupted us. buhahahaha

it was considered a hymn of the generation so you must have listened to it once in a while.

There were a few hymns of our generation in fact. Two or 3 of them were created by another cult group - Perfect

Autobiography - it has a long text and I don`t want to quote too much so I refer you to the site where I get most translations from:

lyricstranslate.com/pl/autobiografia-authobiography.html

youtu.be/AJQ4OVcEiDQ
mafketis 23 | 8,543
4 Aug 2020 #29
by attractive Teleranek programs on Sunday mornin

This was a different kind of program then.... in the summer and a friend absolutely said the timing of the show (a recorded concert by Maanam IIRC) was scheduled when younger people might otherwise be going out.

once he played Marillion

One of these PRL fixations I never came close to understanding (along with Leonard Cohen and sea shanties) they always seemed completely forgettable to me...
kaprys 3 | 2,415
4 Aug 2020 #30
I don't know much about those days but I know Jarocin was a big thing and there was this young couple who had Iron Maiden play at their wedding in 1984.

youtu.be/knC743Nds4Q


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