[tps_title]The Plastic People of the Universe[/tps_title]
Perhaps the most astonishing story in all of rock music, and it’s unfortunate that it’s not as well known as it should be. In 1976, the members of this Czechoslovakian psychedelic band were arrested by the communist government and convicted on the trumped up charge of “disturbance of the peace,” with some of the members serving sentences of up to sixteen months in prison for playing rock & roll music. In response to these arrests, the famed playwright Vaclav Havel co-wrote the Charter 77 criticizing the government’s human rights record. It’s considered to be one of the major cornerstones of the Velvet Revolution, which ultimately toppled the Communist government and eventually installed Havel as the then-Czechoslovakia’s first democratically elected leader. Because of this, the Plastics are one of the very few rock & roll groups that will probably be mentioned in world history books outside of popular culture sidebars. Even aside from that, the group’s perseverance and resistance to the regime is one of the most inspiring in all of music. The band was included in Tom Stoppard’s 2006 play Rock ‘n’ Roll, but they were not the main focus of that work. A film about the Plastic People of the Universe is the music film I’d personally most like to see made.