Searching for a Cold War Soundtrack
August 5, 2008 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to make a music playlist that recaptures that '89 cold war, fall of communism feel. Think Scorpions - Wind of Change.

I'm living in Eastern Europe for the first time, a whole bunch of friends and family are coming over for a special occasion and I really want to create a playlist for a night of drinking in an old communist apartment. I'm not so interested in traditional folk music or patriotic songs...but popular music with subject matter relating to the cold war or the fall of communism (or Russia and Eastern Europe in general). I don't mind how cheesy they are and the song doesn't necessarily have to be western.

To Begin:
Scorpions - Wind of Change
Elton John - Nikita
David Hasselhoff - I'm Looking for Freedom
Leonard Cohen - First We Take Manhatten [for the Berlin mention]
Nena - 99 Luftballons

Not Interested in:
The Beatles - Back in the U.S.S.R
Novelty songs - e.g anything by Weird Al

There were these nuclear songs previously, but maybe a bit too nucleary for me.
posted by DOUBLE A SIDE to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones?
posted by Lucinda at 6:50 PM on August 5, 2008

That's what I immediately thought of too, Lucinda.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:53 PM on August 5, 2008

Billy Joel - Leningrad
Sting - Russians
posted by imposster at 7:00 PM on August 5, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, I had never listened to the lyrics of that song, great.
posted by DOUBLE A SIDE at 7:00 PM on August 5, 2008

Best answer: Also: Songs about the Cold War from the 80s
posted by imposster at 7:04 PM on August 5, 2008

Underworld - Underneath the Radar

My previous "Songs of Nuclear Destruction" AskMe may have some ideas too.
posted by pompomtom at 7:05 PM on August 5, 2008

There are several songs from Hedwig and the Angry Inch that might fit the bill... SugarDaddy (maybe) or Tear Me Down (probably). The soundtrack is much better musically than these film clips.
posted by kimdog at 7:07 PM on August 5, 2008

Up for some late-80s Australian glam rock? Skyhook's Jukebox in Siberia (lyrics) could be fun drinking music.
posted by Paragon at 7:26 PM on August 5, 2008

"I'm not so interested in traditional folk music or patriotic songs.."

Are you sure? The Red Army Chorus doing the Soviet Anthem is amazing, and the DDR Hymn is surprisingly sweet.
posted by orthogonality at 7:31 PM on August 5, 2008

Jona Lewie - I will stop the Cavalry
posted by scruss at 8:00 PM on August 5, 2008

Rush - Heresy
Not quite eighties, but close.
posted by cimbrog at 8:05 PM on August 5, 2008

For me, pretty much all of U2's Achtung Baby, but most especially Zoo Station (referring to the Berlin train station). And also the song Zooropa off of the album by the same name.
posted by chinston at 9:00 PM on August 5, 2008

We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel covers events up until '89.

Also - Fury in the Slaughterhouse's "Every Generation Got It's Own Disease." Or, anything Fury. A great underrated band.
posted by Ostara at 9:50 PM on August 5, 2008

Der Kommissar - After the Fire
posted by umbĂș at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2008

When the Children Cry - White Lion
Winds of Change - Damn Yankees
posted by k8t at 11:35 PM on August 5, 2008

Response by poster: Excellent, thanks for the finds, should be a good night of music and vodka straight.
posted by DOUBLE A SIDE at 4:39 AM on August 6, 2008

BTW, Nina Hagen is the artist, not Nena.
posted by JJ86 at 5:55 AM on August 6, 2008

Best answer: Fall of communism:
Adrian Belew/David Bowie's Pretty Pink Rose (at least, that's what I thought it was about at the time)

Nucleary songs:
XTC: I Remember The Sun and This World Over
The English Beat: Stand Down Margaret and Dream Home In New Zealand

Also, the way I heard about the fall of the Berlin Wall was an announcement on MTV that was immediately followed by Elvis Costello's version of What's So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding.

Finally, the Specials' "Free Nelson Mandela" always reminds me of that period in '89/'90 when the world seemed to be improving drastically.
posted by kimota at 6:56 AM on August 6, 2008

The band Gorky Park embodies this moment in history as can be seen in this video for Bang.
posted by euphorb at 9:03 AM on August 6, 2008

JJ86: If you are referring to "Nena - 99 Luftballons ", it is definitively Nena and not Nina Hagen. Think Nena=pop band with girl singer Nena, Nina Hagen= punk, crazy, whatever, doing her own thing musically.

DAS: You might be interested in the Leningrad Cowboys (from Finland) who toured with the Red Army Choir as a backing group. This happend in the early 90s and I guess it would have been unimaginable before '89 :-)

I think that they do not fall under your novelty song prohibition, since their renditions are quite faithful to the originals.

Total Balalaika Show:

Kalinka , Sweet Home Alabama, So Happy Together, I am just a Gigolo, Those Were The Days
posted by mmkhd at 9:30 AM on August 6, 2008

Mike and the Mechanics - "Silent Running"

(may not fit your bill exactly, but I thought of this question when I heard it just now)
posted by Shecky at 10:25 AM on August 6, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks again for the leads, making an ultimate mix-tape (play-list) now. Will look into the Red Army Choir could be very nice.

KIMOTA: I had never heard of the song 'Dream home in New Zealand', after reading the lyrics that could be fitting, seeing as most of us are from New Zealand...
posted by DOUBLE A SIDE at 7:27 AM on August 7, 2008

Response by poster: Euphorb: I think 'Bang' is lost without the video, that is an awesome video.

Mmkhd: I'd completely forgotten about the leningrad cowboys, but yeah still a bit too novelty for me.
posted by DOUBLE A SIDE at 8:24 AM on August 7, 2008

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