(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
|"(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang"|
|Single by Heaven 17|
|from the album Penthouse and Pavement|
|B-side||"The Decline of the West"|
|Released||6 March 1981|
|Studio||Maison Rouge (Sheffield)|
|Producer(s)||British Electric Foundation|
|Heaven 17 singles chronology|
"(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" is a song by British synth-pop band Heaven 17. It was their debut single, released on 6 March 1981, also acting as the lead single from their debut studio album, Penthouse and Pavement (1981). It was a minor hit in the UK in 1981, despite being banned by the BBC. It was also a minor dance hit in the US. It developed from an instrumental, "Groove Thang", that Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh created earlier that year for Music for Stowaways, an album they released under the British Electric Foundation name.
Details and ban by the BBC
"(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" was written by Heaven 17 members Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh and Glenn Gregory and included on their 1981 debut album Penthouse and Pavement. It was the first single released by the band.
In the lyrics fascism and racism are described in an ironic fashion, using the lexicon of funk music. The lyrics of the song also reference the UK and US political leaders of the time, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan, respectively, and include denunciations of both racism and fascism. According to the book Banned!: Censorship of Popular Music in Britain, 1967-92, the song was banned by the BBC due to concerns by Radio 1's legal department that it libelled Ronald Reagan as he was the new US President at the time of the song's release.
Reception and chart performance
Despite being banned by the BBC, "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" reached number 45 on the UK singles chart. It debuted on that chart on 21 March 1981 and peaked one week later. The single peaked at number 72 in Australia, and was also a minor dance hit in the US, reaching number 29 on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart in 1981. The song was ranked at number 4 among the top ten "Tracks of the Year" for 1981 by NME. Allmusic reviewer Stewart Mason describes the song as "clattering and jangled", with multiple electronic rhythm tracks played simultaneously, making the song seem faster than its nominal tempo. "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" has appeared on over a dozen 80s music and dance music compilations, including Rhino Records' Postpunk Chronicles and Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s compilations.
- Glenn Gregory – Vocals
- Ian Craig Marsh – Synthesisers
- Martyn Ware – Synthesisers, Linn LM-1 and Backing Vocals
- Malcolm Veale – Synthesisers
- Josie James – Vocals
- John Wilson – Bass
The Fire Engines covered this song on a Peel session dated 23 February 1981
American new wave band Information Society covered the song in 2016 for their album Orders of Magnitude. It was remixed by Inertia and The Crusher for the DEF CON 24 music compilation that same year, featuring multiple voice samples of American president Donald Trump.
- Mason, Stewart. "Heaven 17: (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang". allmusic. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- LeRoy, Dan. "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". allmusic. Archived from the original on 10 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Clark, Tristan (1 November 2007). Stick this in your memory hole. aduki independent press. p. 38. ISBN 0-9803351-2-4. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Cloonan, Martin (1996). Banned: Censorship of Popular Music in Britain: 1967-1992. Ashgate Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 1-85742-300-3.
Radio 1 remained wary in the political arena and in 1981 its legal department advised Heaven 17 that their hit 'We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thing' libelled American President Ronald Reagan by calling him a 'fascist'. So the BBC dropped it...
- "Official Charts > Heaven 17". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 137. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Heaven 17: Billboard singles". allmusic. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
- "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- Yoo, Noah (January 11, 2019). "LCD Soundsystem Detail New Live Album Electric Lady Sessions". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 11, 2019.