[1]Vaclav Havel and the Velvet…

Vaclav Havel and the Velvet Underground

In 1968 Vaclav Havel, then a dissident, later to become President of Czechoslovakia, “sat down and, knowing that he’d likely be imprisoned for his efforts, wrote an open letter to his dictator, Gustav Husak, explaining in painstaking detail just why and how totalitarianism was ruining Czechoslovakia.”

It was the Big Bang that set off the dissident movement in Central Europe.

This act of literary punk rock was followed, logically enough, by a defense of rock music that sparked the Charter 77 movement. Or, as Havel told a startled Lou Reed when he met the Velvet Underground’s former frontman in 1990, “Did you know that I am president because of you?”

In 1968 a rare copy of the Velvet Underground’s first record somehow found its way to Prague. It became a sensation in music circles and beyond, eventually inspiring the Czech name for their bloodless 1989 overthrow of Communist rule, “the Velvet Revolution.”

Lou Reed once commented the Velvet Underground’s first album only sold 40,000 copies but “everyone who bought it started a band” – or a revolution…

The Velvet Underground web page

PS Poet Allen Ginsberg may have ignited the original fire in Czechoslovakia.

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