When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

10 December 2005

Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi (dance) party!

It sounds like a plot point from a Mel Brooks movie, but it isn't: back in the 1930s, German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels commissioned a Nazi Party "house band," Charlie and His Orchestra, with an English-speaking bandleader, who broadcast Big Band music over shortwave, aimed at European and American audiences:
Charlie and His Orchestra was led by Karl Schwendler, an English speaking German who broadcast Nazi-themed swing and big-band hits every night on the medium-wave and short-wave bands throughout the 1930s to Canada, the US and Britain. Leave it to Goebbels to take the music of The Andrews Sisters, Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin and fill it with venomous rants against Jews, America and the British. The man took his propaganda seriously.
And, naturally, there are forty-plus tracks of Nazi Swing available for you to download from the Internets, courtesy of the very fine, eccentric freeform radio station WFMU and its very fine, eccentric blogging general manager.

The musicianship can be described as competent at best -- strictly "sweet" Big Band sound, a sort of second-rate Glenn Miller style, stuff that wouldn't really "swing" in the Louis Armstrong sense if you put four million volts through it.

But the lyrics have to be heard to be believed (e.g., FDR Jones.)

WFMU's Beware of the Blog: Still More Nazi Swing Music (MP3s)

Hat tip: BoingBoing.

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