“Too much future”. Poet singers and rock musicians in the GDR vs. ideology, conformism and criticism of the political system
Rock music is a phenomenon created and developed in the English-speaking countries, with English being its “native” language, and the majority of (pop)cultural contextual determinants are associated with the USA or the UK. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Neue Deutsche Welle (the German New Wave) was the first attempt to break the Anglo-American supremacy on the music scene. Groups and singers from the then Federal Republic of Germany enjoyed huge popularity, not only in their own country. A similar phenomenon was Austropop in Austria, yet the most interesting were GDR-based rock music — nowadays referred to as Ostrock — that was treated in Poland in a slightly patronizing way and the protest song music. The creative output of East German artists was — as in other countries of the Eastern bloc — an attempt to define their own artistic identity between the compromise with official ideology and protesting against the regime. Rebellious rock and protest song music of the German Democratic Republic was also an interesting cultural phenomenon for two other reasons: nonconformist literature (Jürgen Fuchs, Wolf Biermann) was merging with specific rock music expression (Klaus Renft Combo) and this was further combined with the participation of an increasing number of Polish popstars of the 1970s and 1980s. Their records in German in the GDR were undoubtedly a novelty for the German audience, but on the other hand they exemplified a compromise with the cultural policy of the Honecker era.