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The Influence of Weimar Culture on Pop Music in the 1970s and ‘80s

Ostroff, N (2009). The Influence of Weimar Culture on Pop Music in the 1970s and ‘80s. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis is an investigation into the influence of Weimar Berlin’s culture on British popular music
of the 1970 and 1980s. The two eras are studied historically and artistically though the constant and
ever-changing backdrop of the city of Berlin. The retrospective significance in postmodern terms is
examined through music of David Bowie, Lou Reed and Kraftwerk and of the subcultures of punk and post-punk; their respective incorporation of elements, usually associated with ‘others’, reveals an alternative approach to artistic production in response to the ‘authentic’ American model. The breakdown of the divisions between diametrically opposed principles and ideologies is featured as artists consistently sought to erode boundaries. Chapter 1’Beyond Divine Symmetry’ looks at radical ideas in philosophy, politics and arts in the late-nineteenth century and World War I and the
challenges brought to conservative forces. 2 ‘Willkommen in Berlin’ focuses on post-World War I socio-economic and political ramifications, on Berlin and corresponding art and leisure industries. 3 ‘Out and About’ continues reviewing the arts and culture of Weimar Berlin and the impact of new forms of art and technologies had on the city 4 ‘Officially Degenerate’ looks at art, music and other elements deemed ‘degenerate’ under the Third Reich, 5 ‘Traveling in Time’ compares the opposing ideologies of the East and West and the role of Berlin during the Cold War, 6 ‘David Bowie: The Changing Face of Influence’ refers to Bowie’s glam period and his most obvious use of references to Weimar, 7 ‘Berlin Personified: Lou Reed’ analyses Reed’s seminal albums of Transformer and
Berlin 8 ‘German Irony: Kraftwerk’ scrutinizes the band’s inference that they were a continuance of Bauhaus, 9 ‘David Bowie: About Face’ looks at the artist’s years living and working in Berlin in the mid-1970s, 10 ‘England’s Projecting: Punk’ attempts to reveal why the subculture saw Weimar Berlin as comparable to mid-1970s London and 11 ‘Eye to I: Post-punk’ demonstrates how the
evolved subculture created their musical-art by incorporating ideas from Berlin’s inter-war years to express Cold War induced anxiety.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Ostroff, Nadya (redacted).pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


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