DAF – Der Mussolini

10th June 2024 · 1980s, 1981, Music

DAF’s minimalist electro and ironic lyrics are a far cry from the sweet synthpop coming out of the UK, and didn’t get past the radio censors in 1981.

It’s no surprise to learn that this song didn’t get a whole lot of radio airplay when it came out. Not because the band – Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – is German, but because of its title: Der Mussolini.

Its relentlessly minimalist ethic cannot have endeared it to popmongers: its doom-laden bassline and gutteral vocals a far cry from the synthpop prototypes of Soft Cell, OMD and Depeche Mode.

Then there was its lyric: “Geh in die Knie / Und Klatsch in die Hände / Beweg deine Hüften / Und tanz den Mussolini.” Which, as anyone (especially Annette Becker) knows, translates as: “Get on your knees / And clap your hands / Move your hips / And dance to Mussolini.”

Perhaps it was because Germans were not as famous back then for their ironic sense of humour back then as they are today that the radio censors took it at face value.

They might have been more likely to take it as a joke had they seen this video, unearthed by (kraut)rock expert David Stubbs, with the two cute kawaii girls doing their eccentric synchronised dance to Giorgio Moroder’s excellent remix.
But probably not.