Friday, July 02, 2004

Prague Rock

Prague is an overt city (you know in your heart it's true), but I came across something interesting that happened during the Clinton years that I didn't know about:

(Reuters) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were among those spotted moving to the music at a state dinner for Czech President Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar. It was Havel's idea to have Reed appear as the entertainer for the dinner held in the White House East Room. Said President Clinton: "If you had as much fun as I did just now, you should give President Havel the credit because he said, 'I want Lou Reed to play tonight." The evening provided a welcome respite for a White House shaken by a continuing sex scandal. The Brooklyn-born Reed and his band played some of his classics, including "Sweet Jane."

After Reed played several songs, the Clintons and Havels appeared on stage with him and Havel had Reed sign a book of his songs that was recently published in Prague.

Apparently Havel told Lou Reed "I was president because of you." I didn't know much about the Velvet Revolution, so I did a little research and found this quote here:

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." The Plastic People, then a newly formed troupe that borrowed heavily from Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, quickly added a half-dozen songs from The Velvet Underground & Nico to their repertoire. The group was banned not long after the Prague Spring concluded but continued to play at weddings and secret shows.

I don't know why I haven't heard of this before.

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