Heaven 17

(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

Composed by Glenn Gregory / Ian Craig Marsh / Martyn Ware

Song Review by

The main difference between the Human League in their original form -- when synth players Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware were part of the group's core -- and the bright and flashy pop group that later hit the charts is that the original Human League were possessed of one of the strangest and most bone-dry senses of humor in pop music at such a po-faced time and place as the U.K. new wave scene of the late '70s. When Marsh and Ware formed the British Electric Foundation, and later Heaven 17 with singer Glenn Gregory, they took that weird sense of humor, as evinced in the group's deadpan presentation of itself as a sort of corporation whose product happened to be pop music and songs like the hilariously dry "I'm Your Money" and "We're Going to Live for a Very Long Time." Heaven 17's first single, "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang," is a perfect example of the trio's skewed perspective: on one level, the song is a straightforward condemnation of the right wing. On another...well, what exactly was a fascist groove thang? The lyrics put images of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan getting down P-Funk style into the listener's head, a concept that's certainly worth a giggle just by itself. The tightly wound arrangement, filled with seemingly half a dozen different rhythm tracks, most of them electronic, is so clattering and jangled that it sounds like the song is about three times faster than the measured tempo at which it's actually taken, which adds to the general sense of paranoia.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Penthouse and Pavement 1981 Caroline Distribution 4:20
Endless 1986 EMI Music Distribution 4:17
The Best of Heaven 17: Higher & Higher 1993 Virgin 4:17
Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's, Vol. 5 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
The Remix Collection 1995 EMI Music Distribution 0:00
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Dance Club Retro, Vol. 1: New Wave 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:57
Relax: Ultimate 80's Mix 1998
Various Artists
Polygram 3:54
Postpunk Chronicles: Scared to Dance 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 4:12
Electropop Essentials 1999
Various Artists
Hip-O / Hippo 4:09
New Romantics Are Back 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:17
Original Electro Album, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:19
Essential 80s [EMI Gold] 2007
Various Artists
EMI 4:20