British-based German synth group active in the 1980s. Two proper albums were released under the name: A Secret Wish (1985) and 1234 (1990), though the latter tends to be the victim of Fanon Discontinuity due to the massive line-up changes and different sound. Their debut album was released on Zang Tuum Tumb (ZTT) Records, home of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Art of Noise, meaning producers Trevor Horn and Steve Lipson, as well as rock journalist Paul Morley, had heavy input on their promotion and sound, like most ZTT acts.
The band would break up in 1986, with singer Claudia Brücken being earmarked by ZTT for another short-lived group, Act. The band would eventually partially re-unite for 1990's 1234, which was produced by Tears for Fears producers Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes.
- A Secret Wish (1985)
- 1234 (1990)
- Album Title Drop: A Secret Wish appears in the lyric to "P:Machinery". The title of the remix collection Outside World comes from "Frozen Faces".
- Cover Version: "Sorry for Laughing", originally by Scottish Post-Punk group Josef K.
- Epic Rocking: There are 10-minute-plus mixes of "Dr Mabuse", "Frozen Faces", "p:Machinery" and "Sorry For Laughing". More tenuously, "Do Well" runs over 20 minutes but it's really five tracks, not one.
- New Sound Album: 1234 was much smoother commercial pop.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Dr Mabuse", "Duel", "p:Machinery".
- No Pronunciation Guide: It's not clear whether "Lied" is meant to be read as the English or German word.
- Rearrange the Song: The band was on ZTT in the 80s, so this was bound to happen, with Horn and Lipson creating scores of remixes for each single. The remix album Wishful Thinking was edited together by Morley and an engineer to function as a rougher counterpart to A Secret Wish, that would get Propaganda tours alongside Siouxsie and the Banshees rather than with The Bangles, for example. Propaganda protested Wishful Thinking's release.
- Outside World, Noise and Girls Come Out To Play and The Best of Propaganda are pretty much just remix compilations themselves.
- On A Secret Wish, "Jewel" and "Duel" are the same song — the former is a rougher and heavier take, and the latter is a polished pop arrangement.
- Selective Localisation: The sleeve for the 12" edition of "p:Machinery" was basically the same the world over, except in Germany where the quotation from J.G. Ballard was changed to one saying that Germany has good architecture. The quote used elsewhere was one to the effect that the Baader-Meinhof group were driven to their crimes because Germany is so damned boring (which may sound harsh, but rather apt, bearing in mind that Propaganda themselves left Germany to seek fame and fortune in the UK).
- Shout-Out: "Dr. Mabuse" (to Dr. Mabuse), "Dream Within A Dream" (to Edgar Allan Poe).