Third Reich 'N' Roll is a 1976 studio album by the American Avant Garde Music band The Residents. It was released in 1976 under immediate controversy because of the Nazi imagery used on the album cover and in the lyrics themselves.
However, Third Reich 'N' Roll is a Concept Album poking fun at the Nazis. It features an absurd complot theory that the Nazis actually created rock 'n' roll to brainwash the youth.note They supposedly did this through famous American Bandstand presenter Dick Clark, which explains why he is shown on the cover in a Nazi uniform. In line with this theory The Residents covered a handful of well known rock and pop tunes from the 1950s and 1960s and sang them in a German sounding voice with a lot of Teutonic noise and World War Two imagery. Pure Nightmare Fuel to some, a hilarious Cover Album to others.
The album remains one of their most popular. It has only two tracks, "Swastikas On Parade" and "Hitler Was A Vegetarian", which take up the entire album. Many well known pop melodies can be recognized, though this not always easy.
- "Swastikas On Parade" (17:30)
- "Hitler Was A Vegetarian" (18:27)
Tropes On Parade:
- Adolf Hitlarious: On the cover and in the liner notes.
- All Germans Are Nazis: On this album they are.
- Artistic License History: Despite the fact that rock 'n' roll only emerged after World War Two this album suggests that the Nazis were behind it.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: German language songs sang by non-actual Germans.
- Brawn Hilda: The woman singing "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" in German comes across as this.
- Concept Album and Conspiracy Theorist: The Nazis invented rock 'n' roll to seduce the youth. Don't ask.
- Contemptible Cover: Dick Clark is featured as a Nazi. Swastika's are everywhere.
- Cover Album: Sort of. A lot of songs are covered, but in the form of a medley, with German accents and grotesque deconstructions that make many of them barely recognizable.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: All covers on this album are reimagined as Nazi propaganda songs that sound nevertheless everything but commercial. Some are even barely recognizable.
- Epic Rocking: The album consists of two tracks where all songs fade into each other.
- Fading into the Next Song/Siamese Twin Songs: Most tracks do one or the other.
- Gratuitous German: There is really no reason to attach rock 'n' roll to Nazis, but here we are.
- The implication is that "top 40 pop music is fascism in disguise", using the Nazis as a shorthand for fascism in general.
- Greatest Hits Album: It compiles some great 1950s, 1960s and 1970s bubble gum hits, only to distort them heavily into one long and brutal medley, with Gratuitous German gibberish in between.
- Guttural Growler: "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is sung in this way.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: One track is named "Hitler Was A Vegetarian".
- Medley: All songs fade into each other.
- Music And Sound Effects: At one point during "Swastikas On Parade" a fire alarm, a crying baby, gun shots and driving cars can be heard.
- The New Rock & Roll: The album satirizes the demonisation of rock 'n' roll in the 1950s and 1960s by older generations.
- New Sound Album: Hits you're familiar with, performed in a way you never heard them before!
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Subverted. Apart from Hitler and Dick Clark countless rock artists have their most famous songs demolished in bizarre covers.
- No Swastikas: In order to get this album released into Germany, a censor bar was slapped onto every swastika and Nazi reference. The ploy would've worked if all of the Nazi references weren't small and scattered everywhere.
- Propaganda Machine: The Nazis supposedly used rock 'n' roll as propaganda, according to this album.
- Pun-Based Title: "Third Reich 'n' Roll".
- Reference Overdosed: Have fun trying to recognize which songs are covered.
- Sampling: The break beat of "Papa's Brand New Bag" is an actual sample of James Brown's original song. It may even been the first James Brown sample ever!
- Also, the very first seconds of the entire record are sampled from an actual german-language version of Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again".
- James Brown: "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" is covered, including the first ever James Brown sample on a record.
- The Doors: "Light My Fire" from The Doors is covered.
- "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)" which was covered here for the first time would get an extended Shout Out as the leitmotif on the album God in Three Persons a decade later.
- A mash-up of The Beatles' "Hey Jude" from Magical Mystery Tour and The Rolling Stones: "Sympathy For The Devil" from Beggars Banquet is referenced near the end.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The Nazis apparently invented rock 'n' roll and decided to sing all hit songs themselves.
- Translated Cover Version: Their cover of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" is a literal German translation of the song. Other covers on this album tend to be sang in English with a mock German accent.