Saturday, November 13, 2010

Soekarno Beatles Music Censorship In Indonesia 60s: By Dr Steven Farram, Darwin Australia

If you are into a serious study of past pop music from this region then Dr Steven Farram is the person to check out on Google. I quote his credentials, as he is "a Research Associate in the School of Creative Arts and Humanities" at Charles Darwin University in Australia.

"His main research interest is the history and politics of Timor-Leste, Indonesia and the Northern Territory. He has authored books, book chapters and journal articles in all three areas, including his paper, Wage War Against Beatle Music! Censorship And Music In Soekarno's Indonesia (published in RIMA in 2007)."

I was first introduced to Steve and his wife at the end of our Silver Strings performance (2008 VivoCity gig, Reunion Of The Sixties). They were both rockin' and rollin' with the crowd to the beat of Mike and Herb's songs.
When the music finally stopped, his handshake was wet as he was hot and perspiring. They had to hurry home the next day and came to Singapore just to see the Beatles of Malaysia perform. However, we promised to meet again.

We did meet again and, with email exchanges, became good friends when he returned to Singapore in April 2009. Even with the dinners, coffee breaks and discussion about 60s music, he never told me about himself.
It was only after reading the novel, The Year Of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch and looking around for articles to write for this blog, that I chanced upon his name while googling for Soekarno and the Beatles.

Steve has been providing many comments and insights on this blog and interested parties can also read his articles at
I know you don't need this publicity Steve but I hope more research can be done on Asia's 60s music and with your help!

Image: Charles Darwin University Australia Website.

The Beatles suggested to discuss the matter and to work it out? Not true, it's just another love song by the four lads from Liverpool and had nothing to do with the situation in Indonesia then.

Check Dr Farram out:

Date of Publication: 2007
Publication Year: 2007
Document Type: Journal Article   

Subject(s): CENSORSHIP.
Abstract: Indonesia's President Soekarno declared the Beatles' music as 'a form of mental disease' and urged his people to 'wage war against Beatle music'. He also moved to ban rock and roll but it was increasingly popular with Indonesian youth and many Indonesian bands played in the rock and roll style. 

Soekarno's war on rock and roll and the case of one of the most popular bands 'Koes Bersaudara (Koes Brothers)' is discussed. Music and censorship in post-Soekarno Indonesia are also discussed.
Language: English
Geographic Location: Indonesia  ISSN: 0815-7251

URI Indicator: No
PI Indicator: No
Full-Text Indicator: Yes
Full Text:;dn=966976083163051;res=IELIND

Original article: Andy Lim.



Thanks, Andy.

Where does the photograph of Soekarno come from? I haven’t seen that one before.


KOH SUI PANG said...

Too noisy noisy la ..Sukarno said !!!!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, Sui Pang, he did say that. And thanks to Bert for your lovely poster. Good morning to you too.

And Steve, sometimes we can't capture all, most, for you.

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Koh Sui Pang
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