The chart swindle – signed Richard Branson – that rushed krautrock act Faust in the charts (and a bit of terror)

The chart swindle - signed Richard Branson - that rushed krautrock act Faust in the charts
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Out now is the re-release of Faust’s 3rd album “The Faust Tapes”. It’s far from sure that this re-released krautrock album will sell as much as the initial original release back in 1973 which ended up selling between 50 to 100.000 copies. All thanks to the clever marketing strategy of Virgin Records boss Richard Branson.

Back at the time Virgin Records wanted to cash in on the rush for German music and it was Virgin’s Richard Branson who wanted the UK to get to know Faust. Although, honestly speaking, Virgin Records’ boss did have a preference for very alternative bands. After all, he signed Mike Oldfield, Gong, Public Image Ltd., DAF, and so on.

As for Faust’s first album on Virgin Records, Branson’s marketing strategy was very simple, selling the LP for 49 pence, the price of a single at that time. But by selling the album for the extremely cheap price, the album was quickly declared ineligible for chart placement. By then, the ‘damage’ was done as they say and the album was available to thousands of households. Nevertheless, the sales of the album put Virgin at a £2,000 loss.

There’s a crypto-terrorist in the house named Nettelbeck


Our chief editor Bernard Van Isacker talks about “quite a weird achievement for this band which was powered by producer and crypto-terrorist Uwe Nettelbeck.” Bernard: “I clearly add crypto-terrorist because Nettelbeck was an associate of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist organization and as an editor of the underground magazine Konkret, he gave a platform to the very cute but communist nutcase Ulrike Meinhof, the founding member of the Red Army Faction (RAF). In short, Nettelbeck didn’t have any problem selling thousands of records and at the same time being a die-hard communist who adored Mao and supported extreme left wing terrorism. Orwell’s “Animal Farm” comes to mind indeed. Note that over the years several bands and artists would glorify Ulrike Meinhof in their music such as Marianne Faithfull and Doris Days to name just two. A kind of very misplaced idolatry you can say.”

Musically not a real album according to the band

The music on this album, drawn from Faust’s own library of private tapes, was recorded informally and not originally intended for release. There was literally no post-production work done and the band itself never referred to it as their 3rd album but considered it more as a bonus release to mark their signing with Virgin Records. That was also what the band communicated.

The album had 2 tracks, both called untitled, and the album had a running time of a bit more than 43 minutes.

You would think that Faust’s next album “Faust IV” would be a hit after all this ‘Branson’ work. Allas, the band, who was used to live in a Hamburg based commune, didn’t like the music industry enough to make that happen. They in the end broke up in 1975 after Virgin rejected their fifth album.

The band would reform in 1994 to release “Rien”, their fifth album.

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