Dead Kennedys Vinyl Records Lps For Sale

Check out these new and used Dead Kennedys vinyl records LPs for sale. We recommend starting your Dead Kennedys vinyl collection with the essential albums Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death and Milking The Sacred Cow. Our inventory is always changing, so check back often, or browse our list of vinyl records for sale from rock musicians.

Dead Kennedys Vinyl Record Lps For Sale

Dead Kennedys: Punk Pioneers and Political Provocateurs

Origins and Formation (1978-1979)

The Birth of Dead Kennedys Dead Kennedys, a seminal punk rock band, emerged in San Francisco in 1978. The founding members included Jello Biafra (vocals), East Bay Ray (guitar), Klaus Flouride (bass), and Ted (Bruce Slesinger) on drums. The band’s name itself was a provocative statement, combining punk energy with social and political critique.

Debut Single: “California Über Alles” (1979) In 1979, Dead Kennedys released their debut single, “California Über Alles.” The song satirized then-California Governor Jerry Brown and became an instant punk anthem, showcasing the band’s irreverent approach to politics and societal norms.

“Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” (1980)

Debut Album Impact “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables,” released in 1980, marked Dead Kennedys’ debut studio album. The record was a powerful statement against societal issues and government institutions. Tracks like “Kill the Poor” and “Holiday in Cambodia” showcased Biafra’s biting lyricism and the band’s energetic, thrash-infused sound.

Social and Political Satire The album’s lyrics criticized consumerism, political corruption, and the complacency of society. “Holiday in Cambodia” famously attacked privileged individuals who claimed political awareness without genuine engagement, making it a punk classic.

Punk Anthem: “California Über Alles” The inclusion of “California Über Alles” on the album solidified its status as a punk anthem. The song’s relentless energy and satirical lyrics challenged the political landscape and established Dead Kennedys as a force in punk activism.

“In God We Trust, Inc.” (1981)

EP Release and Intensity Following their debut album, Dead Kennedys released the EP “In God We Trust, Inc.” in 1981. The record was a condensed explosion of punk intensity, featuring songs like “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now.” The latter was a reworking of “California Über Alles” with updated lyrics and a focus on the Reagan era.

“Nazi Punks Fuck Off” The EP’s standout track, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” was a vehement critique of the infiltration of Nazi ideologies in punk scenes. Biafra’s confrontational lyrics and the aggressive musical delivery made it a rallying cry against intolerance within the punk community.

“Plastic Surgery Disasters” (1982)

Sophomore Studio Album “Plastic Surgery Disasters,” released in 1982, showcased the band’s musical progression while maintaining their punk ethos. The album expanded on their sound, incorporating diverse influences and experimenting with song structures.

Diverse Sound and Themes Songs like “Bleed for Me” and “Moon Over Marin” demonstrated the band’s ability to blend punk with elements of surf rock and post-punk. Lyrically, the album continued to tackle societal issues, with “Bleed for Me” addressing media manipulation and the Vietnam War.

“Halloween” and Experimental Elements The inclusion of “Halloween” highlighted Dead Kennedys’ willingness to experiment. The atmospheric and unconventional track showcased a different side of the band, emphasizing their versatility and willingness to push punk boundaries.

“Frankenchrist” (1985)

Controversial Art and Legal Battles “Frankenchrist,” released in 1985, became one of Dead Kennedys’ most controversial albums. The inclusion of an H.R. Giger poster in the album led to obscenity charges against the band. The legal battle had significant repercussions and ultimately contributed to the band’s dissolution.

Musical Evolution and “MTV – Get off the Air” Musically, “Frankenchrist” continued the band’s evolution, incorporating more complex arrangements and diverse influences. The spoken-word track “MTV – Get off the Air” critiqued the commercialization of music and the corporatization of MTV, aligning with Dead Kennedys’ anti-establishment stance.

“Bedtime for Democracy” (1986)

Final Studio Album “Bedtime for Democracy,” released in 1986, served as Dead Kennedys’ final studio album before their disbandment. The record maintained the band’s aggressive sound and featured politically charged tracks like “Chickenshit Conformist” and “This Could Be Anywhere (This Could Be Everywhere).”

Critical Reception and Legacy While not as commercially successful as their earlier works, “Bedtime for Democracy” received critical acclaim for its uncompromising political commentary. The album’s urgency and raw energy underscored Dead Kennedys’ commitment to their punk roots.

Post-Disbandment and Legal Battles

Disbandment and Solo Pursuits Following their breakup in 1986, members pursued various solo and collaborative projects. Jello Biafra focused on spoken-word performances, activism, and collaborations, while other members engaged in different musical endeavors.

Legal Issues and Biafra’s Departure The aftermath of the obscenity trial and financial strain led to internal conflicts. In 1986, Biafra left the band, sparking legal battles over royalties and the rights to Dead Kennedys’ catalog. The litigation continued for years, leaving a lasting impact on the band’s legacy.

Legacy and Influence

Punk Activism and DIY Ethos Dead Kennedys’ legacy extends beyond their musical contributions. The band embodied the punk ethos of DIY (do it yourself) activism, addressing political and social issues through their music, performances, and visual art.

Satirical Lyricism and Provocative Imagery Jello Biafra’s satirical and thought-provoking lyrics, coupled with the band’s provocative imagery, set Dead Kennedys apart. Their fearless approach to challenging authority and societal norms left an indelible mark on punk rock.

Impact on Punk and Alternative Music Dead Kennedys’ influence on punk and alternative music remains profound. Their uncompromising stance, musical innovation, and willingness to tackle controversial subjects paved the way for subsequent generations of punk and alternative bands.

“California Über Alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia” as Classics The enduring popularity of songs like “California Über Alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia” attests to their status as punk classics. These tracks continue to resonate with listeners, serving as anthems of dissent and resistance.

Controversy and Legal Precedent The obscenity trial surrounding “Frankenchrist” set a legal precedent in the music industry. The band’s experience underscored the challenges artists face when confronting censorship and the commercialization of art.

Discography Overview

1. “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” (1980)

  • Debut album featuring punk anthems and social critique.

2. “In God We Trust, Inc.” (1981)

  • EP characterized by intense punk energy and political commentary.

3. “Plastic Surgery Disasters” (1982)

  • Sophomore album showcasing musical diversity and experimentation.

4. “Frankenchrist” (1985)

  • Controversial album addressing legal battles and commercialization.

5. “Bedtime for Democracy” (1986)

  • Final studio album with uncompromising political commentary.


Dead Kennedys’ impact on punk rock goes beyond their musical contributions. The band’s fearless approach to tackling political and social issues, coupled with their DIY ethos, set a standard for punk activism. The controversial legal battles and censorship they faced only solidified their place in punk history. Dead Kennedys remain a symbol of rebellion, provocation, and the enduring power of punk to challenge the status quo.

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