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Albert Speer and the Spandau Ballet

Andy McSmith
albert speer 300x225 Albert Speer and the Spandau Ballet

Albert Speer who was not in Spandau Ballet (Getty Images)

A BBC Radio 4 announcer has been much ridiculed for a slip of the tongue in which she referred to Albert Speer as having spent “20 years in Spandau Ballet.” Speer was Hitler’s munitions minister, who was sentenced to 20 years in Spandau Prison, of which he served 16. He died in 1981, at about the time when a mildly talented, mildly pretentious London band took the name ‘Spandau Ballet’, which a music journalist, Robert Elms, had seen written on a wall in Berlin. Elms thought it was ‘nicely nonsensical.’ Martin Kemp, the band’s bass player, thought it ‘trendy’. However, its origin is believed to be a description of the death throes of men hanged in Spandau Prison, notably Speer’s co-defendants at the Nuremburg Trial. If Albert Speer had been less convincing in the dock at Nuremburg, he too might have been introduced to the Spandau Ballet.


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