Bedtime for Democracy

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Bedtime for Democracy
Dead Kennedys - Bedtime for Democracy cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1986
RecordedCity Sound Recording and Hyde St. Studios, April and July 1986
LabelAlternative Tentacles
ProducerJello Biafra
The Dead Kennedys chronology
Bedtime for Democracy
Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]
Don Ignacio(8.1/10)[3]
NME3/5 stars[4]

Bedtime for Democracy is the fourth and most recent studio album released by Dead Kennedys. Released in 1986, songs on this album cover common punk subjects often found in punk rock lyrics of the era as conformity, Reaganomics, the U.S. military, and critique of the hardcore punk movement. The album's title refers to the 1951 comedy film, Bedtime for Bonzo starring Ronald Reagan and also reflects the band's weary bitterness from the financially and emotionally draining trial they were being subjected to at the time over the controversial art included with their previous album. By the time recording of Bedtime for Democracy had begun, the Dead Kennedys had already played what would be their last concert with Jello Biafra and announced their breakup immediately after the release of the record, whose opening track is a cover of David Alan Coe's "Take This Job and Shove It."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jello Biafra except when stated.

Side A
  1. "Take This Job and Shove It" (David Allan Coe) – 1:25
  2. "Hop with the Jet Set" – 2:07
  3. "Dear Abby" – 1:09
  4. "Rambozo the Clown" – 2:25
  5. "Fleshdunce" – 1:29
  6. "The Great Wall" – 1:32
  7. "Shrink" – 1:44
  8. "Triumph of the Swill" – 2:17
  9. "Macho Insecurity" – 1:30
  10. "I Spy" (D.H. Peligro) – 2:30
  11. "Cesspools in Eden" (Dead Kennedys) – 5:56
Side B
  1. "One-Way Ticket to Pluto" – 1:38
  2. "Do the Slag" (East Bay Ray) – 1:36
  3. "A Commercial" – 1:33
  4. "Gone with My Wind" – 1:43
  5. "Anarchy for Sale" – 1:18
  6. "Chickenshit Conformist" – 5:58
  7. "Where Do Ya Draw the Line" – 2:39
  8. "Potshot Heard 'Round the World" (East Bay Ray, Jello Biafra) – 2:10
  9. "D.M.S.O." (Dead Kennedys) - 2:09
  10. "Lie Detector" (East Bay Ray, Jello Biafra) – 3:43


  • Jello Biafra - lead vocals, producer, mixer
  • East Bay Ray - guitar
  • Klaus Flouride - bass, backing vocals
  • D.H. Peligro - drums, backing vocals
  • Tim Jones - synthesizer on "One-Way Ticket to Pluto"
  • Jayed Scotti - timbales on "Dear Abby"
  • Cal - backing vocals
  • Andrew - backing vocals
  • Blaze - backing vocals
  • P. O'Pillage - backing vocals, artwork
  • John Cuniberti - engineer, mixer
  • Winston Smith - artwork


Chart (1986) Peak
UK Indie Chart[6] 1


The East Bay punk band Isocracy parodied the name in their 1988 EP, Bedtime for Isocracy. The cover art depicted the band together in a bed, accompanied by Jello Biafra. After the record's release, Isocracy split up, with two members forming the group Samiam and another joining Green Day.[7]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[8] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Don Ignacio review
  4. ^ NME review
  5. ^ Cleary, David. "Bedtime for Democracy - Dead Kennedys | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  6. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  7. ^ Livermore, Larry (2015). How to Ru(i)n a Record Label: The Story of Lookout Records. BookBaby. ISBN 9780989196369.
  8. ^ "British album certifications – Dead Kennedys – Bedtime for democracy". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Bedtime for democracy in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.