The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964)
“Beatlemania” in the USSR showed that for a powerful tsunami and the Iron Curtain is not a dam. Despite the fact that there were almost no official recordings of The Beatles in the USSR (and when they were, there were embarrassments in the spirit of “Song” Girl “, folk words”), despite the fact that the band’s full-fledged album was released on the Melodiya disc only in 1986 (“Hard Day’s Night”), and the group itself was subjected to restrictions and censorship in the media, the songs of the Liverpool Four went from hand to hand throughout the Union. They tried to find them on Yugoslav and Bulgarian records, copied them onto x-rays and reels, played the guitar.
The theme of The Beatles and the USSR has become a great platform for conspiracy theories. Soviet citizens listened to the song “Back in USSR” and decided that the Beatles were secretly visiting the USSR. Some claimed that the group gave a concert at Vnukovo airport during an emergency landing. Others believed that they performed for the workers of the CPSU. Still others believed the legend that the group once performed “Kalinka” together with Lyudmila Zykina in a Parisian restaurant. None of the theories received evidence, and the arrival of The Beatles members had to wait until 1998 – until Ringo Starr arrived in Moscow with a concert. In 2003, Paul McCartney visited the capital and played on Red Square for 25,000 people, including Vladimir Putin.
Eruption “One Way Ticket” (1978)
The song of a long and winding fate. It was first performed in 1959 by the American singer and pianist Neil Sedaka – then it did not become a big hit, and its performance did not become canonical. In 1968, the poet Albert Azizov heard the song and wrote a Russian text for it about blue frost, which was later sung by “Singing Guitars”, “Hello Song” and others, glorifying the composition throughout the Union.
In 1978, “One Way Ticket” took on new life with a disco performance by the English band Eruption – and became popular in continental Europe. The similarity of this version of the song to the work of Boney M. – an unprincipled and benevolent disco for not the fastest dances – is not without reason – Eruption had a common producer with them.
In the same 1978, Eruption’s performance was shown in the program “Melodies and Rhythms of Foreign Variety”, and a year later, “Melody” released the group’s first album. “One Way Ticket” stood out among other songs, being familiar to the Soviet listener thanks to an earlier version from “Singing Guitars”. In the future, the group experienced several line-up changes and the death of one of the vocalists, and in the mid-1980s, it actually ceased to exist. Now, under the Eruption brand, the original soloist of the group, Precious Wilson, often performs at nostalgic discos.
Smokie “Livin’ Next Door to Alice” (1976)
The simple song about Alice concealed a real drama for those who helped to translate the text. According to the plot, the hero was in love with his neighbor for years, but did not have time to confess his feelings to her – she left in a limousine.
The first “Living Next Door to Alice” was performed by the Australian group New World, but the British version of Smokie became canonical, which became popular in continental Europe and (especially) the USSR. Smokie was lucky to become a conditionally permitted band in the Union thanks to relatively harmless songs from the point of view of the Soviet Ministry of Culture. In the USSR, they were quoted almost on the same level as The Beatles: listeners sang a song about Alice with pleasure and joked about “I’ll find vodka”, referring to another hit of the group – “What Can I Do”.
The group survived several line-ups (only bassist Terry Uttley remained from the original), reached the USSR at its decline in 1991, and to this day often performs in Russia. Former frontman Chris Norman is also popular here – his solo tracks became hits, and back in the 1990s he came to the “New Year’s lights” and sang with Natasha Koroleva.