This song was inspired by a BBC documentary I watched a few years ago called ‘How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin‘. It told the story of how, despite being banned from the former Soviet Union, the Fab Four’s music still managed to find it’s way on to the turntables of the oppressed masses – causing a minor musical revolution in the process.
So desperate were the Soviet youth to hear pop music – in particular Rock and Roll and The Beatles – that they took huge risks to obtain recordings and continued to find more innovative ways to smuggle in the music. The method that most captured my imagination was using old X-ray film to make home-made vinyl. The flexible records were then sold by dealers who hid the X-rays, or ‘ribs’ as they became known, inside their coat sleeves. The penalties for being caught buying or selling the forbidden tunes were considerable – including public humiliation and in many cases prison.
It was a fascinating story and I’m considering using some of the history as the backdrop for a future novel or story. You can listen to The Wry Dogs recording of the song by clicking here.
Scratching records on Uncle Brezhnev’s ribs,
I’ve got to get my fix, got to get my disc.
Policemen try to stop me, they insist.
They say ‘what is this?’ they say ‘what is this?’
I want to scream ‘It’s Rock n Roll!’
X-Ray music saved my life, takes me far away and keeps me sane,
There is no shame,
X-Ray music loud and clear, X-Ray music helps me see my soul,
Yeah that’s my goal.
Lenin in my books but Lennon on my mind,
I’ve got to hide the truth
But search and ye will find.
Got to keep it locked up down inside,
But we can sense the change,
The turning of the tide
We make our own guitars and play!
They may think they own our thoughts, our hopes, our dreams
Our secret schemes
But come with me, cause there’s another way.
You and me and a turntable and a bag of music
We can go so far away, let’s go today
I think the Russian story is just one example of how music can be such a powerful force of change and inspire even the most oppressed individuals. How important is music to you? Do you believe it has the power to light the very darkest places and make a real difference to lives?
This was my 24th post for the A-Z Blog Challenge. Follow the blog during April for more writing tips, inspirational life posts, short fiction, film-inspired articles and more songs with audio recordings. Next post – Y is for You’ll have to wait and see!