Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published March 6th 2022
Russia can be a source of musical inspiration
I was not going to do this list, but I received more requests for this one than I have for any topic so far. I think it is because, despite what is happening in the world, people want to believe that Russia and her people are still fine, no matter what their leaders are doing. What is happening in Ukraine is not good and all our thoughts are with those suffering through this unwarranted attack. That's about as political as I feel comfortable going.
But, yes, I decided that maybe celebrating the good about Russia is a timely reminder that we are all human beings.
So, I went through my collection and found every song I have that is about Russia in some way. I do not have a huge number, but this time I have just included all those I have (one version of each song).
Please, this is not showing support for the actions of the Russian leadership, but simply to remind us that Russians are people, too.
'Nutcracker Suite – Russian Dance' written by Tchaikovsky (1892)
My first exposure to this was through the film Fantasia, and I've since seen it live when I saw the ballet. It is one of those classical pieces that many recognise, and it is surprisingly short. A fun piece that sits well in the whole suite.
'From Russia With Love' by Matt Monro (1963)
Yes, a James Bond theme song, which, while not one of my favourites, is from a decent Sean Connery Bond film, one of the better ones in my opinion. One of those ballads so beloved of filmmakers of the early 60s, it's not too bad.
'Back In The U.S.S.R.' by The Beatles (1968)
Of course this one had to be here! It came up in my response songs list recently, but requests for this list had started before that one was published. Fun bit of Beatles pop-rock harkening back to the days of the Soviet Union.
'Moscow' by Genghis Khan (1980)
In 1980 this song was everywhere for a few months… and then it just disappeared. It was not a hit in the USA so you never hear about it on those one-hit-wonder lists, but they were that. Now, the VEVO page on YouTube has the band's name as Dschinghis Khan, but the 3 albums I own have Genghis Khan as the band's name…
'Suburbs Of Moscow' by Kim Wilde (1984)
I like Kim Wilde, and this album cut is not a bad song. It's a standard 1980s UK pop song, full of synths and drum machines, but saved by Wilde's voice. Not a hundred percent sure what the song is about, truth be told, but it's still not too bad.
'Russians' by Sting (1985)
I was not a fan of this song when it came out. The 1980s saw the Cold War reach an insane height, and then it collapsed under Gorbachev, and so songs about nuclear war were everywhere. But this heavy-handed message song irritated me. Now… now I listen to the lyrics and hope the sentiment is actually true.
'Leningrad' by Billy Joel (1989)
Not my favourite Billy Joel song, sounding like a rehash of 'Goodnight, Saigon', it's just there for me. But Joel was one of the music artists at the forefront of trying to open Russia up after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and this song is a part of that.
'Mother Russia' by Iron Maiden (1990)
Another song I am not a huge fan of, but it is by my favourite NWOBHM band and so it is not awful. The lyrics are basically congratulating Russia for the break-up of the Soviet Union (which wouldn't happen until 1991), but, again, it's just there.
'Russian Autumn Heart' by The Church (1990)
A fine Church song, but not one I heard until I bought a greatest hits album, so I know very little about it. Still, decent track, with good guitar work and the fine vocals The Church always bring to their music.
'Stranger In Moscow' by Michael Jackson (1995)
Certainly not the worst Michael Jackson song, I always found it a little twee for my liking, but it's good enough for what it is, I suppose.
'Russian Roulette' by The Skybombers (2007)
And we finish with some modern punk, a band I discovered a few years ago and have got into a little. Yes, Russian roulette is that nasty game with a gun and one bullet, so it's not so much about the country as about taking a risk. Still, great up-tempo song to finish the list.
And there we are, 11 songs about Russia in one form or another.
And I hope peace comes sooner rather than later with as few lives lost as humanly possible.