Rock music in the USSR
Rock music in the USSR

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Rock music in the USSR

Rock'n Roll was difficult in the Soviet Union. But the more restrictive the environment, the greater the creativity. As in many other non-free countries, rock music was not just entertainment, but a weapon against the government.

"Aquarium", one of the most famous rock bands of the Soviet Union in 1991 (Andrej "Willy" Usow).

Beginning - "Beatlemania" and tolerant hippies

In the early 1950s, so-called "stylish hags" ("hipsters") brought color to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tallinn. They paid a lot of attention to style and fashion, dressed extravagantly, danced tango, foxtrot, and then rock and roll. American jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Glenn Miller have recorded on their turntables. Soviet diplomats often brought records from the West to their music-loving sons. Friendly doctors recorded them with X-ray machines. Hipsters are considered the first unofficial youth culture in the Soviet Union, but they have not yet formed their own Russian musical genre.

Among the first Soviet rock 'n' roll bands were the "Inspectors" from Riga, which were known in 1961. Then the Beatles came in and changed everything. The Beatles generated the same storms of enthusiasm as in the West and became a role model for many bands created in the cities of the Soviet Union. The Beatles' catchy melodies go very well with Russian musical taste.

In direct response to Beatlemania, the first official ensembles were named after VIA (Vocal Instrumental Ensemble), formed in the second half of the 1960s. They ended up in large groups that received support from the Ministry of Culture, as well as good instruments and performances. Musically, they were pretty harmless and gently washed away by Soviet ideology. Nevertheless, they brought some changes to the state of show business, and some of the VIAs became megastars and their records were sold in millions of copies. Among them are such as "Pesnyary" from Belarus with its unique combination of folk, rock and pop music with Belarusian lyrics.

An important pioneer of rock music in the Soviet Union was Alexander Gradskiy with his group Slavyane, founded in 1965. Not only Gradsky's charismatic voice, but also his relentless commitment to rock music as a serious form of culture made him the “father of Moscow rock”. At the time, however, the music was not yet called rock.

With the slogan “don't like war,” the emerging hippie movement took a position that was harmless to the state.

In general, the beginning of rock music in the Soviet Union was characterized by a real flood. The audience wanted to listen to songs in English. Because Russian means adapted. English was a protest. The state did not immediately recognize the protesting nature of the English language, and the 1960s in the Soviet Union were musical liberal.

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