Rock and roll in the Soviet Union

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At the end of the 60s, the rock music was introduced in the Soviet Union, driven by the global Beatlemania. At various places, Russian rock bands like Машина времени [Mashina vremeni] or The Time Machine, Аквариум [Akwariyum] or Aquarium and Автограф [Avtograf] or Autograph were created. Initially they played mostly imitations of Western groups, but later they would add there own accents.

Unlike the VIA's, the rock bands were not allowed to publish their music and they continued to operate underground. They were considered «amateurs» and at the beginning their music was, like the Russian bards' music, only distributed through the magnitizdat, or through so called Квартирники [kvartirniki] or house concerts. Limited by the circumstances, the house concerts were accoustic performances for a select audience, which often led to jam sessions.

By the fact that the Soviet authorities limited the bloom of a Russian rock scene, the Russian rock music has skipped some steps in its development. Black artists as Chuck Berry (°1926), John Lee Hooker (1917-2001), Bo Diddley (1928-2008), Fats Domino (°1928) and Little Richard (°1932), who were considered by many Western rock bands as the founders of their music, were totally unknown to the Russian rock bands and were absolutely no source of inspiration to them. Therefore, the rock scene in Russia has got little or no rhythm and blues or soul bands, and the Russian groups jumped immediately to trends like new wave, post punk and heavy metal.

In the '80s, when censorship began to weaken, rock clubs were opened in Leningrad and Moscow, and also the first festival were organised in Tbilisi (Georgia), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Podolsk (near Moscow)

Devils and demons were - and still are - popular themes in the Russian rock. Ария [Ariya], one of the most famous bands from that period, played, a song which was inspired by the demonic dimension of The Master and Margarita on their first album.

Click here to read the page about Ariya

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