From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station
July 1, 2013 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Looking for popular music with lyrics mentioning the Soviet Union.

I'm specifically after songs with lyrics including "USSR," "Soviet Union," or "Soviets."

I'm NOT looking for songs that just make some allusion to the USSR or mention a famous Soviet (as with the Pet Shop Boys "West End Girls"), or solely mention "Russian" or "Russians."

So far, I've thought of:

* U2, "Seconds"
* Sting, "Russians" (which DOES feature the word "Soviets")
* Beatles, "Back in the USSR", natch
posted by Chrysostom to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Billy Bragg, "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward": In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded / By the resumption of nuclear testing / And he is reminded / That Dr. Robert Oppenheimer's optimism fell / At the first hurdle
posted by scody at 5:12 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I don't know if it counts as lyrics in the conventional sense, but there's always "Time Zones" by Negativland: Do you know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union? Eleven.
posted by scody at 5:23 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not sure if this counts as popular enough but Transvision Vamp's song Revolution mentioned the USSR (video/lyrics)

There are a few lyrics sites where you can do searches so you can scan through a results set here for soviets and USSR. The latter is almost all Beatles covers and the U2 song you mentioned but it does include Jackson Browne's Lawyers in Love as well as Bowie/Jagger's Dancin in the Street
posted by jessamyn at 5:29 PM on July 1, 2013

Modern Day Cowboy by Tesla
Red Lenses by Rush
Soviet Snow by Shona Lang
posted by 4ster at 5:51 PM on July 1, 2013

Nyet Nyet Soviet
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:52 PM on July 1, 2013

Ordinary People by The Box
posted by sueinnyc at 5:53 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Last Communist by Momus (lyrics)
posted by neroli at 6:02 PM on July 1, 2013

Billy Joel - Leningrad.
Dead Kennedys - Kinky Sex Makes the World Go 'Round
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:05 PM on July 1, 2013

Revolution Baby by Transvision Vamp
posted by 4ster at 6:10 PM on July 1, 2013

Dead Presidents II by Jay Z
posted by 4ster at 6:17 PM on July 1, 2013

We Didn't Start the Fire, by Billy Joel.
posted by Dashy at 6:55 PM on July 1, 2013

Regina Spektor - Düsseldorf
In Prague I knew I’d been a witch, burnt alive a pyre of Soviet kitsch
posted by eponym at 8:11 PM on July 1, 2013

Skyhooks: Jukebox in Siberia. Lyrics.

Got to #1 in Australia, mentions USSR in the lyrics. Boy, did that song not age well, but quality not one of your criteria.
posted by pianissimo at 9:01 PM on July 1, 2013

Response by poster: Gosh, Lawyers in Love, of course!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:06 PM on July 1, 2013

I am glad to welcome you to this modest site. I have tried to assemble here a small legacy of songs left from the Soviet era. All of them were at once widely known and popular in the cities and towns of our glorious Motherland.

Some of these songs, even now, are known to practically everyone who has been born and raised in the USSR and other socialistic countries. Others, on the contrary, have been long forgotten, during the course of time.

These songs are a monument to our not too distant past, during which USSR tried to build a new socialist society. It was an interesting time, a time not only of terror and the Gulags, but of "The Great Projects", enthusiasm, victories, and faith in a "bright future for all of humanity." Even regardless of the fact that in the present day, a few of these songs are able to at least bring a smile to one's face, I am convinced that we should not deny that which is a part of our history and culture.

A few words to the foreign visitor:
You are browsing a resource which is devoted first of all to the history and culture of the Soviet Union, the country which the West for a long time usually named as "The Empire of Evil", the country to which some people in the West perceive as "something big and snowy".
I offer you to try to look outside the frames of usual stereotypes, to try to understand life of a unique country, with its interesting history, beautiful culture and miraculous relations between people.
The music submitted on this site - is an evident sample of a totally new culture, which completely differs from all that, with what Hollywood and MTV supply us so much. This culture, being free from the cult of money , platitude, violence and sex, was urged to not indulge low bents of a human soul but to help the person to become culturally enriched and to grow above himself.
Cheerful and optimistically by its nature, the Soviet music was spreading a cult of friendship, collectivism, mutual assistance and respect to the working people. Not all songs appeared to be praiseworthy; also some unsuccessful things came alone. But nevertheless it is possible to tell with confidence, that the purposes, which were set upon the Soviet culture, namely spiritual education of the new, Soviet person, were achieved in much ways.

I would like to appeal individually to those young russian people who were raised and educated during the course of the last ten years by completely different values than those of their fathers.

The contents of this web page may seem to you to be, as they say "old rubbish" or else simply nonsense. Please don't be hasty to abuse this site with harsh words and then go off to a favourite porn site. No one attempts to bind you with his/her views or persuasions. This site only serves as a reminder of a past epoch, of a country, which independently and heroically attempted to build a "bright future". This site reminds us, as well, of its people.
Please listen to the music, read deeply into the song lyrics and try to understand, what people lived with during that time: what did they breathe, and what did they strive for?
posted by Blasdelb at 4:36 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

A two parter: Thomas Dolby's Europa and the Pirate Twins doesn't mention the USSR explicitly, but its "sequel," Eastern Bloc (feat. Eddie van Halen) explains that his childhood friend was from some country behind the wall.
posted by digitalprimate at 8:21 AM on July 2, 2013

Rotfront — Sovietoblaster
posted by Tom-B at 1:01 AM on July 5, 2013

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