May 13, 2009

NOTES BEHIND THE CURTAIN 2

Further reflections and quotes from the documentary film, Paul McCartney in Red Square: At a time when the average salary in Russia was 150 rubles per month, black market Beatles records sold from 50 to 80 rubles. Russian musicians and long-time followers proudly share their memories on-screen of growing up as closet Beatles fans. A number of them have a precious, worn photograph that they've kept close for years. One man says they didn't even know which Beatle was Lennon and which was McCartney- so little information about the band could be found.

Gorbachev:
“I do believe the music of The Beatles has taught the young people of the Soviet Union that there is another life. That there is freedom elsewhere. And of course, this feeling has pushed them towards Perestroika- towards the dialog with the outside world…I don’t think this is just pop music. This is something much greater.”
The record, Band On The Run, was eventually made available- but all references to the Band and "the Run" were censored. In the film, Paul meets the Russian Defense Minister who admits that Love Me Do and Beatles music in general motivated him to learn English. Paul was also granted an appointment with president and former KGB head, Putin:

Paul: When you were growing up did you listen to The Beatles?
Putin: It was extremely popular. It was like a gulp of freedom. Your music was like an open widow to the world.

Paul: It was banned by the authorities, you know.

Putin: It was considered at this time a propaganda of some alien ideology.

During the tour, Paul reflects on meeting former president Gorbachev, president Putin, and the Defense Minister in light of the Cold War roots of their generation: "If I’d been able to say to my dad, “Hey dad, you know I just had this premonition I’m going to be in Red Square in front of the president, the ex-president, and by Lenin’s tomb, and I’m going to have all these people listening to me, and I’m going to be singing to them all. And they’re all going to dig it. He would of just thought I was mad.”

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