In Soviet Russia, music listens to YOU! Hey friends! Welcome back to Vinyl Eyezz!
I’m Jarrett New, and today we’re going to talk about how during the Soviet Union,
music lovers would bootleg forbidden Western music, by pressing their own
records onto discarded medical x-rays! I know it sounds crazy, but it is 100% true, and I’m going to tell you all about it. -But real quick today’s Song
of The Day is “Dream On” by Aerosmith. Really great song! And if you have a
suggestion for a Song of The Day, post it in the comments down below, and you might
see it in a future video! Also if this is your first time here, and you want to
learn more about record players, record collecting, and really just music in
general..be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE button, and BELL Notification, so you
won’t miss out on the new videos! Alright, now getting back to those X-Ray
records, here’s a little backstory: The year is 1950, and in the “Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics” also known as the USSR, or simply the Soviet Union. Joseph
Stalin, whose name literally means “Man of Steel”, rules the land with an iron fist.
In his society, every aspect of life and culture is controlled by the state.
Including the music you Can and CAN’T listen to! Now being that the Soviet
Union and America were involved in a cold war during this time, western music
specifically, was seen as a cultural threat…and so it was banned. But another
interesting thing that was happening around the same time, was the birth of a
whole new genre of music…Rock and Roll. So if you live behind the Iron Curtain,
but you want to hear this “Elvis guy” that everyone keeps talking
about…what do you do? Well, you go see Boris down by the train tracks…(whispers)
And you buy some X-Ray Records! Now, what exactly is an X-Ray record?
Well basically these were normal sheets of X-Ray film, that had music grooves
carved into them, kind of like this Flexi Disk right here…pretty much the same
idea…And they had music on one side, they spun at 78 RPM, could hold about 3 to 5
minutes of music, and had terrible sound quality. -Yet again, kind of like most
Flexi Discs! Now also, since Rock and Roll, and Jazz were forbidden in the Soviet
Union, some of the more popular artists which got bootlegged onto these X-Ray
Records over the years were “Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Ella Fitzgerald, The
Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Chubby Checker”. Now you might
also be wondering, why did they choose X-Rays in the first place? Well, back then
in Leningrad, today known as St. Petersburg, the hospitals were required
to get rid of their X-Rays every so often, because they were flammable, and
they didn’t want them to start a fire. So the bootleggers, naturally, always had a
steady supply of them! Also since the X-Rays were thin and
flexible, you could easily hide them up your sleeves, or in a jacket pocket, or
something like that, so that made them a lot easier to conceal from the prying
eyes of the authorities. So it really was the best format at the time. Now another
interesting fact is that these X-Rays also became known as “Ribs Music” because
back then TB was spreading like crazy and the most common type of X-Ray, was of
the chest. So there were a lot of records in circulation that ended up looking
like THIS…pretty interesting stuff. Now another fun fact, is that you can
actually go on eBay right now and see many of these X-Ray Records for sale for
about 200 to 250 dollars U.S. And a lot of them seem to be shipping from Ukraine.
So if you have an extra 250 bucks, you can own a piece of history…but just
don’t expect good sound quality…probably better to just put it up on your wall
and frame it. Now, there’s also this guy named “Steven Coates” who’s a composer and
music producer from the UK, who started a really cool website called “The X-Ray
Audio Project” which is completely dedicated to these very special records.
So when you go to the site, you can learn more about their history, and it even has
some audio samples of the music itself! So let’s take a listen to one of them! (Old Russian Folk Song about Love and Despair) Pretty cool stuff! So in a way, if you
really think about it, even though they had poor sound quality,
these records did serve a purpose. They allowed people to experience a music and
a culture that were otherwise forbidden to them. So I think that’s pretty cool.
Now, I’m also gonna drop the LINK Down Below to that website, if you want to
hear more of these X-Ray records for yourself! Now, what do you think about
these types of records? Would you ever buy one of these, and add it to your
collection as sort of a conversation piece? Let me know down in the comments
below! And if you love all things vinyl record-related but still haven’t
SUBSCRIBED yet go ahead and Smash this Red Subscribe button right here, and hit
the BELL Notifications so you won’t miss out on the new videos! And most
importantly of all friends, have a fantastic day, and Keep Spinning That
Vinyl! …I wonder if anyone ever bought their own X-Ray?