Alexei I. Zaikin, with Andrey Krasivitchev
"IT happened at the end of August 1970, the first time
in the history of the Soviet Union on national television in a
live broadcast from the stage of the Song Festival in the Polish
city of Sopot, that we saw a demonstrated performance of a western
rock band - CHRISTIE, which, in spite of such a late broadcast
time, was watched by the whole country!
At that time I was in high school, but
my parents, knowing my craving for modern music, allowed me as
an exception to watch this festival. And, as always happens in
such cases, I was in full combat readiness with my sound recording
another - our tape recorder "Astra-2" and a video recorder,
with which I record all that then sounded on radio and television
in a foreign language, and began to look forward to in the hope
that this time I have more luck and finally record something decent.
And I was lucky ...!
Curiously, Christie were not competitors
in the Festival, but as a guest, in the so-called "non-competitive
The first thing I noted was the look of
the musicians who took the stage in some jeans and T-shirts. I
remember Jeff Christie was dressed in a T-shirt with a star, and
my parents said they "did not understand what it meant".
It was such a stark contrast to the suit and tie members of the
vocal and instrumental ensembles and soloists from the People's
democracy. I did not hesitate, and immediately turned on my tape
recorder to record.
Commenting on the Sopot Festival from
the leading television program "The Music Box" was Eleanor
Belyaev. She probably also did not expect to see such a spectacle
on the stage of socialist Poland, and said some nonsense, like:
"What is it? Who needs it? How is that possible?"
Poor exasperated Eleanor Belyaev.
I remember well (as it is
recorded on the tape), her comments before Christie appeared:
"... Now, we move away from the speakers, now this sound
is very loud!" When the band began their performance, Belyaeva
was literally hysterical - she stammered something like, "What
a shame, what a roar! ..." and that "this music is not
popular with the audience". They showed the first rows of
the hall, where officials were invited along with honoured guests
of the festival ... but then the camera suddenly showed the audience
a glimpse of "the gallery", which showed the crowd literally
crazy with delight.
Belyaeva, still not appeased, continued
to scream about the "unbearably loud noise". I still
remember it was her state of powerlessness and anger. Christie
performed their three songs: Yellow River,
New York City and San Bernardino,
and then "encore" again with Yellow
River. After the musical performance, the group was presented
a huge bouquet of roses, and Madame Belyaeva began again, resenting
that and saying "how can such a horrible band be given roses".
All in all, it was something unforgettable,
and I received an adrenaline rush, and could not sleep for a long
time after that!
The next day at school, the only talk
was of this sensational performance by Christie. Many of my friends
also watched it. We discussed everything - their music, clothing,
hair and demeanour on stage. Of course, that opened interest in
Western rock music, while Yellow River
was played literally from every open window, and since then, every
time I hear it the first chords, I always think of Sopot that
night, lean Jeff Christie and shrill Eleanor Belyaeva!
Shortly after that historic event in Poland,
the firm Pronit released Christies album - one of the first
such discs, leaked to our country, and the love for this team
became truly popular. At this time, there was also a well-known
Russian-language cover version of Yellow River, for some reason
And in 1972, when me and my school friends
organised our own rock band, we were always a great success at
our parties singing Yellow River."