Nashua Telegraph, New Hamshire, 06.05.1981
American singer is idol of the Moscow audiences
MOSCOW (AP) - When the tall American strolls through the streets of Moscow, hundreds of jostling teen-agers crowd around him, training for his autograph. When he sings, trearyeyed young women race down the theatre aisle and rush onstage with flowers.
"In all the socialist countries, I'm just as famous as I am here," Dean Reed said after performing Tuesday night at the Moscow Variety Theater.
Reed, a 42-year-old selfdescribed Marxist from Denver, Colo., is almost unknown in the United States. But in the East Bloc, his Elvis Presley-style rock 'n' roll singing, sex appeal and politics have made him a star for a decade.
He lives in East Berlin, spends about three-quarters of the year on the road and says he would like to return to the United States to live some day.
"But how many Communists do you see performing on American TV and in American movies? I want to go back, but not to sit around and do nothing. I want to get to millions of people, to convert them."
"Someday, the whole world is going to be socialist," he said.
Reed said he had a promising singing and acting career in the United States but became a Marxist after seeing poverty during a performing tour of Latin America.
There are no legal bars to Reed's return to the United States.
In the Soviet Union, where Reed has been performing since 1971, his fame rivals that of any Soviet actor.
"I love everything about him, his singing, everything," sighed Yelena, an 18-year-old Muscovite who sneaked backstage for his autograph after the sixfooter's performance Tuesday night.
"When he was in prison in America, we were all so worried about him," she said. Reed was arrested on a trespassing charge in October 1978 in Delano, Minn., after participating in a farmers' demonstration.
By the time he was freed 11 days later, hundreds of supporters in the East Bloc, including leading Soviet ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, had bombarded American officials with pleas for his release.
At his concert, Reed sang "Blowing in the Wind," "We Shall Overcome," "Sweet Sixteen" and some rock 'n' roll golden oldies. The audience, which rarely sees an American with Reed's finger-snapping, hip-swinging style, went wild.
He called out in Russian, "Who wants to get married?" and girls squealed "Da" from all directions.
Reed also slipped in a bit of politics, telling his audience through an interpreter, "The rea heroes of this world are the political prisoners in the United States who have no solidarity movement behind them."
He also spoke of what he called "American aggression" in Vietnam and told his audience, in noting the shooting death of John Lennon in New York City last December, that "the real tragedy is that 1,700 people last year were assassinated on the streets of New York."
Talking quietly with reporters later at his hotel, Reed made clear he would like to move from East Germany back to United States.
"I don't want to grow old in a country that isn't my own, where the language isn't my own," he said, eating a salad in a plush Metropol Hotel suite.
"I don't like being an exile. I don't want to be one. But I'm not going to give up my principles."
He said human rights may not have been perfected in all Communist countries, but "not a single person is starving here."