Books and films about Dean/Bücher und Filme über Dean

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin

The Untold Story of a Noisy Revolution

Leslie Woodhead

Bloomsbury Publishing 2013. ISBN: 978-1408840429, 304 Seiten, Preis 13,95 €

The music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo played a part in waking up an entire generation of Soviet youth, opening their eyes to 70 years of bland official culture and rigid authoritarianism. By stealth, by way of whispers, through illicit late night broadcasts, the Soviet Beatles kids tuned in.

Auf den Seiten 117-120 geht es um Dean Reed (inkl. Foto).

[...] But the ultimate popular musician for Soviet-bloc audiences for twenty years from the mid-sixties was Comrade Rockstar Dean Reed. I became obsessed with Reed, and his bizarre story wove through my life as I began making documentaries in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

Trying to set up a documentary about Dean Reed became a longrunning project for me. On a series of visits, I followed the story of the handsome all-American true believer from Colorado, who was recruited by bewildered Soviet culture bosses to come to Moscow as an official answer to the Beatles. Reed became a huge star across the Soviet bloc in the 1970s as the Kremlin's official answer to the hunger for rock 'n' roll. He looked like the answer to their dilemmas, a rocker from the West who mixed performances of "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Heartbreak Hotel" with songs about peace and solidarity. Reed saw his life as a Soviet epic, singing is song "We Are Revolutionaries" and starring in pop videos where he performed on the roof of a train blazing a new route into Siberia. He fed off the adulation of rock-starved kids, who loved him because he seemed to be the embodiment of every teenage fantasy about America. Fans mobbed him from East Berlin and Prague to Moscow and Leningrad, throwing carnations as he swiveled his hips and preached peace and love, wrapped up in sex, politics, and rock. With thick hair and a promiscous smile Reed was their American. I talked to a man who had been to one of Reed's Moscow concerts in the seventies and still remembered the exitement. "He was moving, always moving, nothing like our singers. This was rock 'n' roll. The girls were crying 'Dean Reed, Dean Reed.'" A Soviet official told me, "With Dean, for us it was like the Beatles in England."

Art Troitsky hated Dean Reed. "Anyone who would deep kiss with Brezhnev" - Art mimed a sloppy kiss - "was betraying everything about rock 'n' roll." He was plainly enraged by the memory. "Dean Reed became a huge star here. His mug was everywhere. It was even on plastic bags. He came from the land of the free and the home of the brave. And Chuck Berry," Troitsky added. "But it was only in a place as isolated and provincial as the Soviet Union that he could have become a star."

I had seen a preposterous video of Dean Reed, riding a unicycle as he sang "Can't Buy Me Love." It perfectly summed up everything Art hated, but it also radiated the charm that had made Reed a household name across the Soviet empire. It helped me to understand how this naïve and unremakable pop hustler had managed to become a Socialist poster boy, crooning "Ghost Riders in the Sky" for Yasser Arafat, serenading the Marxist Chilean leader Salvador Allende, and delivering his starry smile for crowds of autograph hunters in Red Square. He was showered with baubles from admirers across the Eastern Bloc: the Communist Youth Gold Medal in East Germany; medallions in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria; the Komsomol Lenin Prize in the Soviet Union. He adored the celebrity and the stardom he would never have known in the West. In the mid-seventies, he was for the Soviet masses the most famous American apart from Henry Kissinger. I could feel the overwhelming hunger among the children of Socialism for Western popular music during the cultural blockades of the 1960s and '70s. Even the pallid version offered by Dean Reed was irresistible.

I knew that Reed had died in mysterious circumstances in 1986, drowned in a lake behind his house in East Berlin. It made him more interesting for me, but Troitsky was unforgiving. "He was finished here anyway. We had our own rock stars by then and we didn't need outsiders - not even Bruce Spingsteen, still less Dean Reed."

After more than twenty years of circling the Soviet Union, Dean Reed's magic faded. The more I looked into Reed's story, the more I understood the hopeless failure of cultural bureaucrats to provide any Soviet alternative to Western-style popular culture. Trapped inside an inflexible ideology, officials never caught up with shifting public taste. When they attemted to claim a diluted version of Western culture - as they did with Dean Reed - it was soon out of touch. I watched a grisly video of Reed trying to teach Ghostbusters dance moves to an uncomfortable group of Soviet teenagers in the final year of his life, and it stood as a monument to the bafflements of official culture. Soviet officials were always much slower than their comrades in other Eastern Bloc countries to recognize shifts in what people wanted. Long after jazz had been overtaken by rock 'n' roll, campaigns were still being mounted against saxophones.



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Letzte Änderung: 2016-12-20