Back in the U.S.S.R.

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Infobox Song
Name = Back in the U.S.S.R.
Artist = The Beatles
Album =

Border = yes
track_no = 1 of disc 1
Released = 22 November 1968
Recorded = 22, 23 August 1968
Genre = Rock and roll, Surf rock
Length = 2:43
Writer = Lennon/McCartney
Label = Apple Records
Producer = George Martin
Tracks = Side one
#"Back in the U.S.S.R."
#"Dear Prudence"
#"Glass Onion"
#"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
#"Wild Honey Pie"
#"The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"
#"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
#"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"Side two
  • "Martha My Dear"
    #"I'm So Tired"
    #"Rocky Raccoon"
    #"Don't Pass Me By"
    #"Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
    #"I Will"
    #"Julia"Side three
    #"Yer Blues"
    #"Mother Nature's Son"
    #"Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"
    #"Sexy Sadie"
    #"Helter Skelter"
    #"Long, Long, Long"Side four
  • "Revolution 1"
    #"Honey Pie"
    #"Savoy Truffle"
    #"Cry Baby Cry"
    #"Revolution 9"
    #"Good Night"

    "Back in the U.S.S.R." is a 1968 song by The Beatles (credited to the song writing partnership Lennon/McCartney but mainly written by Paul McCartneycite book |first=Barry |last=Miles |authorlink=Barry Miles |title=Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now |year=1997 |pages=422-423 |publisher=Henry Holt & Company |location=New York |isbn=0-8050-5249-6] ) which opens the double-disc album "The Beatles", commonly referred to as "The White Album". It segues into the next song on the album, "Dear Prudence".


    The song, which opens and closes with the sounds of a jet aircraft landing, refers to a "dreadful" flight back to the U.S.S.R. from Miami Beach in the United States, on board a British B.O.A.C. aeroplane. Propelled throughout by McCartney's uptempo piano playing and lead guitar riffs, the lyrics tell of the singer's great happiness on returning home, where "the Ukraine girls really knock me out" and the "Moscow girls make me sing and shout" (and are invited to "Come and keep [their] comrade warm"). He also looks forward to hearing the sound of "balalaikas ringing out".cite book |editor=Aldridge, Alan |authorlink=Alan Aldridge |title=The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics |year=1990 |pages=49 |publisher=Houghton Mifflin / Seymour Lawrence |location=Boston |isbn=0-395-59426-X]

    The title of the song is a tribute to Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S.A." while the chorus pays homage to the Beach Boys' "California Girls." The song also contains a pun on Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind." McCartney is singing about the Soviet Republic of Georgia, whereas 'Georgia on My Mind' has been described as being about either or both of the state of Georgia in the U.S. or a woman named Georgia. McCartney thought that when he listened to the Beach Boys, it sounded like California, so he decided to write a song that "sounded" like the U.S.S.R.. The title was inspired in part by the "I'm Backing Britain" campaign which had been endorsed by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It has been suggested that McCartney twisted that into "I'm Back In (backin') the U.S.S.R."cite book |first=Ian |last=MacDonald |authorlink=Ian MacDonald |title=Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties |year=2005 |pages=309-310 |edition=Second Revised Edition |publisher=Pimlico (Rand) |location=London |isbn=1-844-13828-3]

    In his 1984 interview with "Playboy", McCartney said:

    "Back in the U.S.S.R." was released by Parlophone as a single in the UK in 1976. It featured the song "Twist and Shout" on Side B.

    Problems in the band

    The "White Album" sessions allowed the four members to work on separate projects at the same time and, as a result, kept tensions to a minimum. However, tempers flared during the recording session on 22 August 1968, and Ringo Starr walked out and announced that he had quit.cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |authorlink=Mark Lewisohn |title=The Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=151 |publisher=Harmony Books |location=New York |isbn=0-517-57066-1]

    "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Dear Prudence", the first two tracks of the album, were recorded without Starr, with McCartney primarily responsible for the drum parts. McCartney's drums are most prominent in the mix, but both John Lennon and George Harrison recorded drum tracks for the song; these are audible in the left channel of the stereo mix.

    Starr returned to the group a week later on 4 September 1968 when he participated in the filming of promotional videos for "Hey Jude" and "Revolution". The first subsequent recording session was on 5 September for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |title=The Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=153]


    *Paul McCartney – Vocals, piano, lead guitar, drums, bass guitar, handclaps, percussion
    *John Lennon – backing vocals, lead guitar, bass, drums, handclaps, percussion
    *George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar, bass, drums, handclaps, percussion:"Credits per Ian MacDonald" "and Mark Lewisohn."

    Cover versions

    * In 1969, Chubby Checker's cover version charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
    * Also in 1969, John Fred & His Playboy Band released it as a single and on their 1970 album "Love My Soul".
    * In 1979, the punk group Dead Kennedys recorded a live version of the song that was released in 2004 on "Live at the Deaf Club".
    * In 1987, Billy Joel covered the song on his live-in-the-Soviet Union album "Концерт".
    * In 1992, the Leningrad Cowboys covered the song on their album "We Cum from Brooklin".
    * In 2001, Sigourney Weaver covered the song in the film "Heartbreakers". While pretending to be Russian and despite knowing none of the Russian language, she was asked to perform a traditional folk song. After some hesitation, she instead began singing "Back in the U.S.S.R."
    * In 2006, Guns N' Roses covered the song live at Wembley Arena. Their version of the song was called "Back in the Fucking UK".
    * in 2007 frenchcore artist Liquid Blasted sampled the song for his track of the same name.
    * Type O Negative covered the song.
    * Season 7 American Idol finalist Amanda Overmyer performed the song on the show March 18th, 2008, and likewise recorded a studio version.
    * McCartney included a special version of the song when he and his band played in Liverpool in June 2008. It featured Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl on drums.
    * In 2008, The Hush Sound covered the song on July 7th, during the first show of their "Dance Across the Country Tour" at the Diesel Club Lounge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on the ensuing tourdates.


    External links

    * [ All Music Guide review]
    * [ Alan W. Pollack's Notes On...]

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