Rock and roll tonight: how Soviet television showed the Christie concert

The story of how Soviet television moved away from the installation “what is in the West will not be available in the USSR” and created a precedent by displaying the performance of a British rock band on the screens in our article.

British rock band performing at a music festival in Poland

Soviet Union after World War II formed a kind of barrier that made it possible to isolate the country from any foreign adverse invasion. Attempts to save the Soviet people from "poisoning" their consciousness with information that could negatively affect their perception of the picture of the world, led to the creation "Iron Curtain". Before rock and roll could not resist.

The origins of the groupChristie"

It is interesting that initially the group was not called the name of this English musician: the fact is that in his youth, Jeff Christie initially created a band in the style skiffle. This type of folk music refers us to the early development of the legendary «The Beatles", therefore, it is not without reason that the group «Outer Limits", which also starred Stan Droghy, Jerry Layton and Jerry Smith, was often called Yorkshire version Liverpool Four.

Departing from the folk current, «Outer Limits" under the leadership of Jeff Christie, they turned to searching for themselves, focusing on soul music. At «Outer Limits" there was a future: their recordings, even in amateur quality, did not go unnoticed by the audience - the songs “Just One More Chance and «Great Train Robbery". In composition «Great Train Robbery" Jeff's musical uniqueness can be traced: the author's ability to create high-quality guitar riffs with a catchy melody in the pop genre was combined with an interest in geography and history. Both of these hobbies of the band's frontman are seen in the songs «Christie".

Disk "Outer Limits"
Disk "Outer Limits"

Song «Just One More Chance" in the mood for "one more chance" really gave Jeff the opportunity to continue making music. The success of the composition did not allow Christy to become discouraged - he knew that his music and lyrics had potential. He managed to realize it already in a new role.

“I was 20 and felt like I had wings! Jeff Christie recalled. “It was a beautiful day, the birds were singing, I was in the right mood, and there was a feeling of expectation in the air, because the song showed great promise!”

"Outer Limits" single cover
"Outer Limits" single cover

Jeff's difficult path to fame is evidenced by this story about the participation of "Outer Limits" as unfortunate musicians in a movie with a big name "Death of a Pop Group". In 1969, a Yorkshire television company decided to make a documentary about the difficulties young musicians face in show business.

The unsuccessful group that everyone paid attention to, the ideal candidate for filming, was precisely "Outer Limits". Then Christy, with a rather sad and dissatisfied face, told the audience that young people do not appreciate native, highly cultured and intellectual pop music ... After the release of the film, Outer Limits broke up, and almost all of its participants decided to end their musical career, but not Jeff .

Who are they "Christie"

The search for his own "I" led Christy to the band's guitarist «The Tremeloes", which had already become an important part of the British pop scene. Alan Blakely, after listening to Jeff's recordings, he singled out one composition, which later gained worldwide fame. song «Yellow River" accidentally heard Alan's brother, Mike, who was a drummer and played in bands «Epics" and «acid Gallery".

"The Tremeloes"
"The Tremeloes"

They invited Christy to spend jam session in London, where the members «The Tremeloes" played with Jeff as session musicians. The trial sound of the band turned out to be quite interesting and was liked by all the participants who gained faith in this music. Due to this Christie, who picked up the bass guitar, offered Michael Blakely, who took a place behind the drum kit, and the guitarist Vik Elms create a group with author's songs. The group manager was Brian Longley.

Using Jeff's last name as a title, «Christie" signed a contract with the division «Columbia records", which indicates the importance of musicians in the then musical community, since «CBS" was a famous record company. It is noteworthy that in the late 60s and early 70s of the twentieth century, the Christie group, apparently, subsequently seemed to music connoisseurs to be the British version of the famous American rock band "Creedence Clearwater Revival".

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival

 “Our style, although it cannot yet be clearly defined, will be simple and clear for everyone. We will play music for everyone, no “underground” or other experiments,” said Jeff Christie.

«Yellow River"

The history of this "yellow river" falling into its mouth deserves special attention. "Yellow River" was not the song that "Christie", calmly recorded, published on the record. Given that Jeff was not the only one sending songs to Alan Blakely to listen to, it was expected that his recordings would remain with more than just The Tremeloes. So, suddenly it turned out that one British musician Lipi Li already recorded my version. Wasting no time, "Christie" quickly recorded a song for the b-side so that the record could be released - this composition was "Down The Mississippi Line". For "Yellow River", the track was used, recorded in collaboration with "The Tremeloes".

The success of the single was phenomenal: a pop-rock composition, the lyrics of which caused controversy at the time, became an international hit and topped the UK charts and other countries. Having become popular, the participants «Christie" went on a country tour Europe. The most vivid memory of the summer of 1970, according to the frontman, was the band's stay in Poland. And Soviet music lovers could well agree with this opinion of Christie.


Annual Song Festival in Sopot was one of the famous song contests held in Europe. At one time, it was even called a competitor to Eurovision, which the socialist countries did not go to. In August 1970 «Christie" became guests of the festival and performed on its stage.

For USSR, which broadcast the show of the competition, this appearance of "Christie" to the people became a real sensation - the "iron curtain" really fell! In spite of late night Moscow time, the broadcast was watched by many music lovers. They are couldn't believe in what is happening, as well as those to whom in the morning they retold about the performance of a Western rock band at a Polish festival.

The host of the program commented on all this spectacle "Music Kiosk" Eleonora Belyaeva, which did not expect to see something like this on the stage of socialist Poland. Jeff Christie and his team performed three songs: a hit «Yellow River", «New York city" and «San Bernardino", and "Yellow River" was played twice - for an encore. The Western rock band and the USSR - Belyaev tried in vain to win this confrontation.

One of the witnesses of the event noted: "Belyaeva before the start of the speech"Christie"Warned that it would be loud, and then, when the musicians began to sing, literally hysteria happened to her, she constantly repeated about what horror and roar was happening on stage and that such music was not popular with listeners ... "

The Soviet man was attracted to Christie by everything: music, clothes, hairstyles, demeanor on stage. The reaction of the audience, according to the memoirs of observers, was amazing - the audience greeted the British musicians with thunderous applause and shocked faces.

Then, in August 1970, real rock music sounded for the first time on isolated Soviet television and was able to leave a mark on its history. In the USSR, "Christie" became folk heroes - their simple music became memorable for the Soviet people, and after this legendary event they tried to get records with the group's compositions by any means.

And on a hit «Yellow River" in 1971 a Soviet cover was released under the name "Fat Carlson" and performed by VIA "Singing Guitars", which, of course, has nothing to do with the original text.

«I am straightforward, and everything I do is sustained in the same spirit, ”said Jeff Christie.

Before the straightforwardness of this brave Briton, the "Iron Curtain" even lowered.

jeff christie now
jeff christie now

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