EXCERPT: Chapter 22 “BACK IN THE U.S.S.R”
“IT’S A LONG WAY HOME”, Book by Alan Chrisman, http://www.rockthistownproductions.com
(BEATLES HELP BRING DOWN COMMUNISM!)
By Alan Chrisman (All Articles ARE written BY ALAN CHRISMAN), copyright 2012-2015 (A Praveen Patel has tried to hack them and claim them).
I first met YURY PELYUSHONOK during our 1st Beatles Convention in ’95. He told me stories about how the Beatles had been banned in Russia and had had a profound effect on helping to bring down Communism. I suggested then that he write them down. At our 2nd Beatles Convention the next year, he was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen about how in the 8o’s, Soviet sailors(he was a medical doctor in the Russian Navy) had smuggled a Paul McCartney LP out of Russia and traded them for even cars in the West. He had written this first story down in a tiny booklet called the “Golden Disc”. And a couple years later, he had gotten a Canada Council grant to publish a fuller book about his theories and experiences growing up as a Beatles fan and musician (he had made his own guitar) in Russia. He presented me with one of the original, only 147 copies, of ”STRINGS FOR A BEATLES BASS”, which had been translated into English by his wife. Upon reading it, I thought it would make a great movie. He was going to London, in April, 2000, and I suggested he leave a copy with the Beatles’ manager, Neil Aspinall (the BBC lady had given me his contact at the Connecticut convention in’94). Yury did leave a book there and upon returning, he called me one morning and said he’d had a dream, that Neil Aspinall had called me. I’d always wanted to meet Aspinall because he had been there since the beginning and was their closest confident. And the very next day Yury calls me back and says, “Guess who just called?” I said “Who?” He says, “Paul McCartney’s personal assistant, Geoff Baker!”
The Beatles’ record company, Apple, would also call back for more copies for George and Ringo. Yury approached me about finding some musicians for some songs he had written to go along with the book for a CD he wanted to make. I suggested John Jastremski (from “The Mustards”) and Al Findlay, (from ““The Ground”) who had also played my ‘96 convention; they were both Beatles fans and songwriters. Yury had already written the first song,”Yeah Yeah Virus” and three others in 2000 and together they wrote and recorded four more songs in 2003. Yury went back to the Beatles’ Apple headquarters in London a couple more times to discuss the possibility they would publish his book. Neil Aspinall told him in advance that Paul McCartney was to play in Red Square in May, 2003; it was to be a world event. Yury had taken a lot of flak for suggesting that the Beatles could have helped bring down Communism. But Yury was interviewed in N.Y. on ABC- TV “BEATLES REVOLUTION” in 2000 with several celebrities who agreed, including Czech director Milos Forman and Keith Richards (“What brought it down, in the end, was blues jeans and Rock N’ Roll”). And there was soon to be growing evidence that what Yury had first said, was indeed true.
Yury was contacted by Leslie Woodhead, a BBC director who had read Yury’s book and was planning a film on the Beatles’ influence there. Mr. Woodhead had actually shot the only footage of the Beatles at the Cavern, which was known to exist, in 1962. On a hot August day in 2007, a handful of us gathered in Yury’s backyard in Ottawa to have him interviewed and then to film his song,”Yeah Yeah Virus”. Later, Mr. Woodhead would take Yury back to Russia with him to recreate his experiences and reunite with his teenage band. Mc Cartney was once again to perform in Russia at that same time. Yury had grown up in Minsk, and his friends there had been shown how to make amplifiers by the guy whom had worked with and knew Lee Harvey Oswald, when he had defected there in the early 60’s.
Finally in 2009, the film was completed and shown on PBS in the States and CBC in Canada, in conjunction with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in ‘89. Yury was sent an advance copy. They had interviewed Yury throughout it. They had also used his song and expression”Yeah Yeah Virus”, as a theme in the film. But as we watched it on his computer, I could tell Yury was not too happy. They hadn’t even mentioned him in the credits. So his Russian temper was boiling. I suggested that we ask my friend, Bryan, whom despite his partial blindness, knew how to establish a web presence and make videos. I showed Yury some the video’s Bryan had done for his own music and he calmed down a bit. For the next several months, we worked hard to create and make videos and interview Yury to present his point of view. We could piggyback this, we thought, with the coverage we believed, this not very well known and revolutionary theory would engender. Sure enough, the film and idea got write-ups in the L.A. Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, etc. Yury was interviewed again by the Ottawa Citizen. And the film has since been repeated several times on both PBS and the CBC. A new book by Mr.Woodhead about this with a chapter on Yury (including about the day we shot the video and both Tony and I are described in it) was released in 2013 and Yury finally got proper credit for what he had said and done. Yury returned to Minsk in 2010 because his doctor’s accreditation wasn’t recognized in Canada (and left me in charge of his book and Cd masters). But Yury returned to Ottawa for a visit in May, 2013 though and we reconnected. I knew how the Beatles had affected the West and had changed my life, but I had no idea just what Eastern Block kids had had to do just to listen to and participate in Beatles’ music or the profound role it had on its culture and Communism itself. And Yury had written it down first.
See YURY PELYUSHONOK’S “YEAH YEAH VIRUS” Video:
“YEAH YEAH VIRUS”
“While in the West the Beatles stepped on all the rules
The 60’s beat was echoing through all the Soviet schools.
Every Russian schoolboy wants to be a star
Playing Beatles’ music , making a guitar.
Teachers looked upon this as if it were a sin,
We were building Communism but the Beatles butted in.
‘Nyet’ to Beatles music. ‘Da’ the students said.
Even Comrade Brezhnev sadly shook his head…” (1)
- ” Yeah Yeah Virus”, Yury Pelyushonok/Olga Sansom, c. PLY Publishing 2000
- YURY’S REVOLUTIONARY PREMISE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: THE BEATLES’ MUSIC HELPED BRING DOWN COMMUNISM! “AFTER SPENDING BILLIONS AND THE CIA, WHAT DESTROYED IT IN THE END, WAS BLUE JEANS AND R ’n’ R”– -KEITH RICHARDS (agreeing with Yury!)-ABC-TV “BEATLES REVOLUTION” 2000.
- Listen to Yury’s CD “YOU CANNOT WHISPER ROCK’ n’ ROLL on Cdbaby:
- INTERVIEW WITH YURY About his book and INSIDE STORY
- See Yury’s song, “Land Where Rock Was Banned”
- See Excerpts: BBC Film “HOW THE BEATLES ROCKED THE KREMLIN”,I
- Including Yury’s “Yeah Yeah Virus” video at beginning and interviews with Yury and his mothe,r”Beatles, Beatles, Beatles-DA!”
“HOW THE BEATLES ROCKED THE KREMLIN”, BBC FILM 2009
& book by director, LESLIE WOODHEAD, 2013
(Leslie Woodhead had also shot the only known footage of The Beatles at the Cavern, 1962)