Listen to Vladimir Vysotsky sing:
"The Ballad of Childhood" (rare amateur film, and a rare version of the song that includes little-known verses)
"The One Who Used to Be With Her"
"Instructions Before a Trip Abroad"
Watch Vysotsky as Hamlet
Watch Mikhail Baryshnikov dance to Vysotsky's song "Capricious Horses"
Chapter 3 - Vladimir Vysotsky
Russians remember the summer of 1980 for the Olympic Games held that year in Moscow. The games were boycotted by more than 50 countries because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan a year earlier, but this did not dampen the celebratory mood in the Soviet capital. After all, during the Cold War such “provocations” on the part of capitalist countries were to be expected.
What did cast a shadow on many people’s mood was another event that happened while the games were in full swing, on 25 July 1980. This event was not officially announced, apart from a small obituary in just one newspaper and a notice on a door of the Taganka theatre cancelling that week’s performance of Hamlet. Nevertheless, the news spread at the speed of light. On 28 July, the day of the funeral, tens of thousands of people lined the streets all around the theatre. They had come to say their goodbyes to Vladimir Vysotsky, a singer-songwriter and actor who felt like a member of the family.
Buy this chapter to read on
Clicking on the image below takes you to Vladimir Vysotsky Fund website, where you can listen to the bard perform his songs, watch him perform his songs and acting on stage and on screen, read the lyrics of his songs and more.
Все жили вровень, скромно так –
На тридцать восемь комнаток
Всего одна уборная.
Здесь нá зуб зуб не попадал,
Не грела телогреечка.
Здесь я доподлинно узнал
Почём она, копеечка.
Everyone lived equally modestly,
There was a “corridor system”:
For the thirty eight-bedrooms
There was only one bathroom.
The cold made your teeth chatter
And a padded coat did not warm you
Here I truly found out
The price of a kopek.
(from “Баллада о детстве” – “The Ballad of Childhood”)