How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin - exclusive book excerpt

Read Chapter 22 of the new book, How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: The Untold Story of a Noisy Revolution, by Leslie Woodhead, a Cold War spy who filmed the Beatles in 1962.

Imagine a world where Beatlemania was against the law -- recordings scratched onto medical X-rays, merchant sailors bringing home contraband LPs, spotty broadcasts taped from western AM radio late in the night. This was no fantasy world populated by Blue Meanies but the USSR, where a vast nation of music fans risked repression to hear the defining band of the British Invasion.

In August, 1962, Leslie Woodhead filmed a two-minute cameo of four unknown kids bashing out rock ’n’ roll in a Liverpool cellar. Not long after, The Beatles were conquering the world.

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin by Leslie Woodhead tells the improbable story of how the music of the Beatles helped bring down the Soviet Union -- plus eight never-before-seen photos of the Beatles from 1963.

Woodhead, a Cold War–era spy, compiles over three decades of research to demonstrate the group’s impact on the Soviet psyche. The music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo was forbidden, but their music was irresistible. It blasted open the door to Western culture, fomenting a cultural revolution.

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin tells the unforgettable, wild, and unmistakably Russian story of Soviet kids who discovered that all you need is Beatles.

Read Excerpt | Buy How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: The Untold Story of a Noisy Revolution



  1. My friend Margarita was arrested for singing Beatles songs outside a youth club in Vratsa when she was thirteen.  She made it sound like a really good time.

  2. See if you can scrape up a copy of the 2008 movie Hipsters aka Stilyagi or Boogie Bones.

    It’s set in Moscow in the early 50s, and the story centers on a young man, a straight arrow, whose Komsomol group is at war with the hipsters who listen and dance to western music and dress in outrageous western outfits. After a raid on one of the hipsters secret dances he falls for a hipster girl and starts moving into their circle. It’s worth it for the big musical number towards the beginning alone.

    It’s not easy to find, almost like a jazz album in the 1950s USSR.

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