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The real story behind the Trololo RickRoll video

5 May 2010 by Serge B. 3 Comments

I find this very amusing that a really old video by Eduard Khil, one of my parent's favorite singer back in 70s, back in the have been pulled into another viral RockRoll meme (aka Ed Roll, Crazy Russian Roll).

The Trololo man meme was covered by the media around the world but the most interesting details I found in the Russian media coverage and interviews with the performer (who is now 75, btw). Since many of you can't read Russian I took the liberty of translating some of that in this post.

If you by a chance don't know yet what I'm talking about, watch the Trololo video first:

To clarify the confusion that is going on - the song "I Am Glad I'm Finally Going Home" (Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой) was debuted in 1966 but the viral version on YouTube is the video that was filmed in 1976 in Sweden.

Returning to the store, there are (of course :) two back stories about this song - one by the performer himself, and another one by Mikhail Ostrovsky, son of Arkady Ostrovsky the composer behind the Trololo song.

Here is Eduard Khil's version:

There is a back story about this song. Originally, we had lyrics written for this song but they were poor. They actually were pretty good, but at the time we wouldn't be allowed to release them. The lyrics were about cowboy Joe who is riding his stallion through a prairie, to his beloved Mary, she is thousand miles away in Kentucky, knitting stockings for him. Obviously, back in the [Soviet] days these lyrics were considered anti-Soviet and would've been banned, and composer Arkady Ostrovsky and I, we decided to make it a vocalise. And since it has no lyrics, the essence on the song is in the title. The song is naughty - we had to make up something for people would listen to it.
Source: Life News (Russian) and Novosti (Russian)

The story above appears true given the reality of the Soviet era. Although the version by Mikhail Ostrovsky introduces an unexpected twist:

The lyrics were never banned. When my father was working on the music to the song, he had an argument with Lev Oshanin, author of the lyrics. The poet told my father that lyrics are most important part of a song and that a composer is nothing without a poet. "Fine! I don't need your stinking lyrics, I'll do fine without them!" - blew up my dad…
Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russian)

So, here you have the two - pick which one you like more and post your comments here why you think the other one is wrong :)

As I mentioned I grew up on songs Eduard Khil as well as other performers of the 70s and the 80s. Here is another song he performs that takes me back into my childhood:

A newer version of it that I thought is kinda fun:

And if you are not tired of this yet, here is a (newer) video of another song by the Trololo Man filmed in 1998:

Oh, and, by the way, the version on YouTube that claims being Trololo with lyrics is a complete bull - very different song. You've been warned :)

Don't forget to comments here which back story you like and why you think the other one is wrong.


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