Forbidden X-Ray Music


Music contained on X-Ray records was mostly banned. Sometimes they did contain bootlegged approved songs (sold more cheaply than the versions in the shops) but generally the content was forbidden and from three sources:

  • Western music. Rhythms such as tango or styles such as Jazz by artists like Ella Fitzgerald were forbidden as being a general bad influence and sometimes specifically anti-soviet. 
  • Russian music made by emigres or defectors such as Pyotr Leshchenko (pictured). Whatever their repertoire, such artists were seen as treacherous and their work inherently anti-soviet even if it had previously been approved.
  • Russian music by unofficial artists such Arcady Severnyj.  To officially perform and record,  artists would need to be vetted by the state censor.  Many folk songs or the 'criminal' or 'gulag' songs known as blatnyak, whilst not obviously anti-establishment were regarded as being of low culture and not conducive to the ideals of social realism.