The Russian Rickroll


Justin E. H. Smith profiles Эдуард Хиль (aka Edward Anatolevich Hill), the Soviet-era singer in this MHB from last week:

Recent interest in Hill has to do with the perceived strangeness, theuncanniness, the surreal character of this performance. There is indeedsomething uncanny about a lip-synch to a song with no words, and hiswaxed face and hair helmet certainly do not carry over well. But onceone does a bit of research, one learns that the number was notconceived out of some desire to cater to the so-bad-it's-good tastes ofthe Western YouTube generation, but in fact was meant to please --togenuinely please-- Soviet audiences who were capable of placing thisroutine, this man, and this song into a familiar context. The audienceswould recognize, for example, that the same number had been performedby the Azerbaidzhani singer Muslim Magomaev in a film from the early1960s, The Blue Spark:

Hill's translated Russian Wiki page is here.