Saturday, September 27, 2014

Those Were the Days / Дорогой длинною

The song “Those Were the Days” is an English version of the Russian song Дорогой длинною (By the Long Road). I like both versions a lot. The English one by Mark Hopkin from 1968 is very popular:

A bit of related history is stranger than fiction:

On Christmas 1975, the President of Equatorial Guinea, Francisco Macías Nguema, had 150 alleged coup plotters executed in the national stadium while Mary Hopkins’ cover of “Those Were the Days” was played over the PA system.

That was reported in the Wikipedia article on the song.

The first Russian recordings of the song go back to the 1920s and 1930s. This video anthologizes excerpts from some of them, giving a feel for the range of adaptations:

I find the Russian lyrics and English translation are more interesting than the later English version.

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