Friday, February 19, 2016

Place Names in Rock Lyrics: Back in the USSR

For this feature we've previously done Sweet Little SixteenDancing in the StreetsNight TrainRock'n MePop MuzikGirls, Girls, GirlsFire Down BelowTruckin'Everywhere That I'm NotMess Around, and Back in the USA.

Our song today is Back in the USSR by the Beatles. It was released as a song on their White Album, obviously as a parody of the last song we did, Back in the USA, although there are also lyrical allusions to the Beach Boys' California Girls. It was not released as a single at the time except in Scandinavia, but it's always gotten plenty of airplay on AOR/classic rock stations.

One interesting thing is Ringo had quit the Beatles temporarily during the recording of the White Album, so Paul actually plays drums on this song.

Here's the first verse:

Oh, flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C.
Didn't get to bed last night
On the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man I had a dreadful flight
I'm back in the U.S.S.R.
You don't know how lucky you are boy
Back in the U.S.S.R. (Yeah)
And here's the bridge a little later in the song:

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on my mind

Note the allusion to Ray Charles's Georgia on My Mind in that last line.

Here's the final verse. No cities in this one, I just think it's funny:

Oh, show me around your snow-peaked mountains way down south
Take me to your daddy's farm
Let me hear your balalaika's ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm
I'm back in the U.S.S.R.
Hey you don't know how lucky you are boys
Back in the U.S.S.R.

So the cities and places in this song are:
Georgia (country, then part of the USSR, not the US state)
Miami Beach (a suburb of Miami)

And here's the master list:

Notes: The cities that has been mentioned most often is New York, with Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Philadelphia tied for second. The biggest cities we haven't heard from yet, at least in the United States, are Cleveland, Kansas City, and Seattle. Also surprising to me is that Memphis hasn't yet appeared on the list.

Atlanta x3
Baltimore x3
Baton Rouge
--(northern) California
--(coast of) California
Chicago x3
Delaware (Bay)
Detroit x3
Ft. Lauderdale
Georgia (country)
Las Vegas
Los Angeles x4
--Miami Beach
New Orleans x4
New York City x6
Nova Scotia
Paris x2
Philadelphia x4
San Francisco
St. Louis x3
(heart of) Texas
Washington, DC x2

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