Think vinyl records are cool? Well, yeah, but you might find yourself singing a different tune once you’ve seen where Russians pressed their bootleg records during the ’50s. Pictures after the cut!
The ’50s had been one of the most wonderful eras in music, defined by Western rock and roll, pop, country, and blues. It was when artists such as Patti Page, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Perry Como, and Chuck Berry, just to name a few, made some of their hits that are still well-known today. Unfortunately, these were banned in Soviet-era Russia so anyone caught in possession of them were imprisoned.
But eventually, the Russians found a way to make bootleg copies of these records by pressing them on thick, discarded, and exposed X-ray plates sourced from hospital trash bins! Author Anya von Bremzen was quoted as saying on NPR, “They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole.” The records measured up to 25 cm in diameter and were aptly called roentgenizdat (X-ray records), or “bone music.” However, this undoubtedly clever practice came to an end by 1958 when the government finally caught wind of it and deemed it illegal, too.
Now, how about this for music so good it goes deep into your bones?