Russians (song)

"Russians" is a song by Sting, from his debut solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, released in June 1985, and released as a single in November. The song is a commentary and plea that criticises the then-dominant Cold War foreign policy and doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD) by the United States and the then existing Soviet Union.

"Russians"
Russians Sting vinyl Commonwealth Realms.jpg
Standard 7-inch vinyl artwork (UK single pictured)
Single by Sting
from the album The Dream of the Blue Turtles
B-side"Gabriel's Message"
ReleasedNovember 1985
Recorded1984
GenreNew wave, art rock
Length3:58
LabelA&M
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Sting and Peter Smith
Sting singles chronology
"Fortress Around Your Heart"
(1985)
"Russians"
(1985)
"Moon over Bourbon Street"
(1986)
Music video
"Russians" on YouTube

BackgroundEdit

In 2010, Sting explained that the song was inspired by watching Soviet TV via inventor Ken Schaffer's satellite receiver at Columbia University:[1][2]

"I had a friend at university who invented a way to steal the satellite signal from Russian TV. We'd have a few beers and climb this tiny staircase to watch Russian television... At that time of night we'd only get children's Russian television, like their 'Sesame Street'. I was impressed with the care and attention they gave to their children's programmes. I regret our current enemies haven't got the same ethics."

Sting performed the song at the 1986 Grammy Awards. His performance of the song was released on the 1994 album Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume I.[3]

Music videoEdit

The accompanying music video for the single was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and was shot in a similar black-and-white, French New Wave-influenced style to his previous video for Don Henley's "The Boys Of Summer". The video also prominently featured child actor Felix Howard, who was later featured Mondino's promotional video for Madonna's "Open Your Heart" in 1986.

CompositionEdit

The song uses the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev,[4] and its lead-in includes a snippet from the Soviet news program Vremya in which the famed Soviet news broadcaster Igor Kirillov says in Russian: "...The British Prime Minister described the talks with the head of the delegation, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, as a constructive, realistic, practical and friendly exchange of opinions...", referring to the meeting of Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher in 1984. The Soviet leader at the time was Konstantin Chernenko.

Also in the background, communications from the Apollo–Soyuz mission can be heard.

LegacyEdit

In a 2021 interview, James Cameron, the co-writer, director and producer of Terminator 2, said that the song inspired him to create the character of John Connor, the 10-year-old boy who would be the central character of the plot: "I remember sitting there once, high on E, writing notes for Terminator, and I was struck by Sting’s song, that “I hope the Russians love their children too.” And I thought, “You know what? The idea of a nuclear war is just so antithetical to life itself.” That’s where the kid came from."[5]

Track listingsEdit

7" single
  1. "Russians" – 3:57
  2. "Gabriel's Message" – 2:15
12" maxi
  1. "Russians" – 3:57
  2. "Gabriel's Message" – 2:10
  3. "I Burn for You" (live) – 4:40

PersonnelEdit

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Country Certification Date Sales certified Physical sales
France[23] Gold 1986 500,000 476,000

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Sting's Russians was inspired by illegal satellite viewings". The Daily Express. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Russians". Youtube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. What struck me when I was watching these programs was how much care and attention and clearly love had gone into these programs. And these were our enemies, but they clearly love their children just like we love ours.
  3. ^ "Grammy's Greatest Moments, Volume 1: Various Artists". Amazon. 1994. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  4. ^ Gable, Christopher (2008). The words and music of Sting. ABC-CLIO. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-275-99360-3.
  5. ^ Alan Siegel (30 June 2021). "The Oral History of 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'". The Ringer. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 295. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid-1983 and 12 June 1988.
  7. ^ "Sting – Russians" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Sting – Russians" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know > Search results for 'Sting' (from irishcharts.ie)". Fireball Media, via Imgur.com. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 1, 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Sting – Russians" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Sting – Russians". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Sting – Russians". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Sting – Russians". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Sting Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Sting Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Sting – Russians". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Kent Music Report No 650 – 29 December 1986 > National Top 100 Singles for 1986". Kent Music Report, via Imgur.com. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  20. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1986". Ultratop. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  21. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 of the Year 1986" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3, no. 51–52. 27 December 1986. p. 28-29. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 4 October 2021 – via American Radio History.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  23. ^ French certifications See: "Les Ventes" => "Toutes les Certifications depuis 1973" => "STING" InfoDisc.fr (Retrieved March 24, 2009)

External linksEdit

  • [1] - analysis of the song on Pop History Dig (Jack Doyle, "Sting: 'Russians', 1985," PopHistoryDig.com, 30 April 2009)