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Bone Music: The Black Market of Prohibited Music In the USSR

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posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 03:49 PM
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I just stumbled upon this today and found it very interesting. Has anyone here heard of this or own any of these records?

In post WWII Russia, Stalin banned the possession of any western music. All records allowed in the country had to be of Russian composers. However, there was an underground hungry for Western popular music—everything from jazz and blues to rock & roll. Smuggling vinyl was dangerous and acquiring the scarce material to make copies of those records that did make it into the country was expensive and very risky.

Enter an ingenuous solution to this problem.

Ruslan Bogoslowski, a young 19-year-old sound engineer from Leningrad changed the game when he created a device to bootleg western albums, so he could distribute them across Russia. Problem was he couldn't find material to bootleg his pressings onto. Vinyl was scarce as were all petroleum products after the war. Then, one day he stumbled upon a pile of discarded X-rays. It worked.

At the time, Russian law mandated that all X-rays had to be destroyed after 1 year of storage because they were flammable, so he dug through trash bins and paid off orderlies for x-rays and for 20 years he handmade about 1,000,000 bootlegs onto X-ray film of everything from Classical to Elvis, The Beatles, Bill Haley, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald and Chubby Checker. He eventually spent five years imprisoned in Siberia for this rebellion.

This form of black market recordings is known as “bone music," or sometimes called "bones 'n' ribs" music, or simply “Ribs”. Each Rib is handmade and one of a kind.


Real medical X-rays, purchased or picked up from the trash from hospitals and clinics were used to create the recordings. The X-rays were cut into 7-inch discs and the center hole was made by burning it with a cigarette. According to Russian musicologist Artemy Troitsky, "grooves were cut (at 78rpm) with the help of special machines (made, they say, from old phonographs by skilled conspiratorial hands)"; he added that the "quality was awful, but the price was low, a ruble or a ruble and a half." The disks could only be played five to ten times.

For over 20 years, Bone Music was the only way Russian music lovers could get western music, which they played at "music and coffee parties" in their kitchens, away from the KGB ears and eyes.

Bone Music. A testament to the underground courage to subvert authority, rebellion, and the love of music. The spirit of rock n roll.

edit on 5-3-2018 by jtrenthacker because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 03:54 PM
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Wow!!



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 03:56 PM
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a reply to: jtrenthacker

Awesome thread!!




posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:06 PM
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a reply to: jtrenthacker

That is the # and I am now on the hunt to find one of these. It may take some time but I will get one.
Super cool. Thanks



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:22 PM
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originally posted by: TinySickTears
a reply to: jtrenthacker

That is the # and I am now on the hunt to find one of these. It may take some time but I will get one.
Super cool. Thanks


Same here. One of these hanging above my vinyl collection would be awesome. It’d be the centerpiece. Currently scouring ebay without much luck. I doubt many of these survived though.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:24 PM
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Awesome thread about the love of music.
I think this is fitting to leave here.




posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:32 PM
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originally posted by: jtrenthacker

originally posted by: TinySickTears
a reply to: jtrenthacker

That is the # and I am now on the hunt to find one of these. It may take some time but I will get one.
Super cool. Thanks


Same here. One of these hanging above my vinyl collection would be awesome. It’d be the centerpiece. Currently scouring ebay without much luck. I doubt many of these survived though.


dude ive got so much cool and weird #(at least to me) and one of these would be prime to have.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:36 PM
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a reply to: TinySickTears

Found a listing! At $125, I’m seriously considering it.

Edit: I guess eBay links aren’t allowed but just search “Russian X Ray Music”. Should pop up.

edit on 5-3-2018 by jtrenthacker because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:40 PM
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originally posted by: jtrenthacker
a reply to: TinySickTears

Found a listing! At $125, I’m seriously considering it.

Edit: I guess eBay links aren’t allowed but just search “Russian X Ray Music”. Should pop up.


thanks man. i dont want to get on your kool aide but i appreciate it.

just so you know im pissed at you. i tend to get obsessed about # when i come across something super awesome and this is one of those things. so you just cause me to lose some sleep

i will be going balls deep into this rabbit hole over the next couple weeks so if i come across any good info i will keep you posted.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:40 PM
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a reply to: jtrenthacker

Now that gives Monty Python's, "Now for something completely different" a whole new meaning!


Thank you VERY MUCH for something really cool and different!



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:55 PM
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Wow!
What a beautiful, ingenious way to smuggle music

www.x-rayaudio.com...
edit on 5-3-2018 by violet because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 04:56 PM
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a reply to: TinySickTears

It all good. I figure if I’m going to spend a couple hundy on something like that, I’d prefer it to be a recognizable artist like The Stones or something. This listing is for some Russian accordion player. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for something good to pop up though.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:04 PM
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I want one as a piece of art.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:16 PM
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originally posted by: jtrenthacker
a reply to: TinySickTears

It all good. I figure if I’m going to spend a couple hundy on something like that, I’d prefer it to be a recognizable artist like The Stones or something. This listing is for some Russian accordion player. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for something good to pop up though.

Yes it would have to be rock legends.

All My Loving by the Beatles was one
edit on 5-3-2018 by violet because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:26 PM
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Very amazing and indeed in the spirit of rock, I hope more can be recovered. I wonder how much longer they will last-long time it seems if they don't catch on fire- as it's been some time.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:27 PM
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originally posted by: dreamingawake
Very amazing and indeed in the spirit of rock, I hope more can be recovered. I wonder how much longer they will last-long time it seems if they don't catch on fire- as it's been some time.

I read you can’t play them many times.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:30 PM
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originally posted by: dreamingawake
Very amazing and indeed in the spirit of rock, I hope more can be recovered. I wonder how much longer they will last-long time it seems if they don't catch on fire- as it's been some time.


Music technicians are able to recover the music from old vinyl records by laser scanning them to get a digital copy of the grooves. Then they can replay them digitally. Perhaps they can do the same with these.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:32 PM
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posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: stormcell

Possibly but it’s not really the point. They are bootleg copies of legit vinyl after all.



posted on Mar, 5 2018 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: violet



How about Mambo or Elvis Presley




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