December 13, 2010; Source: Moscow News | Boy, that Vladimir Putin is such a card, the life of the party, hey Vlad, get that lampshade off your head, you wild and crazy Prime Minister, you! While serving as a KGB officer charged with taking on political dissent in the old Soviet Union, Putin must have picked up a taste for the music of Fats Domino.
At an event described by the Moscow News as a “charity gig in St. Petersburg in front of a star-studded audience,” Putin performed “Blueberry Hill” accompanying himself on the Piano. According to the News, “The glamorous audience thanked Putin for his efforts with a standing ovation.” Way to go, Vlad!
Sign up for our free newsletters
Subscribe to NPQ's newsletters to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
The fundraiser, with tickets reportedly going for $15,000, at St. Petersburg’s Ice Arena was to help cancer centers buy equipment and medicine. Joining Putin were several Hollywood types, including Kevin Costner who reportedly performed a country song, Sharon Stone, Mickey Rourke, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, and Vincent Kassel. Also performing was Gerard Depardieu who read the poetry of Sergei Yesenin, the poet-husband of dancer Isadora Duncan who wrote his last poem in his own blood.
Actually, Yesenin was a brilliant poet whose work was suppressed through the Stalin era, but the attraction of the event was undoubtedly Putin on the ivories. Is this going to result in a music gap between the U.S. and Russia? We haven’t seen Barack Obama perform yet, but Bill Clinton was famous for his work on the saxophone, and Richard Nixon was a vigorous pianist. It would seem like in terms of musical leaders, the U.S. and Russia have reached detente. But still, “Blueberry Hill”? You rock, Vlad!—Rick Cohen