CHOBA B CCCP (a transliteration of the record name as on the cover, the phonetic transcription is "Snova V SSSR", it is also known as "The Russian Album") is the seventh solo studio album by Paul McCartney, originally released in 1988 exclusively in the Soviet Union. The album consists entirely of covers, mainly of rock and rolloldies (similar to John Lennon's 1975 album Rock 'n' Roll). With the addition of an extra track, the album was released internationally in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Following the tepid reaction to his 1986 studio album Press to Play, McCartney spent much of the first half of 1987 plotting his next album. In July, he got the urge to get back to his roots by singing some of his favourite hits from the 1950s and over the course of two days, with three other session musicians, McCartney recorded twenty-two songs, thirteen of which would be chosen for the eventual album release in the USSR the following year.
During the recording sessions 22 songs were recorded, but originally only 11 were put on the album. A second Soviet pressing, released in December 1988, increased the song total to 13 by adding "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday" and "Summertime". The 1991 worldwide CD release contained 14 tracks by including "I'm in Love Again" (first released in 1989 as one of the B-sides to McCartney's "This One" single) as a bonus track. Two more tracks from the sessions saw official release: the blues jam "I Wanna Cry" as another of the "This One" B-sides and "It's Now or Never" on the NME double-LP/CD The Last Temptation of Elvis in England in February 1990.
The title Снова в СССР is Russian for "Back in the U.S.S.R." – a famous Lennon–McCartney song from the Beatles' 1968 double album commonly known as the White Album. The title is often taken as if written in Latin letters ("choba b cccp"), but it is Russian, written in Cyrillic, transliterated Snova v SSSR, and pronounced in Russian roughly snova v ess-ess-ess-er.
The cover of the album was designed by Michael Ross. McCartney's photograph in a red star, the USSR's symbol, was taken by his wife Linda and was first featured inside the gatefold album cover of Ram.
McCartney intended CHOBA B CCCP as a present for Soviet fans who were generally unable to obtain his legitimate recordings, often having to make do with copies; they would, for a change, have an album that people in other countries would be unable to obtain. Accordingly, McCartney never intended the album to be sold outside the USSR, and mirroring the situation as it had been within the Soviet Union, it was a popular import or bootleg album in other countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Choba B CCCP was given a worldwide release in 1991, reaching number 63 in the UK and number 109 in the US. Curiously, the title is misprinted on this release as СНОВА Б СССР (Б is the Cyrillic equivalent of the letter B in the Latin alphabet, rather than the B, equivalent to V, of the original).
The Russian album includes liner notes in Russian, from text that was originally in English by Roy Carr of the NME.
Rhapsody praised the album, calling it one of their favourite cover albums.
^Sounes, Howard (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. p. 412. ... guessing they would print more and that fans who wanted it in the West could buy Soviet imports, which is what happened when CHOBA B CCCP (Russian for 'Again in the USSR'), was released the following year.
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