Moscow Nights

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"Moscow Nights"
"Подмосковные вечера"
Composer(s)Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi
Lyricist(s)Mikhail Matusovsky

"Moscow Nights" (Russian: Подмоско́вные вечера́, romanizedPodmoskóvnyye vecherá, pronounced [pədmɐˈskovnɨje vʲɪtɕɪˈra]), later covered as "Midnight in Moscow", is a Soviet Russian song.

Composition and initial success[edit]

Composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky wrote the song in 1955 with the title "Leningrad Nights" (Russian: Ленинградские вечера, tr. Leningradskije večera, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈɡratskʲɪje vʲɪtɕɪˈra]), but at the request of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, the song was renamed "Moscow Nights" with corresponding changes to the lyrics.[citation needed]

In 1956, "Moscow Nights" was recorded by Vladimir Troshin,[1] a young actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, for a scene in a documentary about the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic's athletic competition Spartakiad in which the athletes rest in Podmoskovye, the Moscow suburbs. The film did nothing to promote the song, but thanks to radio broadcasts it gained popularity.[citation needed]


"Midnight in Moscow"
Single by Kenny Ball
  • October 1961 (UK)
  • January 1962 (US)
GenreEasy listening

The Dutch jazz group New Orleans Syncopators recorded the arrangement of the song under the title 'Midnight in Moscow', arranged by its leader Jan Burgers on January 4, 1961.[2] The arrangement of Jan Burgers was published by Les Editions Int. Basart N.V. and was also used by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, who recorded the song in November 1961, also under the title "Midnight in Moscow".[3] This version peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in January 1962. "Midnight in Moscow" also reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in March that year, kept out of the number one spot by "Hey! Baby" by Bruce Channel,[4] and it spent three weeks at number one on the American Easy Listening chart.[5]

In 1962, at the height of the folk revival in the United States, the song was recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio on their popular live performance album At the Bitter End on Kapp Records. The group introduced the song with its original Russian lyrics to the American mainstream audience during the Cold War era of strained relations between the U.S. and the USSR.

Swedish pianist Jan Johansson recorded a jazzy version of the song. It was named "Kvällar i Moskvas Förstäder", literally "Evenings in Moscow's suburbs" and was released in 1967.[6]

A version of the song was recorded by James Last and appears on his Russland zwischen Tag und Nacht album.[7]

The Chinese composer Gao Ping used the song in 2003 as the basis for one of his Soviet Love Songs for Vocalising Pianist, "Evenings in Suburban Moscow."[8]

In 2015, the Massed Bands of the Moscow Garrison, under the direction of Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov, performed a march arrangement of the song during the march past of foreign contingents (specifically those from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) in the Moscow Victory Day Parade that year.[9]

Place in Soviet culture[edit]

The shortwave radio station Radio Moscow's English-language service has played an instrumental version of "Moscow Nights" between informing listeners of frequency changes and the hourly newscast since the start of its 24-hour English Service in 1978.[citation needed]

In American popular culture[edit]

The lyrics were shown on 9 March 2017 in Cyrillic script as the vanity card of The Big Bang Theory episode "The Escape Hatch Identification" (Season 10 Episode 18).[10] It was used once again on 5 April 2018, as card number 585,[11] but the second line of the song was missing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vladimir Trochin – Moscow nights (1956)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Jan Burgers & His New Orleans Syncopators Midnight in Moscow". YouTube.
  3. ^ "Kenny Ball". 22 May 1930. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  4. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart". Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 28.
  6. ^ "Lycklig resa – en hyllning till Jan Johansson". (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  7. ^ Mitternacht in Moskau, retrieved 6 January 2023
  8. ^ "Two Soviet Love Songs for Vocalising Pianist – Gao Ping". 12 August 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Foreign units marched at the military parade in step with the music of "Katusha" and "Podmoscovnye vechera" songs : Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation". Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  10. ^ "CLP – Vanity Card #554". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  11. ^ "CLP – Vanity Card #585". Retrieved 6 April 2018.

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]