By Bad Seed
Podmoskovnye Vechera (Russian: Подмосковные Вечера, English: "Moscow Nights" or, more correctly, "Evenings of Moscow's Suburbs") is one of the most famous Russian songs outside Russia.
The song was written by two well-established authors, composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoy and poet Mikhail Matusovsky in 1955, when it was recorded by Vladimir Troshin, a young actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, for a sports documentary about the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the RSFSR, for a scene where the sportsmen rest in Moscow suburbs (Podmoskovye). It went unnoticed there, but gained a significant popularity after being broadcast by radio.
In 1957, the song won the first prize and the international song contest during the World Festival of Youth and Students held in Moscow that year, quite unexpectedly for the authors. After that the song spread around the world, gaining particular popularity in China. In 1958 the song was noticed by Van Cliburn, whose performance significantly contributed to the popularity of the song abroad.
In the Soviet Union, the tune was the time call sounded every 30 minutes at the Mayak music and news radio station since 1964. The shortwave radio station Radio Moscow's English-language service played a beautiful instrumental version of "Moscow Nights" before every hour's newscast after informing listeners of frequency changes.
The British jazz group, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, had a hit with the song in 1961 titled Midnight in Moscow , and film exists which shows them playing it at a concert in Moscow.