Notes
-----

(1) "07" = long-distance telephone call. Vysotsky and his (last) wife, 
also an actress (and a foreign one to boot, albeit of Russian descent), 
had to spend most of their time apart, in different cities.

(2) "Life is as pretty and sweet as a rose" is a very loose paraphrase 
of the Mayakovsky quote used in the original. And why is this non-boxing 
boxer even in the ring (never mind, why does he have fans)? Because he 
is probably representing his factory or town, and was picked (by some 
local party official) for looking big and strong, rather than for any 
known pugilistic prowess.

(3) The first two verses refer to the mythical story of Antaeus, son 
of the Earth goddess, Gaia. Hercules fought him, and ran into trouble -- 
because Antaeus kept drawing strength from her, via his feet. Eventually, 
Hercules realized this, so he lifted him up and strangled him in mid-air.

(4) In the original, the last two lines are (almost exactly) the first 
two lines of an extremely well-known (to Russians) poem by Pushkin. (One 
correspondent has suggested fully anglicising this song by replacing "Blok" 
and "Balmont" with "Blake" and "Byron" -- and also, presumably, "three 
roubles" with, say, "ten dollars" -- wish I had thought of that!)

(5) The italicized extra refrains are optional -- as in, they were not 
included in the (printed) version I first saw, and used. I am indebted 
to a (different) correspondent for (a) pointing out their existence to me, 
in the first place, and also (b) suggesting a better way of rhyming them 
than what I came up with.
 
(6) Third verse omitted, for technical reasons. Cover by Zakhar May and 
Sergei Chigrakov, on Ekho Moskvy, 2003.

(7) From the April 12, 1979 Toronto concert. The last two songs were 
performed in their entirety; for three of the other five, I've added 
translations of the missing verses (in italics).

BACK