"Rasputin" is a 1978 Euro-disco hit single by the Germany-based pop and euro disco group Boney M., the second from their album Nightflight to Venus. The song is a semi-biographical song about Grigori Rasputin, a friend and advisor of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family during the early 20th century. The song variously sensationalizes Rasputin as a playboy, mystical healer, and political demiurge. The tune of the song is based on Turkish song Kâtibim.
The song references Grigori Rasputin's alleged healing of hemophiliac Tsarevich Alexei of Russia, and how this endeared him to the boy's mother, the Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna (former Princess Alix of Hesse). It also claims that Rasputin was Alexandra's paramour ("Ra Ra Rasputin: lover of the Russian queen - there was a cat that really was gone"). As "Russia's greatest love machine", the "Moscow chicks" thought him lovely. The song states that Rasputin's political power overshadowed that of the Tsar himself in "all affairs of state". When his sexual and political acts became intolerable "men of higher standing" plotted his downfall, despite the fact that "the ladies begged" them not to.
The end of the song recounts a modified version of a popular description of the events that culminated in Rasputin's assassination, as perpetrated by Felix Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich, and Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia on December 16, 1916 (O.S.). Specifically, the song states that Rasputin's assassins fatally shot him after he survived the poisoning of his wine with a very large dose of cyanide.
While the song accurately indicates that many unfavorable rumors damaged Rasputin's reputation, there is no verifiable evidence to suggest that he had an affair with Alexandra.
The song rose to the top of the charts in Germany and Austria, and went to #2 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. It was another number 1 hit for Boney M. in Australia, providing them a second (and last) chart topper in that country (the other one being "Rivers of Babylon").
Although the song was written and performed in English (with a smattering of German - But the kasatschok he danced really wunderbar!), it enjoyed great popularity in the Soviet Union, and is credited with making Rasputin famous again there, although it was omitted from the Russian pressing of the album and Boney M. were barred from performing the song during their ten performances in Moscow in December 1978.
During their visit to Poland in 1979, Boney M. performed Rasputin despite being asked not to by government officials. The show was broadcast on national TV the next day, after the song was edited out of their performance.
The song has been covered by a number of other bands in varying musical styles, perhaps most notably by the Finnish folk metal band Turisas. Boiled in Lead also covered it in a heavy metal version.
The Washington, D.C.-based dance/rock band Ra Ra Rasputin takes its name from the song.
The song also appears on the video game Just Dance 2.
The Boney M. — Rasputin clip can be downloaded for free and without registration.
|Genres||electronic, funk/soul, disco|