The star and death of Valery Obodzinsky
In January of this year the popular singer of the Soviet times Valery Obodzinsky would have celebrated his 70th birthday. April 26 marked the 15th anniversary of his untimely death. Yefim Dymov who led the group "True Friends" and is now living in Toronto (Canada), spoke about Obodzinsky as a singer and a person with a difficult destiny.
"I never thought that I would talk about Valery Obodzinsky, but having watched the documentary "Unknown confession," after reading many articles, I decided to bring some clarity to this flow of truth, half-truths and simple lies," explained his desire the ex-leader of the band "True Friends".
Yefim Dymov asked to call him not by his real first name and patronymic, but his creative alias of Soviet times, which is still memorable to people close to the stage of those times.
Could you please tell us about your relations with the popular singer Valery Obodzinsky?
"I worked in the band "Muscovites", played the saxophone and alto violin. Popular singers Alla Pugacheva, Alexander Barykin, and my friend Georgy Mamikonov, now head of the show band "Dr. Watson" began their career In this band. The hallmark of "Muscovites" was a great song by David Tuhmanov "What a wonderful world." The audience liked that the three brass musicians changed their instruments for two violins and viola, and guitar player changed his instrument to the cello, thus producing a string quartet.
Valery Obodzinsky's career peaked in 1973-1976. At that time, he collaborated with the band "True Friends" that I've led for nearly 15 years. In those years, he was an insanely popular singer and most of the time we spent on tours and not at home. I knew Valery as a living, normal person. And I have some inside information about him - unlike the people who write about him. I do not pretend to have the entire truth about Valerie. Of course, he had friends and family, but at work, Obodzinsky mostly talked with me."
How did you meet?
"In June of 1973 we arrived in Minsk for the All-Union Competition of Variety Artists where we became nominees along with "Pesnyary" and "Kobza". According to the contest rules, the winners were supposed to represent our country at the Tenth World Youth Festival in Berlin. But the fate of the "Muscovites" was dramatically changed by the middle-aged, gray-haired man named Yefim Zuperman. He made us an offer we could not refuse, stipulating a number of conditions: a move from Mosconcert to Rosconcert, changing the name of the band, not going to Berlin and starting work with the popular singer Valery Obodzinsky."
"Some biographers of Obodzinsky argue that the popularity of the singer started through his tour with a team of Oleg Lundstrem and the songs of composer David Tukhmanov. What role has cooperation with the band "True Friends" played in the life of Obodzinsky?"
"Valery Obodzinsky was a lifesaver for an orchestra of Oleg Lundstrem. In fact, he became famous even back when he performed in different Philharmonic societies at the periphery. Obodzinsky became insanely popular after the American movie "Mackenna's Gold " was shown on the Soviet screens. Singers in those years were entitled to a song, a session in a concert, or a solo concert. The right to a solo concert was then held by only a few singers - for example, Zykina, Magomayev, Kobzon, a little later Leshchenko. More singers had a right to a session in a concert, for example Pugacheva whom we worked with together in Rosconcert.
Our band also had a right to a session. Obodzinsky brought to our band pianist Yuri Shcheglov, who became our musical director in the first two years, and the well-known in those years guitar player Boris Pivovarov. We moved from Mosconcert to Rosconcert, changed the name to "True Friends." The name was the idea of our trombonist Igor Oskolkov - and in a very short period of time we were rehearsing Obodzinsky's program that prior to us he performed with a "floating" staff."
"Why did Valery Obodzinsky appointed you as the music director instead of Yuri Shcheglov?"
"I do not want to brag, but I'm more or less able to make arrangements. In addition, Yuri Shcheglov used to drink and, his wife, who worked with our costume, also drank. Obodzinsky did not allow alcohol under any pretext. We heard that he had previously abused, but at some point it all had stopped. Yuri Shcheglov spoke about a story that happened to Valery in Norilsk, if I remember correctly. He was supposed to sing at the New Year's TV broadcast, and in those years TV was basically live.
Knowing that Valery had a history of abuse, he was locked in a hotel room for nearly the entire day. Then a representative of the Party Committee came to get him and suggested they go to the TV station. Going down the stairs, Valery somehow managed to run to a cafe and had a couple glasses of wine. On TV it was all good until soffits went off. Valery was singing his famous "Angela", and fell into the orchestra pit. There was a terrible scandal, and Valery decided to radically change his life."
"Was he successful?"