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The single cover for Boney M.'s song,

The single cover for Boney M.'s song, "Rasputin."

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Ra Ra Rasputin may just be one of the catchiest choruses of the last century. Boney M., the euro disco band from West Germany and later Aruba, created this popular song “Rasputin” in the late 1970s. It became a smash international hit, partly for its fun (even if morbid) lyrics, as well as for its incredibly danceable music. 

The story behind the topic of the song is perhaps the most interesting part of the song. The titular character, Grigori Rasputin, is a real life villain. Living in imperialist Russia before World War I, he is best known as the right hand man of the last Tsar Nicholas II, or more specifically his wife, Alexandra. The royal couple had a son named Alexei who was born with hemophilia — a deadly and incurable disease at the time. For both political and personal reasons, Alexandra kept this information under wraps from the general public and only confided in her family and her closest friend Rasputin. He convinced her he was a mystic healer, managing to quell Alexei’s fits when his disease would act up. Unfortunately, others who were not in on the secret understood Rasputin to be a deeply bloodthirsty and power-hungry man, leading to his eventual murder. His close and secretive relationship with Alexandra as well as his belief that overindulging in sin cleansed one of it led most of the public to falsely believe that Alexandra and Rasputin were lovers.

This incredible story, while completely true, became a story of legend as well. It is easy to see these pieces of the story in the song. The chorus and verses paint Rasputin as “the lover of the Russian Queen” and “big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow. . . to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear.” Boney M. managed to tell this mystical story about a complex individual in a fun, and more importantly danceable, song that is almost as captivating as Rasputin’s infamous eyes. 

-Elizabeth Horn

a rather frightening photo of grigori rasputin

© Mads Dahl Madsen / mediadrumworld.com
A photo of Rasputin’s “alluring” eyes.

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