His granddaughter tells VOA Duke Ellington's Soviet fans listened to him on "Radio Free America."

Posted: 23 Apr 2010

VOA News, 21 Apr 2010, transcript of video report: "Mercedes [Ellington] traveled with the band to Russia in the mid 1970's, and got to see her grandfather's popularity first-hand. 'The people were running on the tarmac alongside the plane as we landed, with bouquets of flowers. They had been listening to the music of Duke Ellington through Radio Free America. There were enough Russian people who knew about the music and had secret recordings of the Ellington band. And there was great reception everywhere we went,' she said." The Soviet fans, of course, listened on VOA. There was never a "Radio Free America," other than a couple of talk shows by that name, and a short-lived pirate radio station. (See Wikipedia on this subject.) It's easy to conflate "Voice of America" and the more memorable "Radio Free Europe" -- two stations that broadcast to many of the same countries in many of the same languages during the Cold War years.

Copyright 2006–2019 Kim Andrew Elliott.