USSR album release: Choba B CCCP by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s seventh solo studio album, Choba B CCCP, was released in the Soviet Union on 31 October 1988.

Also known as The Russian Album, Choba B CCCP was initially released just in the USSR, but two years later was issued internationally. It came out on 30 September 1991 in the UK, and 29 October 1991 in the USA.

The album was a collection of cover versions, including several from the early years of rock ‘n’ roll. The songs dated from the 1940s to the 1960s, plus ‘Midnight Special’, a traditional folk song dating from the early 20th century.

Choba B CCCP (Russian Album) artwork: Paul Mccartney

The Soviet Union’s only record label, Melodiya, was granted permission to press 400,000 copies of Choba B CCCP. However, the label initially manufactured just 50,000 copies of the album, which originally contained 11 songs, two fewer than had originally been specified by McCartney’s company MPL.

The first pressings had a yellow rear cover and red Melodiya labels. The album went straight to the top of the Moskovsky Komsomolets chart.

In 1998 a second version of the album was released in the USSR, and saw the addition of two songs, ‘Summertime’ and ‘I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday’. Approximately 350,000 copies of the second pressing were made, which had white Melodiya labels and MPL logos, as well as a white rear cover with sleeve notes by McCartney and NME journalist Roy Carr.

Choba B CCCP was initially released only in the Soviet Union, and exported and bootleg copies became commonplace in other countries. MPL also imported a number of copies which were sold through the official Paul McCartney fan club, the only official outlet in the west.

Following the USSR’s collapse in 1991 the 13-track version of Choba B CCCP was released worldwide, on cassette tape and compact disc.

The album reached number 63 in the UK and 109 in the USA – its sales were likely hindered by dedicated McCartney fans having already bought imported versions.

The compact disc edition of the international release added a 14th song, ‘I’m In Love Again’, another song which had previously been released on the CD single ‘This One’.

Last updated: 29 September 2021
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