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Jazz on bones

In the 1950s and 60s, foreign music was censored in the Soviet Union. So bootleggers made illegal records out of old X-ray film: the jazz on bones.

Old x-ray images were scavenged or stolen from hospitals and home-brewed machines etched music onto them. Jazz, the Beatles, Elvis, and other forbidden Western artists were popular choices, apparently. The flimsy flexible film did not last for many plays, but if you’re living under constant censorship I suppose any outlet is worth it.

This is not even the oddest material used to make a record. Some American companies printed working records onto cereal boxes – like the jazz on bones they only worked a few times before (presumably) disintegrating. Mad Magazine once issued a cardboard record as well. The country of Bhutan once printed functional records onto postage stamps. They played the national anthem, folk tunes, and a little history of the country.

Categories: Arts Asia Europe History Modern history Music Places Politics & law

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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