Conway Twitty Once Re-Recorded “Hello Darlin'” In Russian To Be Played In Outer Space

Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty

Women went wild for Conway Twitty, so surely the Russians would too, right?

The country crooner racked up 55 #1 singles over the course of his 40+ year career, and was well known for his…well, horny love songs. With songs like “I See The Want To In Your Eyes,” “I’d Love To Lay You Down” and “Slow Hand,” Conway certainly had a way of winning over the ladies with his smooth voice.

So naturally, if you’re trying to make friends with the Russians, who better to present to them than…Conway Twitty?

Well that was astronaut Thomas Stafford’s thinking back in 1975 when he served as commander on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first crewed international space mission.

During the mission, the American crew on the Apollo spacecraft would dock with the Russian crew of the Soyuz capsule while orbiting Earth, shake hands, and exchange gifts – an event that would be televised worldwide as a symbol of the thawing of the Cold War.

Well Stafford was from Oklahoma, so when he was thinking of a gift to present the Russians, he turned to his fellow Oklahoma native and country star Conway Twitty.

The astronaut wanted to present his Russian counterparts with cassette tapes of Conway’s music, so he called up the singer to see if he would be interested in recording them. Of course Twitty thought it was a joke at first, but he eventually agreed. And then someone suggested that he re-record one of his biggest hits, “Hello Darlin’,” in Russian.

Conway was up for the challenge – but of course, he didn’t speak Russian. So the crooner enlisted the help of a professor at the University of Oklahoma to help him translate the song:

“When I discovered it was for real, I immediately got busy…Fortunately I found Prof. Gurij Chemelev at Oklahoma University to teach me enough Russian to get by.”

The Russian title translated to “Privet Radost,” and Conway recalled in his autobiography the struggles he had with getting it right in the studio with his mentor:

“So he came down to the studio and he sat on a stool right there beside me. I thought it would take maybe an hour. But it took a long time. The professor would say No, no, no, when I got the accent wrong.

Having told me that the title translated into ‘Privet Radost’ in Russian, first problem was that I’d say the words softly and he would shout more no-nos at me. We went around and around, and it took him forever to understand that you don’t just holler ‘Privet Radost’ at a woman.

Well once he got the song on tape, Stafford set out on his mission with Conway Twitty in hand to present to the Russians. And Conway recalled watching the moment play out on TV:

“A short time later I was out in L.A. doing a show, and I was back in the dressing room watching Walter Cronkite. On this particular day all the astronauts and cosmonauts were up there in the same space capsule. The camera was focusing on them, and out the window you could see the earth spinning below…

All of a sudden, the talking stopped and the song started playing: ‘Privet Radost.’ That song was played in Russian all around the world. I don’t know how many millions of people heard it–the only time anything like that had ever happened! It was a tremendous experience.”

No word on whether Conway managed to charm the Russian astronauts as much as he charmed the American women…

The whole thing is a pretty wild story in country music – but just goes to show you the impact that country music has had all around the world.

Check out the story below from our friend Dillon Weldon:

@dillon.weldon Conway Twitty, Russians and Outer Space! #conwaytwitty #nasa #russia #space #apollo #countrymusic #foryou #fyp ♬ Hello Darlin’ – Conway Twitty

And if you want to hear the Russian version of “Hello Darlin’,” (or “Privet Radost), Conway released the song as a special edition single that’s available in his The Conway Twitty Collection box set.

And of course, the version we all know and love.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock