I actually find this video kind of amusing. It does have that “early era of television” feel to it, though it’s actually from 1976 (then again, it was filmed in the Soviet Union). I’m posting the sing-along version, with all the lyrics (as it were, there are no words in this song), and it definitely adds to the fun.
Here’s a bit more on Khil’s performance from TIME:
The song’s original lyrics spoke of an idealistic scene in which a cowboy was riding his horse across the prairie, daydreaming of his wife back home knitting stockings, but the lyrics were thought to be too pro-Western for Soviet censors. While it’s not known if the lyrics were banned outright, Khil and composer Arkady Ostrovsky decided to strip the lyrics in favor of the wordless “vokaliz” style, which led to the catchy rendition so readily available on YouTube, augmented by Khil’s wooden gestures and plastic smile. Needing something to call it, the video clip’s 21st century purveyors settled on “Trololo,” mirroring the yodeling that emerged from Mr. Khil’s mouth (or would have, had he not been lip-synching).
While the song attracted little attention upon its original rendition, the powers of the Internet took over 34 years later to rejuvenate the tune. And now, people across the world are mourning the loss of a Russian singer who faded into obscurity more than 30 years ago.
And fortunately for Mr. Khil, the Internet never forgets.
He clearly had a good voice. And died last year. But dear Lord, what a video.