In the middle of last year I was in Paris, and an accordian-playing busker came onto the metro train I was travelling on, and started playing a bit of catchy music that I thought I had heard somewhere before.
After a but of careful humming, my phone's "SoundHound" app identified it for me as being a track called "Those were the days".
Originally written by a Russian, it has been covered by at least 15 artists in several countries, mainly during the 1960's and 70's, but particularly by Mary Hopkin, who in 1968 made it world famous, getting to number 1 in the UK charts.
Downloading a few of the versions onto my phone to listen to, I thought I would lose interest in it after a few days, but no my interest has only continued to grow.
Now I have completed a project to download all 50 versions of the track that I can find, and upload them to YouTube as a single file, with links to each in the text description here. Yes I could have used a "playlist" to link them, but I didn't think of that until I'd done most of the work!
Starting with the famous Mary Hopkin version, the following versions are the efforts of big names at the time, such as Dolly Parton (my favourite version), The Three Tenors, Bing Crosby, and even Vera Lynn.
After around 25 English language versions, the second group of versions is from foreign language singers, all the way from Argentina to Japan.
The third section is Russian language versions, based on the fact that Russia was the originating country of the music (though not the lyrics).
And finally a few purely instrumental versions.
Below is a list of each of the 50 items, and you can click on the time shown in blue font to jump straight to them if you like.
With each is the link to the Youtube video where I downloaded the song from, and if you are the uploader for one of these links, and you want me to remove it, then send me a message and I'll try to remove it.
1_1. Mary Hopkin: 0:00
2_2. Dolly Parton: 5:03
3_3. The Three Tenors: 9:33
4_4. Bing Crosby: 11:52
5_5. Vera Lynn: 17:14
6_6. Englebert Humperdinck: 21:28
7_29. Bonnie Tyler: 26:18
8_15. Sandie Shaw: 28:38
9_19. Liam Clancy (Irish singer): 32:39
10_36 Darby Walker (The Voice 2016): 38:22
11_21. Cynthia Lennon: 40:26
12_18. Turisas (Finnish heavy metal): 44:09
13_12. Leningrad cowboys: 48:15
14_20. The Limelighters: 52:36
15_17. Rossi Kirilova (Bulgaria): 55:52
16_8. 5th Dimension: 1:00:41
17_32. Yulia Live At Chambord Castle: 1:03:48
18_33. Sons of Maxwell (Canadian): 1:06:40
19_34. Robert Goulet: 1:11:21
20_11. Hermes House Band: 1:16:36
22_42. Jessica Lee Morgan: 1:24:52
23_43. Raindimple: 1:30:44
24_46. Alexandra: 1:35:30
25_49. Kyle Buckley: 1:38:32
Start of foreign language versions (non Russian):
26_9. Dalida le temps des fleurs (in French): 1:42:06
27_13. Päivi Paunu (Finnish): 1:46:07
28_28. Quelli eran giorni (Gigliola Cinquetti) (Italian): 1:50:16
29_31. Niizuma Seiko - Japanese: 1:55:27
30_41. Gelu - Qué tiempo tan feliz Spanish: 1:57:40
31_45. Teresa Teng: 2:01:43
32_47. TORMENTA - Aquellos Fueron Los Días: 2:05:39
33_16. Halina Kunicka (Polish): 2:09:00
Start of Russian language versions
34_22. Alexander Vertinsky - Dorogoi dlinnoyu - By the long road (original 1926 version): 2:13:12
35_10. True Symphonic Rockestra (Russian): 2:16:12
36_7. Nikolay Baskov (in Russian I think): 2:19:33
37_23. Nani Bregvadze. Dorogoy dlinnoyu: 2:23:20
39_25. A.Malinin: 2:31:00
41_27. Yana Gray - Russian: 2:40:36
42_30. Manca Izmajlova: 2:44:03
44_37. Alexandrov Red Army Choir (2007): 2:51:03
Start of instrumental (non singing) versions
45_14. Paul Mauriat - French: 2:55:48
46_44. - Boston Pops Orchestra: 2:58:42
47_48. Sumanta Basu on Harmonica: 3:03:19
48_50. GIOVANNI MARRADI: 3:08:30
49_40. Vladimir and Anton: 3:10:38
50_39. Tamer Sharaf: 3:13:20