Alexander Rosenbaum was born into a medical family in Leningrad on Sept. 13, 1951. He qualified as a doctor, but became one of Russia’s most famous bards, or singing poets, best known for his so-called blatnaya pesnya songs about criminal subculture.
His most popular songs are “Gop-Stop,” about two gangsters executing an unfaithful lover, and “Vals Boston,” or the Boston Waltz.
Rosenbaum’s parents sent him to music lessons after school as a child just because it was seen as being part of a good education, but his grandmother spotted his talent immediately and told people he was exceptional. One of them was her neighbor, well-known guitarist Mikhail Minin. He taught the young Rosenbaum his first guitar chords.
A few years later Rosenbaum went to see a jazz group for the first time. The pianist invited him to play along with him and the young man was hooked on music for life.
When he was still a student Rosenbaum started writing songs for student plays, but very soon he began performing as a singer-songwriter. After he graduated in 1974, he worked as an emergency room doctor for almost six years. But music occupied all his free time and he eventually decided to make it his career.
In 1980, Rosenbaum left medicine and began performing on the professional stage. He played in the Leningrad rock band Pulse, was the director of the Six Young ensemble and performed with the Singing Guitars group. However, he became famous for his Odessa songs, telling stories of the life of a mafioso from the city.
During the Soviet-Afghan War, Rosenbaum played in Afghanistan for Soviet soldiers. And in February 2016, he performed a concert in front of the Russian military at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria.
Since 2000, Rosenbaum has been one of the hosts of the Russian national award ceremony Vocation, which recognizes the best doctors in Russia.
The singer was also a deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Culture from 2004-2007.
Rosenbaum has written more than 850 songs and released 33 albums.