Igor Korchilov was the chief English interpreter for the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the talks with America which ended the Cold War. He never studied English at school but when he was working as a DJ as a young man, somebody brought an Elvis Presley record to him. "The crowd went absolutely wild, writhing and wriggling," Korchilov, who was nearly fired for playing it, remembered, "I was so taken by this music that I wanted to find out what those rock lyrics were about and one day I decided to start learning English. On January 7, 1960, I sat down on the cot in my six-by-nine room, pulled up the wooden stool that served as my desk, opened a textbook and tried to read lesson one out loud." Thirty years later, he was helping to shape history.
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