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Karel Gott | Biography

Karel Gott (2006)

Karel Gott, the most famous Czech singer, the king of pop music, who's name has been decorated already for four decades by the attribute "The golden voice of Prague" or "Sinatra of the East", is one of the biggest legends of the czech musical history, and that in both modern, as well as classical music. At the same time he's one of the most important non-anglophone interpreters of popmusic worldwide scene. Even his popularity has been unbelievable, it has reach actually all the generations and it has been lasting without any bigger swings or breaks for more than 40 years. At the field of this music genre we would rather hardly find similar comparisons - in this directions he's a true phenomenon.

Karel Gott was born on 14. 7. 1939 in Pilsen, the capital of West Bohemia ("Gott" is his real surname, no "Gottar" as some sources mention). He wanted always to become a painter and after having left the ground school, he tried to study the art of painting but he did not succeed. After he has not passed, he went to study to become an electrician. During the study years, he has sticked to his other big love - music and singing. During the 50s he has occassionally performed at the same time as singer - amateur and he's participated at several singing contests. He has drawn the attention to his person for the first time already in 1957, which means during the time of the fading swing era in Europe. He has flopped in the jury's opinion, but nevertheless he has been offered an exceptional proposal of an engagement in Prague dance cafés, where the best czech orchestras (eg. Karel Krautgartner) have been playing at that time. Beside his job he has managed to perform as half-professional singer as well.

In 1957, he wins the first spot in amateur singer contest, but first in 1959 he decides to leave the job definitively and he sticks at professional niveau to the singing only. At the Prague conservatory he studies until 1963 opera singing at the professor Karenin (the student of the most famous russian singer of all times - Saljapin) and until 1966 he continues to study externally. But the first real success do not come so fast - he wakes mixed and controverse feelings in the audience - it gets hardly used to his show, which is completely different from the usual trends in the current dance music, which still stands in the shadow of the old times at the beginning of the 60s in Europe. First the era of twist and beat in 1962 has brought a new life to the european pop music, from this era many stars and small stars have risen, even though most of them has been forgotten in the course of time. But this was also a chance, which even Karel Gott has been waiting for…

In 1962 Karel Gott has been offered an engagement at the most famous, by that time still new, Prague music theatre "Semafor", which was one of the other theatres, that have been estimating the development of the modern pop music in Bohemia. And especially this fact has meant the fundamental break in the career of Karel Gott. Already during this year, thanks to his duett "When we get twice as old" with one of the most important jazz female singers Vlasta Průchová, he has won the national radio chart. In 1963 has his song Snow-drift-eyes, from the songwriter workshop of Semafor, become a true dynamite when it has been announced as the absolutely biggest hit of the year. With many further hits, Karel Gott finds himself for the first time at the absolute top and he has been announced as the most popular singer in the national public polls "The Golden Nightingale '63", which means a true rocket start for Karel Gott.

In 1965, after having left Semafor, Karel Gott grounds together with his new co-workers the Štaidl brothers songwriter Jiří and the compositor and musician Ladislav his own theatre scene Apollo and he becomes its main star until 1967, when the theatre has been solved and Karel Gott leaves for a 7-month long engagement into the USA (Las Vegas). Hereby the period of the 60s ends and the period of the beginnings of Karel Gott as well, the time which has been larded by a whole range of hits.

At the end of the 60s, the era of small music theatres, where the czech modern music has been born, is gone, their biggest fame has disappeared. After the period of rock'n'roll, twist and beat, a new style is rising, called the "mainstream". From the USA, a new, rather exchanged Karel Gott comes back, the rather unsure, modest young boy is gone. The truly new Karel Gott is coming, a complete and self-confident professional. After the huge success in the USA, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, where his first (and already a golden one) album is released and when his name is starting to be decorated with the decorating attribute "The golden voice of Prague", he starts to work with full verve with new projects. Again, we become witnesses of one hit bigger than another, now the time of the famous "Lady Carneval" is here…

During the 70s and 80s, the star way of Karel Gott continues, lined by tens of the most important prizes, gold, silver, diamant and platina records, which he collects like it was on "an endless band", including the prices for the most popular singer in the public pull "The golden Nightingale". He performs in top form at the domestic scene, as well as elsewhere in Europe, in the USA, in Asia, he travels from one side of the world to the other, he expands his repertoire to practically all the genres, from pop, over the folk songs to classical music. He releases one hit after the other, one album follows the other, so do the TV shows, but he even appears in some full-length pictures, played as well as documentaries.

In the middle of the 80s, the popularity of Karel Gott reaches the top and culminates, at the domestic scene for the first time, there is a growing huge competition in the form of young singers, which only for a short period manages to break his period of his reign, and at the end of the 80s fades the competition into the background. Many of them have been forgotten and Karel stands on the top again. In 1989 he celebrates his 50th birthday and slowly becomes a singer in years, who has passed the best and who does not strive to achieve at any price to reach the first spots in the charts of the young, on the contrary he prefers a more careful and decent choice of repertoire before fame.

In 1990, he decides to finish his career and he arranges a huge farewell tour in sport halls. But the success of this tour has been so huge that he re-values his decision. During the 90s he sticks at his second big love more and more, the painting - he exhitbits exceptionally successully his paintings as well (in Prague, Berlin, Moscow, Budapest, Cologne, Bratislava). In the renewed public inquiry "The golden Nightingale", (since 1996 "The Czech Nightingale") he wons in 1996 again with huge headstart the first spot again and he keeps this spot until nowadays (2006). The whole decade of the successful 90s has been topped by the famous concert in Saudi Arabia and in China in front of 600 millions of viewers of the Grand Prix d'Eurovision and at the Carnegie Hall in New York.

He follows his former successes even nowadays and he wins new fans even among the youngest generation, in a time when the old legends stay and new have not been born yet..

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