Dobry vecher! Guten Abend! Comrades, be upstanding for Kaaaaarel Gotttttt!!!!! To some he's a geriatric crooner who won't retire, but to others he's a heartthrob with a voice of gold.In the 1960s and 70s, Gott was the undisputed pop prince of Mitteleuropa and he's now a Czech institution. If you've never heard of the Gottmeister, here are a few things you should know about him.
Privet! Oh, for a revival in 70s Soviet graphic design
As the Eastern Bloc's premier pop sensation, Gott was so valuable to the Czechoslovakian regime (He once joked that his record sales exceeded his country's annual GDP), that in the early 1960s, when he left to live in West Germany, Communist party secretary Gustav Husak sent him a grovelling letter begging him to return. Some years later, in 1985, Gott was finally rewarded for his loyalty by being made Czechoslovakia's 'National Artist,' thus becoming state property.
The pop prince of Prague enjoyed privileges unknown to most CSSR citizens. He was allowed to tour the world, earning heaps of hard currency and a big female following wherever he went. His heart-on-sleeve songs did particularly well in continental Europe, where Schmalz only means cooking fat. Gott was especially popular in that Mecca of taste, West Germany, where he contributed significantly to the repairing of post-war Czech-German relations by getting the Deutsche Hausfrauen mighty hot unter der collar.
Bonny Prinz Karel: Gott seduces West Germany
Milan Kundera: Unlikely to know the words to 'Lady Carnival'
In 1968's Grand Prix, Gott represented Austria with the woeful 'Tausend Fenster.' He was awarded nil points by everyone except Spain, whose judges generously gave him 2, possibly because he'd also entered a Spanish song. But then again, this was the year in which Cliff Richard's dreadful 'Congratulations' came second in the contest.
Gott help us: Karel steels himself for a Grand Prix crash
Sadly, in 2009, Gottland was forced to close, due to 'financial difficulties.'
Gottland: When it comes to selling himself, Gott's no dummy
During the concert, Gott brushed bri-nylon with imperialist singers such as Juliette Greco, and commie fave, Tony Christie. It was also kitted out with interpreter headsets for the audience, handy, had Karel slipped into one of his 6 trillion other languages.
Berlin's now vanished icon of retro-groovy architecture: The Palast der Republik
Gott was a was a hot ticket in the GDR, whose cultural officials carefully ensured that most decent pop acts were prevented from entering the country. In 1987, when Gott performed during the 750th anniversary of Berlin celebrations, there were so many flowers thrown on stage, he had to stop his act so that three people could come up and clear them off. Top that, Justin Bieber!
"Eeeeiiiiiiih! Karel, wir lieben Dich!" The East Germans prepare to rush the show
Just look at these:
Gott's best tunes:
1. Trezor. Enthusiastic, manic Czech rock 'n' roll at it's best. Check out the yodelling bits!
2. All the Russki tunes.
3. Tam, Kad Chodi Vtra spat. Ahhhh- aaaahhhhhhh-eeiiiiie!
4. Lady Carnival. A Tom Jones-esque mega-hitovi in the 1970s.
5. Vit. Insanely cheerful.