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At the age of eighty, the idol of Czech, Austrian and German women Karel Gott died yesterday before midnight. In mid-September, he had reported that he was suffering from acute leukemia.

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In the fifty-plus years of his career, he released about three hundred records and recorded more than a thousand songs. Lady Carneval, Trezor, Kávu si osladím or Stokrát chválím čas will always belong to everyone's favorites.

The greatest Czech singer was born in Pilsen on July 14, 1939. He had a spark that couldn't be extinguished, which helped him win the heart of almost every woman; he was, still is and probably always will be loved across all generations. Unfortunately, his mischievous smile, charming personality and gentlemanly behavior will only be a memory for his fans from now on. Karel Gott was the perfect combination of everything a smart man should have. Forty-two Czech Nightingale Awards are proof of that.

Luxusní vila na prodej Praha 6 - Hanspaulka
Luxusní vila na prodej Praha 6 - Hanspaulka, Praha 6

How it all began

Karel Gott's first public performance took place at the amateur competition Volné tribuny (Free-for-All). The year was 1957. He entered the competition thanks to a poster that hung in the canteen of ČKD, a factory where he was working. He signed up under the name Karel Matějíček, because he did not want his parents, who wished for him to become a proper craftsman, to know about his performance.

“I sang a country song, which I enriched by yodeling and scat, and I also imitated Ella Fitzgerald and Armstrong. I even added grimaces and shamanic movements. I felt much less inhibition on stage than I do now. People let themselves be carried away by the monkey business I was doing rather than by my singing… But my parents did learn about my performance after all and they were not happy,” Gott admitted a long time ago.

In the end, however, it was his mother who brought him the fateful application for a young singers' competition - Hledáme nové talenty (Search for New Talents) in that very same year.

The jury wasn't impressed, but...

“I was finishing my second year of apprenticeship at ČKD Stalingrad. When I arrived at the competition, I felt right at home, because the musicians knew me as a passionate listener from the Vltava café and were nice to me. I didn't win. But Karel Krautgartner came to me after the competition with an offer to sing with his orchestra in Vltava. That meant more to me than winning. Wednesdays in Vltava were reserved for guest singers and they soon became "my Wednesdays" for me. I was looking forward to Wednesday all week long and felt like the whole world belonged to me.”

Maestro, the whole world belonged to you not only on those Wednesdays...

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