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1957, the year that changed Karel Gott's life

Karel Gott will celebrate his 80th birthday! How did his career start and what's next for him?

Jana Fikotová
30.Apr 2019
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1 minute to read
Karel Gott

The most important Czech singer, Karel Gott, was born in Pilsen on July 14, 1939 and his desire was to become a painter. The king of Czech pop music celebrates turning eighty this year! How did his career start?

Karel Gott with wife
Karel Gott in a fairy tale
Karel Gott

Karel Gott's first public appearance took place at the amateur competition Free Tribunes. It was the year 1957. He entered the competition thanks to a poster pinned in the ČKD canteen, under the name Karel Matějíček. He did not want his parents to know about his performance, they wished for Karel to become a proper craftsman.

Karel Gott, a.k.a. Karel Matějíček was the winner!

"I sang some western. I enriched the song with yodelling and scat singing, but I also imitated Ella Fitzgerald and Armstrong. I added grimaces and shamanic movements. I felt far less inhibition on stage than today. People were captivated more by the moves I did rather than singing… But my parents found out about the show and were not happy," Gott has said in the past.

In the end, however, it was his mother, who brought him the crucial application for a young singers competition the same year - titled "We are looking for new talent."

Luxusní byt na pronájem 197m2-Praha 5
Luxusní byt na pronájem 197m2-Praha 5, Praha 5

The jury wasn't impressed but...

"I was finishing my second year of ČKD Stalingrad. When I made it to the competition, I felt at home, because the musicians knew me as a passionate listener from Vltava and they were nice to me. I didn't win. However, after the competition, Karel Krautgartner came to me with an offer to sing with him on Vltava. That meant more to me than winning. Wednesdays on Vltava were reserved for visiting singers and for me they became "my Wednesdays". I was looking forward to Wednesdays all week, and I felt like the whole world belonged to me."

Birthday surprise for fans

The singer will celebrate his 80th birthday this year. He is preparing a book and a documentary with Olga Špátová. Both works are meant to commemorate his successful career in the music industry.

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