Strange hobby, escape from home and other facts from the life of the “Prague nightingale” Karel Gott
He was one of the few foreign performers who were listened to with pleasure in the Soviet Union. Concerts with his participation invariably gathered full halls, and the audience sang along with Karel Gott, godlessly distorting Czech words and not at all embarrassed by this. In July, the “Prague Nightingale” celebrated its 80th anniversary, and two months after the anniversary, he informed his fans about his terrible diagnosis. October 1, 2019 Karel Gott left this world.
Karel Gott was born in Pilsen in 1939 and has repeatedly said that if he had the right to choose the city of his birth, he would certainly be born in Pilsen. And not only because of its recognizable dialect, but also because of love … to the funeral, which, according to the performer, in this city was absolutely luxurious.
In early childhood, Karel experienced an inexplicable craving for funeral processions, and always accompanied the deceased from his house to the cemetery, where he waited until the priest finished his funeral speech. At the same time, the future singer sincerely sympathized with relatives and really wanted to comfort the crying, especially women and children.
Moreover, if for a long time no one was buried, the boy found a dead cat or pigeon and arranged a real funeral. He even tried to portray on the pipe something like a mourning march, rehearsing for a long time before this at home. Parents, quite understandably, did not share their son’s hobby, and relatives even doubted his normality.
For little Karel Gott, then there simply were no other hobbies: he was not attracted to football, and at the matches where he visited with his father, Karel simply missed. Children’s non-fiction books that dad specially purchased for his son were also ignored.
In the fourth grade, the famous singer, who at that time lived with his parents in Prague, made an attempt to conquer the north by running away from home with his school friend Olda. The fugitives were caught in the border strip near Tsinovce and, of course, returned home.
As a teenager, Karel Gott was seriously interested in painting, while the first picture he painted showed a magnificent funeral procession. The father did not approve of his son’s craving for fine art, but his mother brought him a wonderful album with reproductions of paintings by famous artists. Karel painstakingly redrawed these paintings, then began to go to the open air with an easel and dreamed of becoming a professional artist. After graduation, he entered the art institute, but did not pass the competition of 600 people for 30 places.
As a result, Karel Gott left to study in Cheb as an electrician for tram systems, a year later moved to Pilsen, and then returned to Prague, where he continued his studies. Already in Prague, the young man was seriously interested in music, and friends began to strongly advise him to connect his life with the stage, for the voice of young Karel really fascinated with its strength and beauty. Nevertheless, since 1957 he served as an electrician, but almost every evening he gave concerts as an amateur singer. In 1958, for the first time, he received an award for participating in the competition “Looking for New Talents”, held in the Prague Slavic House. Two years later, Karel Gott decided to change his profession and became a student at the conservatory in Prague, choosing opera singing as his specialization.
His take-off was swift, and success was truly phenomenal. Having started his professional career as a singer in the early 1960s, Karel Gott managed to receive several significant awards in the first decade, release his first albums, take a tour in the USA, and conquer Europe after returning. In the 1970s, the popularity of the artist reached its peak. He successfully performed in different countries, was one of the most famous performers in the Soviet Union and Germany. He won many awards, recorded a little less than two hundred discs, sang hundreds of songs, took part in the filming of thirteen films. The number of records sold all over the world by the Prague Nightingale amounts to thirty million.