Not once did Karel Gott try to be kind to him. Even in his first, artistically best years, he was always far from the departure of the '68 movement: his hits, his entertainment were housebroken, absolutely anti-experimental - but professional and success-oriented.
Karel Gotts idol was more Frank Sinatra than any songwriter could have ever been: vocally it would have been a waste - for, as his image, "Golden voice from Prague".
Born on July 14, 1939, in Bohemian Pilsen, which was occupied by Nazi Germany, the young Karel Gott actually wanted to become a painter, but turned his back on his talent early on, but singing. He recorded his first records after studying singing at the Prague Conservatory for three years.
15 picturesA musician's life: Karel, God of the Schlager
His first single was released in 1963: a Czech version of Henri Mancini's theme song from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany, Moon River. Karel Gott became known overnight in his homeland as a man for the certain enamel, for a timbre that did not sound like Bohemian-Moravian dumpling-humtata, but seemed to breathe internationality, beyond the borders of the Iron Curtain.
Czechoslovakia itself was a country on the move, a laboratory in which many wanted to free themselves from the harsh grip of socialism. In the summer of 1968, Czechoslovakia was crushed by the tanks of Soviet socialism, draconian. This is the background against which to understand the rise of Karel Gotts in the free West.
In 1967, the singer represented his country at the music fair Midem in Cannes and not only won the trophy of the most convincing performer, but also the attention of the Munich music manager Hans R. Beierlein.
With "Do you know where?" (1967, German version of the song to the box office hit "Dr. Schiwago"), "Lady Carneval" (1969) or "Once around the whole world" (1970) Karel Gott became one of the heroes of the German Schlagerwesens. He had, in the eyes of Beierlein, "just the right pinch of exoticism through his Czech accent, he had, like Udo Jürgens, that certain charisma that women like very much, and he could sing excellently and did not seem like an amateur on stage. He was a master. "
Experience as a gap filler in Las Vegas
It was also Beierlein who let Karel Gott - for Austria - compete in the Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson. His song "A Thousand Windows", written by Udo Jürgens, ended up as "further sang", but the presence on international television fulfilled its purpose: Karel Gott was a guest in many shows in numerous European countries. Even before his breakthrough in Germany, he had gained experience as a filler in Las Vegas shows.
Karel Gott told the "taz" in 2006: "I wanted to be successful, I want to be admired by women, and it's like this: If I want to conquer a good-looking woman, I have to be a successful man." Karel Gott - that was also a life always untouched by current gender discourses.
This man, whose fanbase consisted of ninety percent of women beyond teenage years, was always in Prague, or wherever he lived, always facing the female gender in diversity. Because, God says: "I am tenor, and tenor is the most popular voice of the man." The woman wants to hear the man in the larch position sing, because that is the preparation for more. "
He was a guest in all important TV high offices, was almost included in the inventory of Peter Frankenfeld's "music is trumps", Vico Torriani's "The Golden Shot", often at the Peter Alexander shows or Rudi Carrell's "On the Line". He was in the most popular magazine "The Golden Voice of Prague".
Only obliged to the public
But to move to the Federal Republic? He considered it after the Prague Spring in the certainty of finding a dictatorship of the mausoleum in his homeland. He renounced this step, "the home remains home, because in Czech I can express myself best".
That would not have angered him the partly emigrated opposition of his homeland. Probably, however, that Karel Gott signed a party-issued appeal against the Charta 77 group - just when he changed in Germany with the song of the "Bee Maja" Schnulzier to Bierzeltsänger. Whether he did it heartily or out of pure will, not through political dissidence to get any more performances? Karel Gott has never really explained this.
But when in 2009 he was awarded a medal by the Czech President Václav Klaus for the services rendered to his country, Karel Gott responded to criticism of this honor angrily: by stinky fingers in the current cameras of the TV Prima channel. The fat post-socialist discourses on discourse were never Karel Gotts thing. He gladly declared himself an apolitical artist who was only obliged to the public.
The time had passed over him in the last decades anyway. In 2000, he recorded the Alphaville hit "Forever Young" (a "forever young") smart - a version that in 2008 was the basis for a hit with Bushido. The song is an aesthetic principle of hope - without the proud tearfulness of all "My Way" epigones.
Karel Gott was diagnosed with malignant cancer in October 2015; later he claimed to have survived her. In May of this year he recorded a new duet with his 13-year-old daughter. Now the singer, who has entered the song of the bee Maja in the German children's song canon, has died. He was 80 years old.