“The Golden Voice Of Prague”, “Sinatra of the East”, “Golden Nightingale”, “Singer of the Century” or “Messenger of the Good News” – Those are some of the qualities attributed to Karel Gott, the King of Czech pop music. He’s one of the greatest performers ever on the Czech musical scene, both traditional and modern, and at the same time one of the greatest non-anglophone pop stars in the world. On the popular music scene we can hardly find any artist as popular for such a long time – and in this respect Karel Gott is an absolutely exceptional phenomenon…
Karel Gott started his professional career in the Prague Dance-Cafés in 1957. The first records he made was in 1960 (in English) and his first great hit was recorded in 1963. Since then, nearly 50 years have passed, and he still enjoys great popularity as a singer of all generations, towering above time and fashion trends. In the popularity polls conducted over the years he wins the very best places since 1963 up to the present day.
Karel Gott has mastered the art of universal artist, excelling at an extraordinary spectrum of genres, though perhaps he is especially known for his schlager hits and romantic cantilenas. What consist so extraordinary success of his career in? He was able to combine his great, strong and brillant tenor with his perfectly mastered and skilled singing, his musical feeling, professionality, ambition, self-discipline, charisma, even spontaneous power of expression and genre changes to sing nearly anything, including opera arias, classical chansons, national and folklore songs, rock, jazz, swing, rock’n’roll, traditional arrangements, musicals, modern pop and country.
He’s performed in all countries across Europe (except Albania and Scandinavia), and also in North and South America, Asia and Australia. He´s gained the hearts and respect of milions of faithful fans in Europe and even in America or Japan (although he’s less well-known there). But he has been the favourite star in all German-speaking countries since the second half of 60’s, as well as in Benelux and Eastern Europe, and since the early 60’s in Czechoslovakia (since 1993 Czech Republic and Slovakia). Karel Gott has literally grown into an idol and even a symbol of an age, when the world was not globalized, but divided by the Iron Curtain. In this “mine field” between two political regimes he became a superstar of all generations, a fixed star and one of the greatest legends of European pop music. Karel Gott performed in hundreds of TV shows, his own ones or as a special guest (Gilbert Bécaud Show, Nashville Country Music Festival, Europarty, Rudi Carell Show, James Last Show, Ein Kessel Buntes) all over the world. He´s also a record breaker in the number of recordings he’s made – he has recorded over 130 original new albums, and there are countless numbers of compilations as well.
There are no precise statistics regarding the number of records he’s sold, however it may be more than 100 million copies in total (from this far over 50 million LP-records). In the Czech Republic and Slovakia alone he has sold about 15 million LP-records (in return for that was the only artist to receive the Diamand Record from the main Czech record label Supraphon Records). That’s a record for the Guiness Book of Records, because no other artist has sold so many records in their native country maybe, inclusive of the greatests English-speaking superstars.(Roughly ever single Czech owns at least one of his records).
Karel Gott has recieved many awards, including more than 50 Diamond, Platinum, Golden and Silver Records for being the most successful artist of Supraphon, Мелодия, Polydor, Philips, PolyGram and Universal at the time, as well as other record publishers. He cooperates with many musical publishers in Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan. His records came out almost all over the Europe, from Portugal to Russia, and also in United States and Canada. Amongst the languages he has sung in are French, Hebrew, Latin, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Roma (Gypsy), Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, and Slovakian, but his most famous albums were recorded in German and Czech, though some English, Russian and Italian records topped the charts as well.