Mr. Trololo Eduard Khil Dies
Published: June 6, 2012 (Issue # 1711)
ALEXANDER BELENKY / SPT
International Internet sensation Eduard Khil died Monday in St. Petersburg.
Eduard Khil was a beloved Soviet crooner who won sudden international stardom two years ago when a 1976 video of him singing “trololo” instead of the song’s censored words became a global Internet hit.
Khil, best known as Mr. Trololo, died Monday at age 77.
He had been hospitalized in St. Petersburg since a stroke in early April that left him with severe brain damage. The stroke was the cause of his death, said Tatyana Mamedova of Petersburg-Kontsert, which organized Khil’s concerts.
Khil was a top Soviet performer during the 1960s and the 1970s, but his star faded in the 1980s as musical tastes changed and the Soviet Union opened up to the West.
In 2010, a video of him performing “I Am Glad, ‘Cause I’m Finally Returning Home” in 1976 was uploaded onto YouTube and quickly got more than 2 million hits.
The music was written by well-known Soviet composer Arkady Ostrovsky, but the original lyrics were about a cowboy riding across a prairie while his sweetheart knitted stockings for him, a sentimental view of America that didn’t sit well with Soviet censors during the Cold War.
Khil said in an interview that he was told to change the words if he wanted to perform the song, so he sang a vocalized version that came out sounding like “trololo.” It was an original approach that did not seem to attract much attention at the time or inspire others to follow his example.
The crooner recalled that it was his grandson who first told him about his new international fame: “Grandad, your song has become a hit again, I saw it on the Internet!”
Mikhail Sadchikov, a St. Petersburg journalist and musical critic who knew Khil personally, said the singer reacted to his sudden fame with irony.
“From his grandson he learned that T-shirts and mugs with his image had become available in the West, and he joked that he never earned a kopeck from them,” Sadchikov said Monday. “He was also very optimistic, positive and ironic at the same time.”
He will be buried at the Smolenkskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg. The time of the service has not been set.