1921 – The White Soldiers

Photo: Panton

In the series Hit of the Century we present one hundred songs that made history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. They were either widely popular, important during crucial times in the Republic’s history or won the hit parade of the year.

Photo: Panton
We continue with the year 1921.

It was the period in which the Czech cabaret the Red Seven was experiencing its greatest prosperity. In October of 1921, the cabaret moved into the wine cellar of the Municipal House in Prague. The repertoire, which was a mix of songs, couplets and played out scenes became the predecessor for small-scale theaters. The young group of intellectuals was trying to respond to life’s problems in an entertaining "recessive" form.

The leading members of the Red Seven included the songwriter and satirist Charley Balling. The trained chemist was a big fan of cabaret. He later used his experience on the stage as the Director of the Copyright Protection Association. To this day, Balling's name and the Red Seven repertoire are connected to a marching song from 1921, called the White Soldiers.

On February 15th, the first Czechoslovak census took place.

On July 28th, Adolf Hitler became the first president of the NSDAP.

On September 26th, President Masaryk appointed the 5th Czechoslovak government, that of Edvard Beneš.

and on October 12th, the tennis champion, ice hockey player and Wimbledon winner Jaroslav Drobný was born.

And what is this song about? It tells the story of soldiers staying in a Czech village to practice military maneuvers, where they proceed to fascinate the local girls.

The 1960’s female vocal group the Inkognito Quartet, sadly only sang two stanzas about the informative tale. Regarding the third verse of the original song, the ladies were strangely silent. Therefore, let me give you at least a verbal quote from the song. The story of the smitten girls goes as follows (quote): "In the year following the departure of the eighth regiment... ten virgin diapers are washed, and ironed, twenty virgins look around through teary blue eyes, thirty virgins have little baby soldiers to rock to sleep. Only the grandmother, she's happy, that she's already sixty..."- The soldiers were smart, but there is more about that in Balling's actual song:

Hit of the Century – Voting Rules

Each Sunday, participants will be able to vote in our new series Hit of the Century, covering 100 years of music in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Each episode will feature five hit songs, by decade, beginning with 1918 – 1928. After 100 songs are broadcast, two semi-finals will decide the top hits from the period of 1918 – 1968 and from 1968 – 2018.

Six songs will reach the final, in which listeners will choose a single winner: the most popular Czech song of the century,

Ten participants will receive CDs of the most successful songs recorded in a new musical arrangement on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia in October of 1918.