1969 - 52nd Segment: “Lady Carnival”

Photo: Polydor

In this series we present 100 songs which have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. On Czech Radio’s web pages you can find a poll, in which you can vote for the best hit from the past century. We look forward to your vote! We continue with the year 1969.


On January 16th, student Jan Palach set himself on fire in an act of self-immolation on Wenceslas Square in Prague to protest the suppression of freedom stemming from the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. He died on January 19th.

On February 25th, student Jan Zajíc committed suicide by self-immolation on Wenceslas Square.

On August 25th, the production of the car Škoda 100 was launched in Mladá Boleslav.

Karel Gott is the long-time star of Czechoslovak popular music. He has won dozens of annual popularity polls, such as Český slavík (The Czech Nightingale), as well as many international awards.

Music publisher Leo Jehne wrote that Gott was the first Czech singer to perform with outstanding musicality, wide-ranging music and great technical equipment, making him famous even abroad. In 1968, Gott asked composer Karel Svoboda and lyricist Jiří Štaidl to write a song with which he could compete at a major song festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Photo: Polydor
Years ago Karel Svoboda reminisced, saying that: “We bought a bottle, we drank and we were having a nice time. Suddenly Jirka uttered two words: ‘Lady Carnival.’ I sat down to the piano and it was done in ten minutes. It is a world hit, because the melody has a powerful passage that will be forever ingrained in your memory. It even has a strong slogan, which acts as an emotional trigger.”

The song was triumphant in the Rio music festival. Since the success of that first collaboration of both Karels, they worked together on another eighty significant songs, but Lady Carnival stands out as something special.

Vote for the best song of the century!