Today’s Google Doodle marks what would have been the 83rd birthday of Eduard Anatolyevich Khil, the Russian singing sensation who emerged from obscurity in 2009 when a vintage clip of him performing on Swedish TV from 1976 resurfaced on YouTube and immediately went viral.
Khil was wryly amused by his late dawning celebrity in the West when he was notified of it by his 13-year-old grandson, Eduard Jr, and spent many happy hours watching fan tributes from across the world online.
A great star during the Brezhnev era, Khil found himself deeply unfashionable following the collapse of the Soviet Union as the newborn Russian Federation was flooded with Western music, regarded as a relic by the younger generation and as a puppet of the old regime by their elders.
Khil’s booming baritone led him to win the All Russian Competition for Performers in 1962 and take second place in the Sopot International Song Festival in 1965.
Khil performed in more than 80 countries over the course of his career, representing the might of the USSR through song.
Beloved though he was in his heyday, Khil was no stranger to Soviet censorship.