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Ivan Král (born May 12, 1948, in Prague) is a Czech-born American composer, filmmaker, record producer, bass guitar player, and singer-songwriter.[1] He works across genres including punk, rock, jazz, soul, country and film scores. His songs have been recorded by such artists as U2, Pearl Jam, Téléphone,[2] Patti Smith,[3] Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Simple Minds, First Aid Kit, and John Waite, among others.

Ivan Král
Ivan Kral (2011).jpg
Ivan Kral (2011)
Background information
Born (1948-05-12) May 12, 1948 (age 71)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
GenresRock, pop, jazz, alternative rock, protopunk, ambient, electronic
Occupation(s)Guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, filmmaker, bassist, pianist, vocalist
InstrumentsGuitar, piano, keyboards, bass, vocals, cello
Years active1966–present
LabelsArista, PolyGram, Universal, Chrysalis, Sony, BMG, Supraphon, Warner Music
Associated actsPatti Smith, Blondie, Iggy Pop, John Cale
Czech: Lucie, Alice, Jiri Suchy, Aneta Langerová, Mnaga A Zdorp, Miro Zbirka, Triny, Vsichni Svati, Alias [cs], Janek Ledecky, Pavel Bobek, Lenka Filipova, Jaromir Klempir, Debbi,

Early lifeEdit

Ivan Král moved to the United States in 1966 as a refugee from Czechoslovakia with his parents, who were diplomats. His father Dr. Karel Kral, a reporter at the United Nations, brought worldwide attention to the pending Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and publicly denounced the action,[4] subsequently deciding not to return.[5] Král had refugee status until 1981 when he obtained US citizenship.

Early career and The Patti Smith GroupEdit

Král's American music career began during the early 1970s glam rock scene in New York. His band, Luger,[6] which also featured drummer Shayne Harris,[7] performed at venues including Max's Kansas City,[8] and opened for Kiss at the early shows at the Hotel Diplomat in 1973.[9] After their breakup in 1973, he joined Shaun Cassidy's backing group, then Blondie,[10] then Patti Smith, then Iggy Pop.

Between 1975 and 1979, Král was co-writer, guitarist and bassist of the Patti Smith Group on her first four albums; including debut, Horses (1975), named one of the All-Time 100 Greatest Albums by Time magazine in 2006.[11][12] The album is in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress, for recordings considered "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[13]

His work also appears on other Smith albums, including Radio Ethiopia (1976), Easter (1978) and Wave (1979).[14]

Some of Král's songs written during this period include "Ask the Angels", "Pissing in a River", "25th Floor", "Revenge", "Citizen Ship", "Birdland", "Ain't It Strange", "Pumping (My Heart)" and her hit "Dancing Barefoot", which Rolling Stone included in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and has been recorded by artists including U2, Simple Minds and Pearl Jam.

Film-making workEdit

Kral wanted a visual diary of his days in America in case he was ever deported back home to Czechoslovakia where rock music was forbidden, so he bought a Super 8 camera from a pawn shop.[15] He began filming at Murray the K shows in 1968, then eventually got a 16mm camera, on which he filmed other concerts. Some of the clips appear in his 1975 amateur compilation, Night Lunch.

Král also filmed his bandmates and friends at rehearsals, Hotel Chelsea apartments, The Bottom Line, and CBGB. He compiled the footage into a 1976 film titled The Blank Generation, which features Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, New York Dolls, Television, and drag queen Jayne County, before they had record deals. No Wave filmmaker Amos Poe helped Král edit the film by adding music from each band's cassettes and cutting irrelevant scenes.[16]

The Blank Generation D-I-Y clip compilation is often referred to as the original visual document of the birth of New York punk. There are no effects, production, posing, scripts or budget, and it is the source film for many music documentaries worldwide.[17]

Král also shot three short films from 1976 to 1979 titled "Rat", "Raven", and "Rabbit", documenting his days in the Patti Smith Group, with her band backstage and onstage.[18]

After The Patti Smith GroupEdit

In 1979, after Patti Smith's last show in Florence, Italy, Iggy Pop invited Král to Rockfield Studios in Wales to work on his album Soldier, produced by Pat Moran. After the Soldier tour, Král became Iggy's co-writer and guitarist for all the original songs on his 1981 album, Party.[19]

Král hoped to build a career as a film composer by heading to Los Angeles to compose music for the Barry Levinson film Diner (1981),[20] but eventually returned to New York. He wrote and recorded the film scores for three films by underground filmmaker Amos Poe, titled, Unmade Beds, The Foreigner and Subway Riders in his apartment on his mini Moog synthesizer, piano and guitar.[21]

In the 1980s Král was involved in a number of short-term projects. He recorded and toured with John Waite, former singer with The Babys, and co-wrote songs for his album Ignition.[22] Král wrote songs for many other artists, including Mick Ronson, and was involved in rehearsals with British guitarist Chris Spedding and John Cale, formerly of the Velvet Underground, to create a new band, but it never materialized.

Král subsequently formed his own band, Eastern Bloc, with a record deal and video with Passport Records, though the project ended when the label folded in the mid 1980s.[23]

Král also ran a studio in New York from 1982 to 1993, named PAWS,[24] where Mick Jagger, The B-52's, and reggae artists like Kiddus I rehearsed.[25]

Return to CzechoslovakiaEdit

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Velvet Revolution brought Communism to an end in Czechoslovakia. Král returned to Prague in 1993, and began working with other rock artists to developing the new Czech rock scene,[26] using his experiences in the west to develop Czech talent and working as a songwriter, producer and musician.[27]

Patti Smith, while still living in Detroit, recorded her poem "Perfect Moon" at 54 Sound studio for Král's 1995 album Nostalgia. John Cale wrote and recorded the piano for the song.[28]

Král works from his home studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[29] His album, Always (2014), was recorded in Detroit and released on Warner Music Czech Republic. His previous ten albums were released on Universal Music Group and Polygram and were recorded in the Czech Republic or in Seattle.[30]

As a producer, Král worked with The Vipers[31] and the Band of Outsiders, as well as Czech bands such as Lucie (on their studio album Černý kočky mokrý žáby) and David Koller, Ivan Hlas, Jiri Suchy, Aneta Langerová, Miroslav Žbirka, Alice,[32] Debbi, Triny, and Garage.[33] He also released many solo albums.

He is a collector of late avant-garde Czech photographer František Drtikol. The video for his song "Winner Takes All" was inspired by Drtikol's work with the female form.

Král wrote music for the memorial of President Václav Havel, and performed it for live broadcast across the Czech Republic following Havel's funeral at St. Vitus Cathedral.


  • "Deliberately Raw: Iggy & the Stooges (1973)
  • "Rat (Patti Smith Group)" (1976)
  • "Raven (Patti Smith Group)" (1977)
  • "Rabbit (Patti Smith Group)" (1979)



  • The Blank Generation (1976)
  • Rockpalast: Patti Smith Group – on bass guitar and as Backing vocalist (1979)[38][39][40]
  • Dancing Barefoot (1995)[41]
  • Mnága – Happy End (1996)
  • Cabriolet (2001)
  • Pátrání po Ester – Documentary (2005)
  • Letem svetem s Kuretem – TV Movie (2011)
  • Show Jana Krause – Episode dated April 29, 2011 – TV Series (2011)
  • Show Jana Krause – Episode dated October 5, 2012 – TV Series (2012)
  • VIP zprávy – Episode dated April 16, 2014 – TV Series (2014)[42]



  • Native (1992)[43]
  • Nostalgia (1995)
  • Looking Back (1996)
  • Native: His Native Complete (1996)
  • Alias (1997) (with Ivan Hlas, David Koller and Karel Šůcha)
  • Modré z nebe (soundtrack) (1997)
  • Prohlédnutí / Clear Eyes (1998)
  • ... "dancing barefoot" (1999)
  • Dancing Reboot ● Ivan Kral ● Remixed (1999)
  • Živě, dětským domovům (live) (1999)
  • Best of Ivan Král (compilation) (2001)
  • Cabriolet (soundtrack) (2001)
  • Photoalbum (2001)
  • Erotická revue (2003)
  • Bang Bang! (2005)
  • Always (2014)[44][45]

with Patti SmithEdit

with Iggy PopEdit

with John WaiteEdit

with TéléphoneEdit

  • Dure Limite "Ce Soir est ce Soir" (1982) his name being wrongly spelt Yvan Kral on some album credits

with John CaleEdit

with Eastern BlocEdit

  • Wall to Wall' (1987)

with Sky Cries MaryEdit

  • Exit at the Axis (1991)

with Noel Redding and FriendsEdit

  • Live from Bunkr ● Prague (1996)

with Triny Vocal TrioEdit

  • Gypsy Streams (2001)[46]


  1. ^ Discogs – Ivan Král (profile and discography)
  2. ^ Král Discogs – Téléphone – (discography search for Y. Kral)
  3. ^ Král Discogs – Patti Smith (discography search for Ivan Král)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bezr, Ondřej (June 25, 2010). "Český rocker Ivan Král vstoupil s Patti Smith do Kongresové knihovny" [Czech rocker Ivan Král entered the Congress library with Patti Smith]. Mladá fronta DNES (in Czech). Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  6. ^ – Ivan Kral & his Luger publicity 1972 photo
  7. ^ "SHAYNE HARRIS – DRUMMER". Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Liberation – Nostalgia – Ivan Kral, the ghost of Prague
  9. ^ "SHAYNE HARRIS – DRUMMER". Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Love Goes to Buildings on Fire – A chat with Blondie in NYC by Will Hermes, 2013-March-25th
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (November 13, 2006). "Horses by Patti Smith". The All-TIME 100 Albums. United States: Time. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Švamberk, Alex (August 26, 2005). "Po čtyřech letech vystoupí v Praze Patti Smith". Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  15. ^ "Generational Sounds: Rock Icon Ivan Kral Listens To Metro Detroit". Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  16. ^ Greg Prato (August 14, 2001). "Blank Generation/Dancin' Barefoot – Patti Smith | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  17. ^ "Seven Ages of Rock – Programmes – Blank Generation". BBC News. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  18. ^ "Punk (cca 1976 – 1981) – Články – Bigbít – Česká televize". July 18, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  19. ^ "Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed – Paul Trynka". Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  20. ^ Turner Classic Movies – Diner – Music: Bruce Brody and Ivan Kral
  21. ^ the New York Times – Movies & TV – Ivan Kral
  22. ^ AllMusic – Ignition by John Waite – review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  23. ^ nyrocker – Eastern Bloc – A&R / ATLANTIC RECORDS
  24. ^ 1980's PERFORMER TO FILM SCORE AND SONGWRITER (record producer)
  25. ^ amazon – Rising of the Phoenix – Ragz Mo' Rocka
  26. ^ Diskograie – Ivan Král
  27. ^ YouTube – Ivan Kral MTV Europe
  28. ^ MusicMe – Patti Smith, John Cale & Ivan Kral – Perfect Moon
  30. ^ "Ivan Král se vrací s Photoalbem". Mladá fronta DNES. November 12, 2002. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  31. ^ "Vipers, The (4) – Outta The Nest". discogs. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  32. ^ – Ivan was Producer for 1995 album by Czech rock band Alice
  33. ^ "Mňága A Žďorp – Ryzí Zlato". discogs. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  34. ^ IMDb – Night Lunch – 1975 Documentary, USA
  35. ^ IMDb – The Blank Generation – 1976-April-22nd Documentary, 55min, USA (aka Blank Generation: The Birth of Punk)
  36. ^ IMDb – Iggy and the Stooges Live at Academy of Music New York City – 2011-April-24th music short, USA
  37. ^ The Legend Live – Patti Smith Group – Rockpalast 1979
  38. ^ IMDb – Rockpalast: Patti Smith Group – 1979-April-21st TV Episode, 94 min, West Germany
  39. ^ YouTube – Patti Smith – My Generation (1979) Germany
  40. ^ Gilipolladas de Kigonjiro – Patti Smith Group – Rockpalast 1979 DVD
  41. ^ IMDb – Dancing Barefoot – 1995 made-for television biopic, 60 mins
  42. ^ IMDb – VIP zprávy – Episode dated 16 April 2014
  43. ^ Discogs – Native 1992 CD, Zensor (Zensor ZS 124) Germany
  44. ^ "Vydavatelství Warner Music podepsalo smlouvu s Ivanem Kralem, jeho nové album vydá v září". (in Czech). August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Gypsy Streams – Triny Vocal Trio | Credits". AllMusic. September 25, 2001. Retrieved July 30, 2014.

External linksEdit