Oliver Dragojević (pronounced [ǒliʋer drâɡojeʋitɕ]; 7 December 1947 – 29 July 2018) was a Croatian recording artist, who was considered one of the most enduring musical stars and cultural icons in Croatia with a discography that spanned nearly five decades. His style blended traditional klapa melodies of Dalmatia, a coastal region in his native Croatia, with jazz motifs wrapped up in a modern production.
Oliver Dragojević in 2010
|Died||29 July 2018 (aged 70)|
For his influential musical career, he reached critical and commercial acclaim in Croatia and neighbouring countries, and numerous accolades, including numerous Porin and Indexi awards. He is one of the few Croatian musicians who performed at major international venues such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, L'Olympia, and Sydney Opera House. In 1995, he was awarded the Order of Danica Hrvatska for his services to culture.
Oliver's mother Kata (1907–1994) and father Marko Dragojević (1908–1991) had three daughters, all of whom died young during World War II. His family escaped to a refugee camp in El Shatt, Egypt, together with many other women and children from Dalmatia.
Dragojević was born on 7 December 1947 in Split, not long after his family returned to their ancestral town of Vela Luka, on the Dalmatian island of Korčula. He had an older brother Aljoša (1946–2011). When Oliver was five, his father bought each of his sons a harmonica. Oliver mastered the instrument quickly, and entertained other kids on his street, as well as passengers on board of ships on the busy route of Vela Luka – Split. As Dragojević showed a strong passion for music, his parents decided to enroll him in a music school in his hometown. There he learned to play the piano, clarinet and bass guitar.
Dragojević's first performance was at the Split Children's Festival in 1961 with the song "Baloni" (Baloons). In a competition of amateur singers, his cult band from Split, Batali, won first place for their rendition of "Yesterday", a Beatles classic. In 1972 Dragojević went abroad to further develop his craft. He played in clubs across Germany, Sweden and Mexico. His solo singing career began in 1974 at the Split Festival, where he won with the song "Ča će mi Copacabana" (What do I need Copacabana for).
A year later, composer Zdenko Runjić and Dragojević, released the song "Galeb i ja" (Seagull and I). It proved to be a big hit across the former Yugoslavia and made Dragojević a household name. This was followed by hits "Romanca" (Romance), "Oprosti mi, pape" (Forgive Me, Father), "Stari morski vuk" (An Old Sea Wolf). Runjić would further collaborate with Dragojević on further 200 songs, until Runjić's death. Between 1975 and 1980, the Dragojević/Runjić duo dominated the music scene of the former Yugoslavia. Part of the secret of their success was a third contributor, Jakša Fiamengo, who wrote the lyrics to some of Dragojević's most iconic songs, namely: "Nadalina", "Piva klapa ispo' volta" (The Klapa sings Under the Volt), "Karoca", "Ništa nova" (Nothing New), "Infiša san u te" (I am Crazy About You), and "Ostavljam te samu" (I leave You Alone). In 1990 Dragojević won the Split Festival with "Ti si moj san" (You are my Dream), and the Jugovizija Jamboree with the song "Sreća je tamo gdje si ti" (Happiness is Where You are), both collaboration with Zorica Kondža.
Most of Dragojević's songs are considered evergreen on the Balkans. Dubbed "the Cosmic Dalmatian" Dragojević was widely lauded and remembered for his emotionally intense ballads and equally candide performances. These include "Vjerujem u anđele" (I believe in Angels), "Kad mi dođeš ti" (When You come to Me), "La Musica di Notte" (covered also by the Dubrovački Trubaduri), "Bez tebe" (Without You), "Pred tvojim vratima" (transl. "In Front of your Door", released 24 November 2002 on Trag u beskraju), "Cesarica" (from the album Sve najbolje, released 15 July 1994), "Pismo moja" and "Vjeruj u ljubav" (from the same-named album, released 1 January 1979 and as a rendition on 15 June 2009).
Dragojević participated five times in national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. He made his debut in the Jugovizija 1988 with hopes to represent Yugoslavia performing "Dženi", which finished second. He returned to the contest again in 1990 with Zorica Kondža performing "Sreća je tamo gdje si ti" and finishing third. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, Dragojević participated in the Dora 1994 with hopes to represent Croatia, with "Arja". The song ended up in fourth place. He participated in the Dora 1995 again with "Boginja" (Goddess), finishing second, and in the Dora 1997 with "Lucija", finishing eight.
For his album made with long-term collaborator Zlatan Stipišić Gibonni, Familija (Family), they were awarded a Porin Award for Album of the Year in 2017.
In August 2017, Dragojević revealed he was diagnosed with lung cancer. In June 2018, he was hospitalised in the Split Clinical Hospital Center due to breathing difficulties, where on 29 July 2018 at 2:00 am, Dragojević died after succumbing to a year long battle with the disease. He was 70.
The Croatian Government declared 31 July as the National Day of Condolences to honour him. The same day, over 10,000 people on Split waterfront terraced the coffin with his body to the catamaran for Vela Luka. Dragojević was buried at the Cemetery of St. Roko in Vela Luka, on 1 August.
- 1975: Ljubavna pjesma
- 1976: Našoj ljubavi je kraj
- 1976: Split 76
- 1977: Malinkonija
- 1978: Poeta
- 1979: Vjeruj u ljubav
- 1980: Oliver 5
- 1981: Đelozija
- 1981: Jubavi, jubavi
- 1982: Karoca
- 1984: Evo mene među moje
- 1985: Svoju zvizdu slidin
- 1986: Za sva vrimena
- 1987: Oliver
- 1987: Pionirsko kolo
- 1988: Svirajte noćas za moju dušu
- 1989: Oliver u HNK
- 1990: Jedina
- 1992: Teško mi je putovati
- 1994: Neka nova svitanja
- 1994: Sve najbolje
- 1995: Vrime
- 1996: Oliver u Lisinskom
- 1997: Duša mi je more
- 1998: Štorija 1
- 1998: Štorija 2
- 1998: Štorija 3
- 1998: Štorija 4
- 1998: Štorija 5
- 2000: Dvi, tri riči
- 2001: Oliver u Areni
- 2002: Trag u beskraju
- 2003: Vjeruj u ljubav 2003
- 2005: Vridilo je
- 2006: The Platinum Collection
- 2006: Oliver à l'Olympia
- 2007: Kozmički dalmatinac
- 2010: Samo da je tu
- 2013: Tišina Mora
- "Oliver posljednji koncert održao u rodnom Splitu: Pogledajte djelić atmosfere". RTL (in Croatian). 29 July 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
- Zadar In Your Pocket by Višnja Arambašić, Nataly Anderson, Frank Jelinčić & Tocher Mitchell. Culture and Events (p11)
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- N.N., br. 46/95.
- "Nagrade 1970-1979". Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- Zorica Kondža: Nadam se da ću uz tri sina imati jednu dobru nevistu
- ZORICA KONDŽA Vratila sam se svojim korijenima rock and rollu. Ne treba mi dijeta, po koncertu gubim četiri kilograma
- Veliki pregled nesvakidašnje karijere ‘kozmičkog Dalmatinca’ - našeg Olivera Dragojevića
- Godina dana otkako nas je napustio Oliver Dragojević: Bio je pravi horoskopski strijelac, tvrdoglav i previše znatiželjan
- Veliki poklon za čitatelje Jutarnjeg lista: U ponedjeljak na dar specijalni prilog o Oliveru Dragojeviću i CD sa 15 vjernih hitova
- 15 pjesama po kojima ćemo pamtiti Olivera Dragojevića
- DIRLJIV KONCERT KONCERT PREPUN EMOCIJA: PRIJATELJI OLIVERA DRAGOJEVIĆA PJEVALI MU ZA 72. ROĐENDAN ZAJEDNO S 12 TISUĆA OBOŽAVAVATELJA / T.Jaso
- NEPOZNATI DETALJI 'Pjesma je super, al' je čudna': Nakon Cesarice za Olivera više ništa nije bilo isto
- Vjeruj u ljubav
- "Poslušaj što moj mali brlja u studiju": Grašo ispričao kako ga je Oliver otkrio
- "1988 – Ljubljana". eurosong.hr. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "1990 – Zadar". eurosong.hr. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "1994 – Opatija (HTF)". eurosong.hr. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- "1995 – Opatija". eurosong.hr. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- N.K. (9 May 2020). "Vesna Dragojević otkrila zašto se niti jedan njezin unuk neće zvati Oliver: "Ma kakvi! To nikome nije palo na pamet"". Dnevnik.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- Tolić, Dolores (10 April 2019). "EKSKLUZIVNO VESNA DRAGOJEVIĆ: 'OD OLIVERA SE NISAM USPJELA OPROSTITI, ALI ZA NJEGA JE TO BIO NAJBOLJI KRAJ'". Gloria.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- Morić, Danijela-Ana (1 August 2018). "Oni su bili njegovo najveće blago: Upoznajte sinove Olivera Dragojevića". Tportal.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "ŽIVOTNA DRAMA NAJPOPULARNIJEG HRVATSKOG PJEVAČA: Oliveru Dragojeviću je dijagnosticiran karcinom: 'Da, bolestan sam…'". Net.hr. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- Thomas, Mark. "Oliver Dragojevic dies after losing battle with cancer – The Dubrovnik Times". thedubrovniktimes.com. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- "Popular Ex-Yugoslavia Singer Oliver Dragojevic Dies at 70". U.S. News & World Report. 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- "Umro je Oliver Dragojević". Index.hr (in Croatian). 29 July 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- "SUTRA DAN NACIONALNE SUĆUTI U HRVATSKOJ ZBOG SMRTI OLIVERA DRAGOJEVIĆA Plenković: 'Vlada je odluku donijela na telefonskoj sjednici'". Jutarnji list. 30 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
- "Deseci tisuća Splićana uz bakljadu posljednji puta pozdravili Olivera". Direktno.hr (in Croatian). 31 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- "DRAGOJEVIĆ: Hauser je otpjevao 'Galeb i ja', na pogreb došli Gibonni, Dino Rađa, Enis Bešlagić, Šuica…". Net.hr (in Croatian). 1 August 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
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