Eduard Anatolyevich Khil (often transliterated as Edward Hill); 4 September 1934 - 4 June 2012) was a Russian baritone singer and a recipient of the People's Artist Award of the RSFSR. Khil became known to a western audience in 2010 when a 1976 recording of him singing a non-lexical vocable version of the song "I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home" became an Internet meme, known as "Trololo" (with varying numbers of lo's).
In early life, Eduard Khil was born on 4 September 1934 in Smolensk to Anatoly Vasilievich Khil, a mechanic, and Helena Pavlovna Kalugina, an accountant. Life as a child was hard on Khil. With his family breaking up, he was brought up by his mother. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII Eastern Front), his kindergarten was bombed, he was separated from his mother and evacuated to Bekovo, Penza Oblast where he ended up in a children's home, which lacked basic facilities and needs, such as food. Despite this Khil regularly performed in front of wounded soldiers in the nearby hospital. He was reunited with his mother in 1943 when Smolensk was liberated from Nazi Germany and in 1949 moved to Leningrad, where he enrolled and then graduated from printing college. In 1955, Khil enrolled in the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied under direction of Evgeni Olkhovksky and Zoya Lodyi. He graduated in 1960. During his studies, he began performing various lead operatic roles, including Figaro in. The Marriage of Figaro.
After graduating he fell in love with pop music after attending a Klavdiya Shulzhenko concert, and started to perform popular music. This led to him winning several prizes in the next two decades. He won the "All Russian Competition for Performers" in 1962 and was invited to perform at the "Festival of Soviet Songs" in 1965. He attained second place inSopot International Song Festival in 1965. In 1967, composer Andrey Petrov won the USSR State Prize for a collection of songs performed mainly by Khil, and in 1968 Khil won the Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was awarded in 1971, and Russia's most prestigious artist award, the People's Artist of Russia, was awarded to Khil in 1974. He was so successful that the public called him the 'Symbol of Leningrad'. Between 1977 and 1979, Khil taught solo singing at the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy.Khil toured in over 80 countries and lived at Tolstoy House in St. Petersburg. After his singing career faded in the early 1990s, Khil re-entered private life and worked in a cafe in Paris, singing cabaret. Starting in 1997, Khil was involved with his son in a joint project with the rock group Prepinaki.For his 75th birthday, Khil was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th Class in 2009 by Russia and in 2010 performed in St. Petersburg's Victory Day Parade. He was the first artist to sing such songs as Woodcutters and Moon Stone by Arkady Ostrovsky, and Song about Friend, Blue Cities, And People Go To the Sea by Andrey Petrov. Other popular songs performed by Khil included From What the Homeland Begins?, Winter, Birch Sap, Alder Catkin, We Need Only the Victory, and many others. Khil's manner of execution of songs is unique and easily recognizable in Russia, characterized by charm, always having a great sounding bright, sonorous voice and the flight of lyrical baritone, with the powerful charge of optimism and humour.
In July 1958, Khil met his future wife, the ballerina Zoya Pravdina, while performing alongside her at the Leningrad Conservatory. During the summer and fall, they toured together, and quickly began a romantic relationship. They were married on 1 December 1958, and stayed married until his death in 2012. The couple had one son, Dmitri, born 2 June 1963, and a grandson named Eduard (born in 1997) after his grandfather. The family name Khil is not derived from Hill, as it is reported on various web sites. The singer stated in an interview that the name likely comes from a Spanish ancestor with the surname Gil, which is pronounced similar to hill.
On 8 April 2012, Khil suffered a stroke and was hospitalized with serious brain damage to the Mariinsky hospital in St. Petersburg, where he fell into a coma immediately afterwards. His condition was later reported as critical, with irreversible brain damage. Doctors were initially optimistic about a partial recovery, but later retracted these statements. He died in the hospital in St. Petersburg on 4 June 2012, from complications from the stroke, aged 77.
Among people who offered his condolences to Khil's family was Russia's President Vladimir Putin. He said about Eduard Khil.