Old pop festivals: Zagreb '71

Of all the music festival LP albums, this is one I have seen the most on shelves around the homes I visited - it's almost spooky, but this particular recording was omnipresent and apparently very, very popular at the time or it was simply the moment when these events caught up with records buyers. As foreign releases were usually slow coming, homegrown pop composers and artists (derivative as they might have been) were enjoying some really big sales and music festivals like this one were major events of the year. Every official LP like this one always had at least a dozen hit singles accompanying it, so nowadays its impossible to grasp the whole picture without those singles and if anyone ever decide to re-issue Zagreb '71 again, hit singles would have to be bonus tracks.

It was still a very important and venerable music institution at the time, with good selection of veterans and upcoming young talents competing on the same stage. Grandfather Ivo Robić opens the record with his typical ode to Zagreb, while Zvonko Špišić and Stjepan "Jimmy" Stanić represented generation from a previous decade but for the most part it was a showcase for new names - Krunoslav Slabinac, Duško Lokin, Đani Maršan and Vjekoslav Jutt were all just kids and they were actually very good. Great Vice Vukov was so popular at the time that he got two songs - "Tvoja zemlja" and "Spomenar" but by far the biggest hit was written by husband and wife tandem Maja Perfiljeva & Hrvoje Hegedušić with pop band Pro Arte in mind - one way or another, "Gazi, dragi, srce moje" ended up in hands of gentle Gabi Novak and not only that it turned into one of the major hits of the whole year but its lyrics perfectly suited (and defined) her music persona. As usual, young Josipa Lisac came up with decidedly complex vocal extravaganza ("Mreže ljubavi") that was impressive but deliberately non-commercial and its interesting how just a year later, under new music direction she will actually become a winner of this festival. Its unfortunate that songs by Arsen Dedić, Dalibor Brun, Đorđi Peruzović and few other artists (young Ivo Pattiera!) were released as singles, it would be nice to have them in one place to complete the picture.

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