Eduard Khil

Eduard Anatolyevich Khil (Russian: Эдуа́рд Анато́льевич Хиль, IPA: [ɨdʊˈart ɐnɐˈtolʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ˈxʲilʲ] (often anglicized as Edward Hill); 4 September 1934 – 4 June 2012) was a Soviet-Russian baritone singer and a recipient of the People's Artist of the RSFSR. Khil became known to international audiences in 2010, when a 1976 recording of him singing a non-lexical vocable version of the song "I Am Very Glad, as I'm Finally Returning Back Home" (Russian: Я о́чень рад, ведь я, наконе́ц, возвраща́юсь домо́й, tr. Ya ochen rad, ved ya, nakonets, vozvrashchajus domoy) became an Internet meme, often referred to as "Trololol" or "Trololo",[1] as an onomatopoeia of the song, or as the "Russian Rickroll", and, as such, the song was commonly associated with Internet trolling. The song's newfound prominence in Internet culture led him to adopt Mr. Trololo as a stage name.[2]

Eduard Khil
Eduard Khil receiving a 4th class Order For Merit to the Fatherland in 2009
Native name
Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль
Eduard Anatolyevich Khil

(1934-09-04)4 September 1934
Died4 June 2012(2012-06-04) (aged 77)
Resting placeSmolensky Cemetery, Saint Petersburg
Years active1955–2012

Early life and education

Khil was born on 4 September 1934 in Smolensk to Anatoly Vasilievich Khil, a mechanic, and Yelena Pavlovna Kalugina, an accountant.[3] Life as a child was hard for 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 and 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, including food. Despite the desperate situation, Khil regularly performed in front of wounded soldiers in the nearby hospital.[3] He was reunited with his mother in 1943 when Smolensk was liberated from Nazi Germany and in 1949 moved to Leningrad, where he enrolled in and then graduated from printing college.[3] In 1955, Khil enrolled in the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied under direction of Yevgeny Olkhovsky and Zoya Lodyi. He graduated in 1960.[3] During his studies, he began performing various lead operatic roles, including Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro.[3]


After graduating he fell in love with pop music after attending a Klavdiya Shulzhenko concert,[3] 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.[3] He attained second place in Sopot International Song Festival in 1965.[4] In 1967, composer Andrey Petrov won the USSR State Prize for a collection of songs performed mainly by Khil,[3] and in 1968 Khil won the Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was awarded in 1971,[5] and Russia's most prestigious artist award, the People's Artist of Russia, was awarded to Khil in 1974.[4] He was so successful that the public called him the 'Symbol of Leningrad'.[6]

Between 1977 and 1979, Khil taught solo singing at the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy.

Khil toured in over 80 countries[3] and lived at Tolstoy House (Russian: Толсто́вский дом) in St. Petersburg.[7]

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[3] and, in 2010, performed in St. Petersburg's Victory Day Parade.

Song style

He was the first artist to sing such songs as "Woodcutters" (Russian: Лесору́бы) and "I am so happy to be finally back at home" and Moonstone (Russian: Лунный камень) by Arkady Ostrovsky, and "A song about a friend" (Russian: Пе́сня о дру́ге), "Blue Cities" (Russian: Голубы́е города́), "And people go to the sea" (Russian: А лю́ди ухо́дят в мо́ре) by Andrey Petrov. Other popular songs performed by Khil included "From where does the homeland begin?" (Russian: С чего́ начина́ется Ро́дина?), "How the steamers are seen off" (Russian: Как провожа́ют парохо́ды), "Winter" (Russian: Зима́), "Birch sap" (Russian: Берёзовый сок), "Alder Catkin" (Russian: Серёжка ольхо́вая), "We need one victory" (Russian: Нам нужна́ одна́ побе́да), and many others.

Khil's manner of singing and performance was unique and easily recognizable in Russia (as well as in other countries that were part of the USSR), characterized by his personal charm and his lyrical baritone, which combined a degree of optimism and humor.[6]

Personal life

In July 1958, Khil met ballerina Zoya Pravdina, while performing alongside her at the Leningrad Conservatory. During the summer and fall, they toured together, and began a romantic relationship. They were married on 1 December 1958, and stayed married until his death in 2012.[6][8]

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 thought to have come from a Spanish ancestor with the surname Gil, which is pronounced similarly to hill.[6]

Illness and death

On 8 April 2012, Khil suffered a stroke and was hospitalized with serious brain injuries at the Mariinsky Hospital in St. Petersburg, where he fell into a coma immediately afterward.[9][10] His condition was later reported as critical, with now irreversible brain damage. Doctors were initially optimistic about a partial recovery, but later retracted these statements.[11] He died in the hospital in St. Petersburg on 4 June 2012, from complications from the stroke, aged 77, two days after his son's 49th birthday.[12][13][14]

Among people who offered their condolences to Khil's family was Russia's President Vladimir Putin. He said about Eduard Khil:[15]

His name is connected to an era in the history of Russian music. Eduard Khil was unique in his extraordinary charm and lyricism, and constant in his professionalism, vocal culture and creative taste. Many of the songs he performed became part of the golden fund of the Russian stage.


Internet videos

In 2009, a 1976 video of Khil singing a non-lexical vocable version of the song "I am very glad, as I'm finally returning back home" (Russian: Я о́чень рад, ведь я, наконе́ц, возвраща́юсь домо́й) was uploaded to YouTube[16] and became known as "Trololol" or "Trololo".[17] The name "Trololo" is an onomatopoeia of the distinctive way Khil vocalizes throughout the song. The video quickly went viral and Khil became known as "Mr. Trololo" or "Trololo Man".[17] The viral video also has been referred to as the Russian Rickroll.

The song was written by Arkady Ostrovsky. Besides Khil, it was also performed by Valery Obodzinsky,[18][19] Hungarian singer János Koós,[20] and by Muslim Magomayev on the Little Blue Light programme in the Soviet Union although Magomayev's version was sped up slightly causing the song to be played almost a semi-tone higher.[21]

According to Khil, the Trololo song originally featured lyrics which described a narrative about a cowboy riding a horse to his farm:[22][23]

Я скачу по прерии на своем жеребце, мустанге таком-то, а моя любимая Мэри за тысячу миль отсюда вяжет для меня чулок

I'm riding the prairie on my stallion, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me.

The Trololo video first appeared on some sites beginning on 21 February 2010, the most prominent of those being the "Trololo" website[24] that helped push the video into popular awareness, receiving more than 3,000,000 hits in its first month.[25][26] It gained prominence on 3 March 2010, during a segment on The Colbert Report[27] after appearing on Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld a handful of times over the previous couple of weeks. It was also parodied by actor Christoph Waltz on Jimmy Kimmel Live![28] as well as Craig Reucassel of The Chaser on the 2010 Australian TV specials Yes We Canberra!, and in September 2011 on the animated American television series Family Guy in its tenth-season premiere episode, "Lottery Fever".[29]

"Trololo"'s popularity in turn re-ignited interest in Khil's singing career aside from his vocalised performance; for a time, the "Trololo" website[24] included a petition for Khil to come out of retirement to perform on a world tour.

I haven't heard anything about it. It's nice, of course! Thanks for good news! There is a backstory about this song. Originally, we had lyrics written for this song but they were poor. I mean, they were good, but we couldn't publish them at that time. They contained words like these: "I'm riding my stallion on a prairie, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me". Of course, we failed to publish it at that time, and we, Arkady Ostrovsky and I, decided to make it a vocalisation. But the essence remained in the title. The song is very playful – it has no lyrics, so we had to make up something so that people would listen to it, and so this was an interesting arrangement.

Eduard Khil[30], (in Russian)

Arkady Ostrovsky's son, Mikhail, gives another version of the vocalise story:

Nobody banned its lyrics, but my father just composed the music during the period of his disagreement with Lev Oshanin. The latter told him that the lyrics are more important in a song and that a composer is nothing without a lyricist. So Dad told him during the argument, "Well, I don't need your verses at all, I'll manage without them."

Mikhail Ostrovsky, Rossiyskaya Gazeta[31], (in Russian)

Khil's son was quoted as saying "He thinks maybe someone is trying to make a fool of him," and "He keeps asking, 'Where were all these journalists 40 years ago?'"[17]

Trololo was used by Butlins in a television advertising campaign in the United Kingdom,[32][33] as well as a United States ad campaign with the Volkswagen Beetle convertible that debuted during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.[34] It was also featured in the 2012 video game Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault.[35] It was played briefly in the 2018 film Pacific Rim: Uprising.

On 31 December 2011, Khil performed the Trololo song again live on a 2012 New Year's Russian holiday television special. Within the first week of January 2012, the new video of Khil performing his new version of the Trololo song had gone viral on YouTube again, earning over four million hits.[36] Khil died later that year.

On 4 September 2017, Google displayed an interactive doodle of Khil singing the Trololo song, celebrating what would have been his 83rd birthday. Although it was released on the doodle site on the 4th, it was not released until the next day 5 September due to Labor Day in some countries.[37]



  • 1965 – Cheryomushki (Черёмушки) – vocal
  • 1974 – Eduard Khil (documentary, directed by Marina Goldovskaya)
  • 1985 – Golubye goroda (Голубые города, Blue Cities; film-concert, music by Andrey Petrov)
  • 2004 – Yatinsotests – club manager


  1. "Eduard Khil dies aged 77". 6 June 2012. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  2. "Mr Trololo Singer Eduard Khil Dies Aged 77". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  3. Эдуард Хиль (in Russian)
  4. Music Encyclopedia. Ch. Ed. V. Keldysh. Volume 6. Heintze – Yashugin. 1108 STB. with illus. 1982 Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia 1982
  5. Эдуард Хиль (in Russian)
  6. "Эдуард Хиль: Я не открываю рот под "фанеру" - я пою (Interview with Khil)". (in Russian). Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  7. Знаменитые жители Толстовского дома (in Russian)
  8. Елена ЛИВСИ (1 April 2010). Эдуард Хиль: В перестройку я чуть умом не тронулся.... (in Russian). Komsomolskaya Pravda. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  9. "Trololo man in critical health condition – RT". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  10. 29 May 2012 Agencies London (31 May 2012). "Internet sensation Trololo man is critical and in coma". The Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  11. "Singer Eduard Khil in intensive care". Voice of Russia. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  12. "'Mr. Trololo' Dies in St.Petersburg, Aged 77". 4 September 1934. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  13. "Pop singer Eduard Khil known as Mr. Trololo in West dies in St. Petersburg". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  14. "Скончался Эдуард Хиль". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  15. "Preminuo sovjetski pevač Eduard Kil, tvorac hita "Trololo"". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  16. RealPapaPit (26 November 2009). "Mr. Trololo original upload". Retrieved 5 September 2017 via YouTube.
  17. Weir, Fred (12 March 2010). "YouTube drags reluctant Soviet star Mr. Trololo back into spotlight". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  18. Алексей Рубан (24 February 2009). "Валерий Ободзинский - Вокализ (фрагмент, 1967)". Retrieved 5 September 2017 via YouTube.
  19. Валерий Ободзинский (in Russian)
  20. Guinplen Mir (21 February 2014). "Янош Коош - Я возвращаюсь домой". Retrieved 5 September 2017 via YouTube.
  21. "Muslim Magomaev - Vokaliz. Муслим Магомаев - Вокализ". YouTube. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  22. Gleb Ivanov (12 March 2010). "Comeback to Hill". (in Russian). Archived from the original on 15 March 2010.
  23. Alyona Bezmenova, Anastasia Kozlova (10 March 2010). "Eduard Hill: I was given a chance. Time to catch up the Fortune's train". Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian).
  24. Trololo music video at "TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO". 2 March 2010. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2017 via maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  25. "Eduard Hill, Aka Eduard Anatolyevich, Wins Russian Idol". Anorak News. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  26. Abramson, Dan (21 February 2010). "Is This Weird Russian Guy The Best Lyricist of All Time? No. (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  27. "Colbert Report – Jim Bunning Ends Filibuster". 3 March 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  28. FilmGeek-TV. "Der Humpink – Premier film de Christoph Waltz". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  29. Friar, Christine (27 September 2011). "'Family Guy' Does A Tribute To Trololo For Season Premier". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  30. Хиль повторил свой хит спустя 44 года (in Russian). LifeNews. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  31. Не плачьте, девчонки (in Russian). Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  32. Butlin's (21 December 2012). "Butlins 2013 TV advert". Retrieved 5 September 2017 via YouTube.
  33. Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (21 December 2012). "Butlin's returns to TV with 'altruistic' mission". Marketing. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  34. Duncan Macleod (21 February 2013). "Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Mask". The Inspiration Room. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  35. finalstar2007 (30 November 2012). "Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault -Trolling-". Retrieved 5 September 2017 via YouTube.
  36. David_SM (7 January 2012). "Trololo new verison [sic] 2012 HD [original]". Retrieved 5 September 2017 via YouTube.
  37. "Eduard Khil's 83rd birthday Google Doodle". Google. 4 September 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
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