1941 – 24th Segment: “Sunflower”

In this series we introduce 100 songs which have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. They became popular by being played throughout important years and time periods or by winning the hit parade. We continue with the year 1941.

In 1941 the German occupiers banned all dances and balls in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The Nazis would not allow Czechs to enjoy themselves and dance while German men died on the battlefront, fighting for a new Hitler-style Europe. Dance music from this period was therefore only played for listening to – and the compositions of Anglo-American writers were definitely excluded. In some aspects this was a positive development. Limited foreign influence led to a great increase in the quality of Czech swing music and the orchestras and singers who accompanied it. One example was the very successful Czech comedy, “Hotel Blue Star,” which premiered in cinemas in August, 1941. Today’s song comes from this film and became yet another milestone of Czech swing music.

The music for the film was written by Sláva Eman Nováček. Back then, the song about sunflowers was sung by the immensely popular singer, Inka Zemánková. She even earned a nickname as a result of this song: the sunflower of domestic swing.

Each Sunday, participants will be able to vote in our new series Hit of the Century, covering 100 years of music in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. (More)