‘Tis the season for Christmas songs, and in the Czech Republic that means a wealth of covers from some of the country’s leading artists.
Which are the best? We’ll leave that up to you, but below are some of our very favorites.
In the interest of diversity, only one song per artist is included in the list below; singers Karel Gott, Helena Vondráčková, Lucie Bílá, and others have released entire albums of Christmas covers that could make it here, but we’ve tried to mix it up.
In no particular order:
Karel Gott – Jsou svátky
Leave it to Karel Gott to turn Barry Manilow’s Oh Mandy into a Christmas tune! That’s exactly what we’ve got here, with the titular refrain “Oh Mandy” becoming “Jsou svátky” (“Holidays are here”).
Helena Vondráčková – Bílé Vánoce
White Christmas has also been covered by Karel Černoch, Jitka Zelenková, Rudolf Cortéz, Yvetta Simonová, Jiřína Saláčová, and of course… Karel Gott.
Pavla Forstová & Jiří Korn – To k Vánocům patří
There’s no topping John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over), but this nostalgic rendition sung by Pavla Forstová & Jiří Korn is a lyrical treat. Also covered by Věra Špinarová (as Až za modrou horou), along with numerous others.
Dan Bárta & Ozón – Na nebi svítí
Charles Brown’s R&B hit Please Come Home for Christmas has been covered by The Eagles, Bon Jovi, and Kelly Clarkson, among others. But we think this soulful Czech version by rocker Dan Bárta might be the best. Also covered by Lucie Bílá & Kamil Střihavka (as Hvězdy) and Helena Vondráčková (as Přijď do Vánoc domů).
Lunetic – Rok A Den
WHAM’s Last Christmas was turned into one of this early 2000s Czech boy band’s biggest hits. Also covered by Petr Kotvald as Zář Vánoc.
Hana Zagorová – Rolničky
The ever-popular Jingle Bells has been covered by Karel Černoch, Karel Gott, Lucie Bílá, Jitka Zelenková, Rudolf Cortéz, Dáda Patrasová and more, but this version by Hana Zagorová has become the Czech standard.
Lucie Bílá – Tichá noc
One of the most famous Christmas carols in both Czech and English, the timeless Silent Night has been covered by numerous artists including Marta Kubišová, Karel Gott, Karel Černoch, Yvetta Simonová, and many others.
Josef Vágner – Hezké svátky
This soulful cover of Shakin’ Stevens’ holiday classic Merry Christmas Everyone is by the son of famed Czech bassist Karel Vágner, who played for Karel Gott, Hana Zagorová, and others.
Markéta Konvičková – Na Vánoce k našim
This recent version of Chris Rea’s Driving Home for Christmas by Český slavík-winning singer Markéta Konvičková has yet to become a classic, but give it time. More famously covered by Helena Vondráčková.
David Deyl – Svatý čas
Santa doesn’t really exist in the Czech Republic, so it’s ‘Holy Time’ in this version of John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie’s classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town.