Guitarist Radim Hladík, one of the defining figures on the Czech progressive rock scene in the 1970s, passed away Sunday morning after a lengthy battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He was 69.
After originally performing with The Matadors in the late 1960s, Hladík formed the band Blue Effect with fellow musicians Vladimír Mišík, Jiří Kozel, and Vlado Čech in 1968.
The band’s unique blend of traditional rock, jazz, and rhythm & blues became one of the most distinctive sounds to come out of a burgeoning scene that frequently clashed with establishment ideals. Lyrics on the band’s debut album, Meditace, were forced to be altered by communist censors.
Blue Effect would release nine albums between 1970 and 1981; during the 1980s, Mišík, Kozel, and Čech gradually left the group.
But Hladík remained Blue Effect’s frontman; while the band did not release another original album, he continued to perform with replacement members until his death, appearing in concert as recently as this September in Prague.
While you may not have heard of Hladík or Blue Effect, if you’ve lived in the Czech Republic for any length of time you’ve almost certainly heard his work. Here’s a pair of Blue Effect’s most famous songs: