Oliver Dragojević

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Oliver Dragojević
Oliver Dragojević (8) (cropped).jpg
Dragojević performing live in Spaladium Arena, in 2010.
Background information
Birth nameOliver Dragojević
Also known asOli
Born(1947-12-07)7 December 1947
Split, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
OriginVela Luka, Croatia
Died29 July 2018(2018-07-29) (aged 70)
Split, Croatia
  • vocals
  • piano
Years active1974–2017[1]

Oliver Dragojević (7 December 1947 – 29 July 2018) was a Croatian recording artist, who was considered one of the most enduring musical stars and cultural icons in Croatia with a discography that spanned nearly five decades.[2] His style blended traditional klapa melodies of Dalmatia, a coastal region in his native Croatia, with jazz motifs wrapped up in a modern production. For his influential musical career, he reached critical and commercial acclaim in Croatia and neighbouring countries, and numerous accolades, including numerous Porin and Indexi awards. He is one of the few Croatian musicians who performed at major international venues such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, L'Olympia and Sydney Opera House.[3]


Dragojević's father Marko (1908–1991) and mother Kata (1907–1994) had three daughters, all of whom died young during the Second World War. His family escaped to a refugee camp in El Shatt, Egypt, together with many other women and children from Dalmatia.[3] Oliver was born on 7 December 1947 in Split, not long after his family returned to their ancestral town of Vela Luka, on the Dalmatian island of Korčula. He had an older brother, Aljoša (1946–2011). When Oliver was five, his father Marko bought each of his sons a harmonica. Oliver mastered the instrument quickly, and entertained other kids on his street, as well as passengers on board of ships on the busy route of Vela Luka – Split. As Oliver showed a strong passion for music, his parents decided to enroll him in a music school in Split. There he learned to play the piano, clarinet and bass guitar.[3]"I attended school in Split, but I always loved being at home, and I spent all my free time in Vela Luka. In winter we would harvest olives, and would warm up with wood-burning stoves, though the room always stayed cold. The house was old and dingy, but my mom, dad, brother, cousins, and aunts were there – the house was always full," he recalled.[3] He married Vesna Dragojević in 1974, with whom he had three sons, Dino (b. 1975) and twin Damir and Davor (b. 1978).

Illness and death[edit]

In August 2017, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.[4] In June 2018, he was hospitalised in the Split Hospital due to breathing difficulties, while on 29 July 2018 at 2:00 AM, Dragojević died after succumbing to a year long battle with lung cancer in the Split Hospital.[5][6][7] The Croatian Government declared 31 July 2018 as the National Day of Condolences to honour him.[8] Also, on 31 July 2018, over 10,000 people on Riva in Split, terraced the coffin with his body to the catamaran for Vela Luka.[9] He was buried at the St. Roko Graveyard in Vela Luka, on 1 August 2018.[10]


Dragojević's first performance was at the "Split Children's Festival" in 1961 with the song "Baloni". In a competition of amateur singers, his cult band from Split, "Batali" won first place for their rendition of "Yesterday", a Beatles classic. In 1972, Oliver went abroad to further develop his craft. He played in clubs across Germany, Sweden and Mexico. His solo singing career began in 1974 at the Split Festival, where he won with the song "Ča će mi Copacabana".[11]

A year later, composer Zdenko Runjić and Dragojević, released the song "Galeb i ja". It proved to be a big hit across the former SFR Yugoslavia and made Dragojević a household name. This was followed by hits "Romanca", "Oprosti mi, pape", "Stari morski vuk". Runjić would further collaborate with Dragojević on further 200 songs, until Runjić's death. Between 1975-1980, the Dragojević/Runjić duo dominated the music scene of the former SFR Yugoslavia. Part of the secret of their success was a third contributor, Jakša Fiamengo, who wrote the lyrics to some of Dragojević's most iconic songs, namely: "Nadalina", "Piva klapa ispod volta", "Karoca", "Ništa nova", "Infiša san u te", and "Ostavljam te samu".[3] In 1990, Dragojević won the Split Festival with Ti is moj san, and the Jugovizija Jamboree with the song Sreća je tamo gdje si ti, both collaboration with Zorica Kondža.[12][13]


  • 1975: Ljubavna pjesma
  • 1976: Našoj ljubavi je kraj
  • 1976: Split 76
  • 1977: Malinkonija
  • 1978: Poeta
  • 1979: Vjeruj u ljubav
  • 1980: Oliver 5
  • 1981: Đelozija
  • 1981: Jubavi, jubavi
  • 1982: Karoca
  • 1984: Evo mene među moje
  • 1985: Svoju zvizdu slidin
  • 1986: Za sva vrimena
  • 1987: Oliver
  • 1987: Pionirsko kolo
  • 1988: Svirajte noćas za moju dušu
  • 1989: Oliver u HNK
  • 1990: Jedina
  • 1992: Teško mi je putovati
  • 1994: Neka nova svitanja
  • 1994: Sve najbolje
  • 1995: Vrime
  • 1996: Oliver u Lisinskom
  • 1997: Duša mi je more
  • 1998: Štorija 1
  • 1998: Štorija 2
  • 1998: Štorija 3
  • 1998: Štorija 4
  • 1998: Štorija 5
  • 2000: Dvi, tri riči
  • 2001: Oliver u Areni
  • 2002: Trag u beskraju
  • 2003: Vjeruj u ljubav 2003
  • 2005: Vridilo je
  • 2006: The Platinum Collection
  • 2006: Oliver à l'Olympia
  • 2007: Kozmički dalmatinac
  • 2010: Samo da je tu
  • 2013: Tišina Mora

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oliver posljednji koncert održao u rodnom Splitu: Pogledajte djelić atmosfere" (in Croatian). 29 July 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  2. ^ Zadar In Your Pocket by Višnja Arambašić, Nataly Anderson, Frank Jelinčić & Tocher Mitchell. Culture and Events (p11)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Oliver Dragojević". Večernji.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  4. ^ "NAJPOPULARNIJEG HRVATSKOG PJEVAČA: Oliveru Dragojeviću je dijagnosticiran karcinom: 'Da, bolestan sam…'". net.hr. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  5. ^ Thomas, Mark. "Oliver Dragojevic dies after losing battle with cancer – The Dubrovnik Times". www.thedubrovniktimes.com. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  6. ^ "Popular Ex-Yugoslavia Singer Oliver Dragojevic Dies at 70". U.S.News & World Report. 29 July 2018.
  7. ^ "U 71. godini života preminuo Oliver Dragojević". www.tportal.hr. 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  8. ^ "SUTRA DAN NACIONALNE SUĆUTI U HRVATSKOJ ZBOG SMRTI OLIVERA DRAGOJEVIĆA Plenković: 'Vlada je odluku donijela na telefonskoj sjednici'". jutarnji.hr. 30 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Deseci tisuća Splićana uz bakljadu posljednji puta pozdravili Olivera". direktno.hr. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  10. ^ "DRAGOJEVIĆ: Hauser je otpjevao 'Galeb i ja', na pogreb došli Gibonni, Dino Rađa, Enis Bešlagić, Šuica…". net.hr. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Nagrade 1970-1979". Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  12. ^ Zorica Kondža: Nadam se da ću uz tri sina imati jednu dobru nevistu
  13. ^ ZORICA KONDŽA Vratila sam se svojim korijenima rock and rollu. Ne treba mi dijeta, po koncertu gubim četiri kilograma

External links[edit]