The bright life of a small and at the same time great man - the story of Willie Tokarev
Willie Tokarev - one of the brightest and most interesting representatives of the domestic scene. However - he is also an American performer! At the age of 40, Tokarev left for the West with a hundred dollars in his pocket! Those were not easy times - no one in the USA, in fact, Willie didn't expect. Nevertheless, he managed to withstand the blows of fate and carry out his "American Dream.".
But his years away from home are not the only ones worth noting. In our country Willie also had time to see and do a lot, both before America and after his return. He was an extraordinary man - warm-hearted, open, generous and loving to his admirers. People who had a chance to communicate with Tokarev personally say in one voice: he did his job on good consciencehe did not suffer from star sickness, he was always pleasant and easy to talk to. Despite his short stature (only 1.51 m), Willie Ivanovich was a great man! And his difficult fate It looks like a real Hollywood blockbuster...
He was in close contact with both the stars of the national music scene and the authorities. of the criminal underworldI never hid or was embarrassed about it. Otherwise, it was difficult to survive in those years - for example, if I had not "Japonchik." (Vyacheslav Ivankov), in America Willie would simply disappear... One day the singer was approached by the Italian mafia, who wanted money. It was to "Japonchik", who settled the matter, that Tokarev dedicated the song "Glory.". He also helped find a "fictitious" wife so that Ivankov could stay in the States. But that's another story.
Early Years and Early Beginnings
Contrary to popular belief, Tokarev was not Jewish - he was born into a family of Kuban Cossacks in 1934 at Chernyshev's farm. Already at the age of 14 Willy (real name Vilen) worked as a stoker on a ship! Then service, studies, work - the young double bassist played in the most famous pop orchestras of the country, including "Contemporary." Anatoly Kroll! During this period Willie discovered himself a poet - it was his pen that belonged to "Rain." Edyta Piekha, "Who is guilty?" Anatoly Korolev and other well-known compositions. And his song "Apatity is a Polar town." (together with Vladimir Yartsev) has become an informal anthem for Apatity citizens!
Willie moved to Murmansk not out of the goodness of his heart, but because of the persecution of jazz musicians. Here, in fact, he became local starand his famous "Murmanchanka" - his first big hit. But soon his work gets "blacklisted," as a result of which Tokarev decides to take a risky step - he leaves his native land and goes to USA with a hundred dollars in his pocket.
America was not expecting at all 40-year-old Soviet musician with open arms. Moreover, it was very hard for Willie to settle in the new country: when he worked as a nurse, his colleagues were trying to drive him out of the team - they did not like the Russian man. Tokarev was a courier, a janitor, a newspaper deliverer... He was even unemployed - he knew English badly, and without it in a foreign country, the roads were closed to him. So he taught himself by reading American newspapers. And later cab driver I was in a different, true crime story. In those years, New York cab drivers had a hard time - robberies and assaults were commonplace. For example, Tokarev was robbed many times, and several times his life was on the line...
But Willie Wasn't discouraged.: spoke in the "Carnegie Hall. with a balalaika bought at a souvenir shop for 50 dollarsand saved up money to record the album. In order to release the album "And Life Is Always Beautiful! $25,000! A colossal sum for those days! And the record, ironically, was not a success. But the second album. "In a noisy jumble." The Russian-speaking émigrés fell in love with these songs with no memory! Soon they reached the USSR, where every third person sang "In the Noisy Balagan"!
On the wave of success Tokarev performed in popular Russian restaurants, founded own label and recorded about twenty more albums! But suddenly he decided to return to his homeland...
"Home, Sweet Home."
Willie came home at the end of the '80s, and not "empty-handed," but with concerts! All 70 performances The concerts were a huge success - the tickets were sold out faster than hotcakes! Some people liked the concerts very much, some didn't - but many people found in Willie's songs something close and necessary at that moment. At a time of difficult perestroika...
A year later, Tokarev repeated his tour - the excitement did not subside at all. That's how Willie got his start in life for two countries - The artist was not going to say goodbye to America, despite all the trouble it had caused him.
"I am grateful to America for sheltering me and allowing me to do what I wanted to do - it was a great, very valuable experience. But when I was there, even in the period of creative growth, I never forgot my roots. Russia is always in my heart...".
A turbulent personal life and the sunset of history
Willie Tokarev was a man bright, charismatic, spectacular! And no wonder his personal life was so turbulent - three wives, four children, and grandchildren! Willie married his first wife when he was a student. This marriage turned out to be fatal, but in it was born a son, Anton. The second wife, Svetlana, appeared in Willie's life in the early 90s, when the musician was on tour in the Soviet Union. Alas, the woman turned out to be mercenary - she moved her entire family to the USA at the expense of her husband. She gave birth to Tokarev's son Alex, who today lives in New York. Feeling that she needed only money, Willie divorced...
Tokarev's last love and wife was very young Yulia, the age difference between her and Willie. 40 years! But no one was embarrassed by this. The couple was happy, and two children were born to this union - daughter Evelina and son Mylene.
Phenomenal poet, performer, actor and chansonnier is gone in 2019: Willie Tokarev passed away from cancer at the age of 84. The musician himself planned to live at least 100 years, but a serious illness did not allow these plans to come true...