The tragic death of Mikhail Krug in 2002 shocked not only relatives but the whole country. Fans called him “the king of Russian chanson” and loved him for his sincerity and directness. But even for those who knew all the hits of the Circle by heart, his life and the circumstances of his death remained shrouded in mystery for a long time.
The stage image and lyrics of the songs indicated, if not involvement, then the musician’s close acquaintance with criminal authorities. Many politicians were present at the artist’s funeral, in particular – Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
“For the first time in my life, I am burying such a good person. I have known Mikhail for several years. He was my assistant. We sympathized with each other. A wonderful guy – quiet, calm, he never had pretentiousness, arrogance, which is inherent in many pop singers. I always have his tape playing in my car. It’s like medicine. If criminals knew who they entered, they would not do it. Their arms and legs would be numb, ”the LDPR leader, who knew the singer personally, recalled.
The Circle began its creative path in the 1980s. While the stars, who sometimes simply copied the style of foreign pop culture, appeared on the domestic stage, Krug composed his own songs, reflecting the changing reality of the Russian people.
There were no forbidden topics for him, so he did not hesitate to use thug slang, give concerts in places of imprisonment and he could become a participant in the fight. The image of the rebel and the repertoire caused a lot of criticism – he was accused of romanticizing prison life. The circle, in particular, was often reproached with the fact that the lyrical heroes of his songs were thieves, prostitutes, murderers.
The artist himself did not agree with the opinion of colleagues who turned a blind eye to social problems.
In many cases, even in most cases, there are those who should not be in prison. Just weak people – stolen a penny, seduced by a bottle of vodka. Those who could be forgiven, but since there is a plan to solve crimes, these are the people who fill our prisons, – Krug explained in an interview.
At the same time, the musician’s work was not devoid of sentimentality – it left room for hope and memories of first love, as in the songs “Pie Girl”, “Mouse”, “Let’s talk”, “Good, stupid, old”. For this reason, he considered the criticism unfounded:
“The absence of artists of our genre on television already shows that this is not show business. There are obstacles, prohibitions, taboos of all kinds on our genre. We allegedly call on young people to use violence and other things. But these are stupid excuses. In fact, despite the lack of advertising, music videos, airtime, we are very close to the so-called popular stage.
Indeed, Krug toured the country a lot, as well as performing in Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Israel and the United States, where he gave concerts mainly for Russian migrants. It was then that the concept of “Russian chanson” appeared with the light hand of foreigners, although the musician himself did not agree with this definition of the genre. He believed that the roots of his music were closer to the work of the childhood idol Vladimir Vysotsky than to the French chanson.
Vysotsky called this genre “court romance”, some – “emigrant music”. This is a genre in which intellectuals, artists, doctors and artists have invested their art… And those who have been in prison, ”Krug said.
Despite the fact that the artist studied at a music school, it was thanks to Vysotsky that at the age of 11 he learned to play the guitar on his own and began composing his first songs. Later he became acquainted with the songs of Alexander Rosenbaum, the Pearl brothers and Alexander Novikov, which showed in which direction he should develop.
In 1987, after winning the “Afghanistan” song contest, Mikhail Krug released his debut album “Gigan-Lemon” – both events were turning points in the career of the novice bard. It was thanks to the records, which partly spread through the pirate market, that his work began to spread throughout the country.
During his career he wrote and performed such hits as “Vladimir Central”, “Zhigan-Limon”, “Magadan”, “My Dear City”. And surprisingly, his songs were equally popular among the criminal community and law enforcement officials; both among his contemporaries and the younger generation.
The phenomenon of Mikhail Krug’s popularity in an interview with “Gazeta.Ru” was explained by his colleague in the genre, chansonnier Evgeny Grigoriev, performing under the creative pseudonym “Zheka”:
Mikhail Krug is, of course, a block. He had a great influence on the genre of Russian urban romance and how popular this direction can be in our country. He has a very pleasant baritone that excites the souls and hearts of all generations, regardless of profession, gender, age and level of education. Even those people who did not have the opportunity to hear it live because they were children know about it. His songs are still alive – 20 years later.
According to Grigoriev, he failed to get to know the artist personally, as he recorded his first songs at the beginning of the zeros, when Mikhail Krug was no longer alive. However, he was very impressed by the bard’s work, especially the song “Gigan-Lemon”.