The animated musical Doodle faithfully mimics Khil’s performance of the Soviet-era song “I Am Very Glad As I’m Finally Returning Back Home,” as composed by Arkady Ostrovsky.
Khil first learned that his version of the tune had gained Internet fame, Google wrote on its Doodles blog, after “he heard his grandson humming the song.” The original uploaded video has been viewed more than 26 million times.
Khil, who toured the world over a long and successful career that made him a singing symbol of Leningrad, was urged to come out of retirement when the song went viral in 2010 — with such late-night hosts as Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel helping to encourage the meme. But the baritone declined, telling the Christian Science Monitor, by way of quoting Pushkin: “What is fame? … When it happens, it happens.”
Eduard Anatolyevich Khil, who died in 2012, would have been 83 Monday. Happy birthday, “Mr. Trololo.”