VIS Idoli

Idoli (Serbian Cyrillic: Идоли; trans. The Idols) were a new wave band from Belgrade, SR Serbia. They are considered to be one of the greatest and most influential Yugoslav rock bands and their 1982 album "Odbrana i poslednji dani" was voted by the critics as the greatest Yugoslav rock album.

Infobox musical artist
Name = Idoli

Img_capt =
Img_size = 250
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Alias = VIS Idoli
Origin = Belgrade, Serbia
Genre = New Wave Punk rock Art rock Pop rock
Years_active = 1980–1984
Label = Izgled Jugoton Croatia Records City Records PGP RTS
Associated_acts = Apartchiks
Dobrovoljno Pevačko Društvo Die Tonzentrale Propaganda Zona B
URL = [ Homepage]
Current_members =
Past_members = Vlada Divljan Nebojša Krstić Srđan Šaper Boža Jovanović Kokan Popović Zdenko Kolar Branko Isaković Goran Vejvoda


Merlin and Zvuk Ulice

The roots of Idoli can be found in a band called Merlin and then Zvuk Ulice consisting of Vlada Divljan on guitar and vocals, bassist Zdenko Kolar, keyboard player Dragan Mitrić, drummer Kokan Popović, Bora Antić on saxophone and Dragana Milković on piano and vocals. The band played a combination of jazz and pop rock. Beside performing cover versions of notable foreign bands from the sixties, the band wrote their own songs. In 1978 the band performed at BOOM festival in Novi Sad and Zaječar Guitar festival in 1979. Even though the band had several recording sessions in Radio Belgrade, none of the material was released. Mitrić went to Bulevar and Popović went to Slađana Milošević's band.

VIS Dečaci and formation of the band

The first ideas of forming Idoli came up in 1979 when a youth magazine published photos of a band called Dečaci which were actually photos of the first Idoli lineup. For example on March 8, 1979 a photo signed "Dečaci emancipuju žene" ("The Boys emancipate women"). At the same time Belgrade walls were ornamented with graffiti announcing the formation of the band. "Margita je dečak" ("Margita is a boy", the first ever graffiti in Belgrade dedicated to Margita Stefanović who later became Katarina II keyboardist.), "Dečaci ne plaču" ("Boys Don't Cry") or "Srđane budi čovek" ("Srđan, be a man") are only a few examples. Having created a media campaign and gained the public's attention, the band had to prove their existence and start playing.

VIS Idoli was officially formed on March 1, 1980 when the band had their first rehearsal. The first lineup consisted of primary school friends Vlada Divljan (guitar, vocals), Zdenko Kolar (bass), Boža Jovanović (drums) and Divljan's high school friends Srđan Šaper (percussion, vocals) and Nebojša Krstić (percussion). At that time the band collaborated with Dragan Papić who was a kind of media activist. The band manipulated the media very well. For example, they announced they were changing the name for a couple of times and the new names would be Apoloni 5 or Idoli plus bradonje ("The Idols plus the bearded") because Kolar and Jovanović wore beards. On June 1980, the band made their first live appearance at Belgrade's SKC (Student's Cultural Center) with the leading Serbian new wave acts. After a month of existance the band released their first single with a magazine called "Vidici" and it consisted of two tracks, "Pomoć, pomoć" ("Help, help") and "Retko te viđam sa devojkama" ("I Rarely See You With Girls") which is a gay-themed song. The band recorded another version of the track as a B-side of Maljčiki single, but this time in Zagreb with producer Goran Bregović. At that time the band had already parted ways with Papić. At Subotica Youth Festival they appeared with the track "Zašto su danas devojke ljute?" ("Why Are The Girls Angry Today?") and got one of the prizes. On this festival new wave bands from Zagreb and Belgrade met for the first time.

Idoli, with Električni Orgazam and Šarlo Akrobata participated in the project called "Paket aranžman" with four tracks, "Schwule Über Europa" (German for "Boredom Over Europe") (a parody on the attitude towards Germans) "Plastika" ("Plastic"), "Maljčiki" (Russian for "Boys", a parody on Russians) and "Amerika" ("America"). The promotional video for "Maljčiki" was banned on national television and some radio stations after the Soviet embassy responded.


The first independent concert the band had on June 25 in the garden of Belgrade's SKC. The scalpers sold the tickets four times more expensive than the original price. The opening acts were Bezobrazno Zeleno, Via Talas, Marko Brecelj and Feo Volarić.

The next release was a self-titled EP or mini LP as it was called in former Yugoslavia. It featured six tracks including cover version of Chuck Berry's "Come On" ("Hajde") and Darko Kraljić's "Devojko mala". Film member Malden Juričić Max made guest appearance playing harmonica and Jurij Novoselić from Videosex played organ. The record was produced by another Film member, Ivan Stančić Piko. The cover of the album is Red Nude by Amedeo Modigliani. Jugoton rereleased this EP with Film's live EP in Kulušić. A tour with Film came in 1981 when they traveled in a boat and played in sea side resorts. In the summer of 1981, a new drummer became Kokan Popović who previously played with Divljan in Merlin and Zvuk Ulice.

The band started recording their first album in autumn 1981 with Goran Vejvoda and Dušan Mihajlović Spira who ought to have been the assistant producer as they wanted to produce the record by themselves. After a short period Mihajlović left and the only assistance was Mile Miletić Pile. The recording of the album took more than four hundred hours which was a record in former Yugoslavia never to be broken. Guests on the album were Bebi Dol who did backing vocals on "Odbrana" ("Defence"), Vuk Vujačić, Goran Grbić and Slobodan Grozdanović were a brass section on "Senke su drugačije" ("The Shadows Are Different"). "Odbrana i poslednji dani" came out in early 1982. It got the name by a Borislav Pekić book with the same title on which the whole album is based on. It is a complex concept album dealing with an anthropological approach towards orthodoxy. The album also deals with topics which would later to became popular. The track "Poslednji dani" ("The Last Days") originally entitled "Maršal" ("Marshall"), dedicated to former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito, did not include the last verse due to the record company disapproval. Jugoton also turned down the original cover for the album which ought to have been a reproduction of a fresco White Angel from Mileševa monastery. A detail from a cloth on a Saint Nicholas icon was used as the substitute cover and tho one used on the album. The font used on the record was a Cyrillic font similar to the one used in the Miroslav's Gospel. The band won the best album and the best cover award in 1982. In 1986 Yugoslav rock critics voted "Odbrana i poslednji dani" the best Yugoslav rock album of all times.

On July 1982 Zdenko Kolar went to serve in the army and his replacement was Bulevar bassist Branko Isaković. The band started recording a new album in London with the producer Bob Painter. Even though the band changed their style to pop/rock, "Čokolada" went platinum and the title track became their greatest commercial hit. There was a slight scandal about the track because Dušan Gerzić composed it for the band Via Talas and Šaper presented it as an Idoli track. However, Gerzić was credited co-autor on "Bambina" which was released as a single. For this record Divljan wrote only "Radostan dan", "Vetar i zastave" and "Ja sam tu" (for which Divljan added a verse from Mišo Kovač track "Plakat će zora" written by Drago Britvić) because he was about to graduate at Mining and geology university in Belgrade. At the same time Šaper graduated movie directing. Guest appearances on the album were reporter Vivien Goldman who was a guest vocalist and producer Bob Painter who played keyboards. The original idea was to release a double EP called "U gradu bez sna", but Jugoton refused and released it as a long play album.

In 2007 Croatia Records released a four-CD box set "VIS Idoli" consisting of all studio works exept the first Vidici single. The same record label released a box set consisting of "Paket aranžman" and Električni Orgazam and Šarlo Akrobata debut albums.

Breakup and post-breakup

After performing in Ljubljana, in March 1984, due to conflicts between the members, the band ceased to exist. The last Idoli release was a soundtrack for the movie "Šest dana juna" directed by Dinko Tucaković. Most of the soundtrack was written by Divljan, while other members took part in the recording process. Šaper did the vocals, Kolar and Isaković did the bass, Piko Stančić and Boban Đorđević did the drums, keyboards were recorded by Đorđe Petrović and Dragan Ilić and guitars by Katarina II member Dragomir Mihajlović Gagi and saxophone by Vuk Vujačić. Guest vocalists were Mišo Kovač on "Da je duži moj dan" ("If My Day Was Longer") and folk singer Jahija Gračanlić (also know as the Cosmic Bosnian) on "Ja je zovem meni da se vrate" ("I Am Calling Her To Come Back") appearing instead of a Divljan's gay-themed folk song "Zaljubljen sam u svog jarana" ("I Am In Love With My Mate") which remained unreleased to this day.

Following the group's departure, Krstić and Šaper wrote music for the singer Biljana Krstić, they also recorded an album called "Poslednja mladost u Jugoslaviji" with the band Unutrašnja Imperija (consisting of Dragomir Mihajlović Gagi (guitar), Branko Isaković (bass) and Dragoljub Đuričić (drums)). They withdrawn form the musical life. Šaper started a marketing business with his firm "Idols & Friends", worked as a creative director in "Saachi & Saachi" and "Ogilvy & Mather" and lately is the head of "McErricson". He acted and wrote the theme for "Davitelj protiv davitelja" and directed music videos and worked on TV and movie soundtracks. He is also active in politics and is head of the Serbian Democratic Party. Krstić became a doctor on Vis isle and then in "Hajat" hotel in Belgrade. He also acted in the film "Šest dana juna". After medical career he took up marketing until he became president Boris Tadić's advisor. He is also a member of the Democratic Party.In 1995 the two recorded one more album this time forming a band Dobrovoljno Pevačko Društvo with Zoran Kiki Lesendrić from Piloti. The CD was called "Nedelja Na Duhove and was released through Eastfield Music. The album was recorded in Budapest and produced and arranged by Kiki Lesendrić. As studio musicians appeared Nenad Stefanović Japanac (bass and guitar), Milan Đurđević (keyboards), Istvan Alapi (guitar) and Zoltan Hetenyi (drums). Backing vocals were done by Aleksandra and Kristina Kovač.

Divljan started a solo career in 1998 he released his first solo album "Tajni život A. P. Šandorova" and with Srđan Gojković Gile from Električni Orgazam released two rock albums for children, "Rokenrol za decu" ("Rock 'n' Roll For Children) in 1989 and Rokenrol bukvar ("Rock 'n' Roll Alphabet") in 1990. In 1991 he moved to Australia only to return in 1995 when he formed the Old Stars Band. The recordings of two shows, on January 18 and 24 in M Studio in Novi Sad, was released on live album Odbrana i zaštita (B 92, 1996). In 1999 he moved to Vienna. His next two albums were released with Old Stars Band. In the meantime he collaborated with Kiril Džajkovski and worked on several movie soundtracks. At the moment he is recording a new solo album.

Zdenko Kolar worked as a driver of a trolley car and acted in TV commercials. He formed Zona B in 1987, the band recorded five albums featuring covers of blues classics and their own songs. He is also a member of the Old Stars Band.

Kokan Popović, Branko Isaković with Dragan Mitrić (keyboeards) and Nenad Morgenštajn (percussion) formed the band Propaganda. Since Popović and Mitrić played together in Zvuk Ulice, part of their material came from that period and was released on their debut record "Apatija javnosti" (PGP RTB 1982). Offering a pop structure combine with other musical genres, the record was released without tour presentation and the band ceased to exist.Popović lives in Johannesburg and in 2006 he presented to the Belgrade audience with his band Kokan and the Traitors which consists of Serbian musicians living in Johannesburg.


Idoli are certanly one of the most influental and most covered Yugoslav and Serbian rock band. Bands like Eva Braun, Ništa Ali Logopedi, Euforia, Kristali, Spiritual Pyrotechnics and other recorded cover versoions of their songs. Even rap/hip hop acts such as Gru and Wikluh Sky made versions of Idoli songs.

Various artist project Yugoton consisting of Polish rock bands recorded a tribute to Yugoslav popular new wave bands including Idoli tracks "Maljčiki" (Pol. "Malcziki") and "Retko te viđam sa devojkama" (Pol. "Rzadko widuję cię z dziewczętami"). "Maljčiki" was even released as a first single from the record.



* "Pomoć, pomoć" / "Retko te viđam sa devojkama" (Izgled, 1980) - single given as a present with the "Vidici" magazine
* "Maljčiki" / "Retko te viđam sa devojkama" (Jugoton, 1981)
* "Bambina" / "Stranac u noći" (Jugoton, 1983)
* "Ona to zna" / "Ljubavi" (Jugoton, 1985) - single given as a present with the "Džuboks" magazine


* "VIS Idoli" (Jugoton, 1981)


* "Odbrana i poslednji dani" (Jugoton, 1982)
* "Čokolada" (Jugoton, 1983)


* "Šest dana juna" (Jugoton, 1985)

Box Sets

* "Paket Aranžman" (Croatia Records, 2007) - 3 CDs Box Set
* "VIS Idoli" (Croatia Records, 2007) - 4 CDs Box Set

Various Artists Compilations

* "Paket aranžman" (Jugoton, 1980)
* "Svi marš na ples!" (Jugoton, 1981)
* "Vrući dani i vrele noći" (Jugoton, 1982)
* "Novi val osamdesetih" (City Records, 2005)
* "Pop - Vol. 1" (PGP RTS, 2005)
* "Retromanija osamdesetih" (City Records, 2006)

Tribute albums

* "Yugoton" (BMG, 2001)


* "EX YU ROCK enciklopedija 1960-2006", Janjatović Petar; ISBN 978-86-905317-1-4

External links

* [ Official Vlada Divljan and Idoli website]
* [ Unofficial Myspace]
* [ Idoli at]
* [ Idoli at Youtube]

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