Jerzy Połomski, beloved Polish crooner of the 1960s and 1970s, dies at 89

Originally from Radom, Połomski wanted to become an architect. Fortunately, the communist authorities in charge of admission to the school of architecture decided that they had to fill their quota of proletarians first.

Jerzy Połomski was born Jerzy Pająk on September 18, 1933 in Radom, a town about 100 kilometers south of the capital Warsaw. He spent his childhood and youth in his hometown, where he graduated in construction from a technical secondary school.

He moved to Warsaw, where he hoped to pursue his dream of becoming an architect. The only reason it was not accepted was that some studies at the time gave extra entry points to those who came from proletarian and peasant backgrounds. Or were members of the Communist Union of Polish Youth.

Thus, facilitated by the absurdities of communism, the loss of architecture was the gain of the Polish scene.

He successfully passed the entrance exams to the State Higher Theater School in Warsaw. There, his lecturer and mentor, the legendary actor whose career dates back to before World War II, suggested he change his name to one worthy of an entertainer. His original surname, Pająk, is a common name meaning “spider”.

Sempoliński also advised the young artist to focus his career entirely on music instead of acting. This advice was initially ignored. Jerzy, now Połomski, graduated in 1957, with a degree in dramatic acting and stage performance.

Połomski acted in several dramas, while also performing at Studio Buffo, one of Warsaw’s best-known musical theaters. As his mentor, Sempoliński, recounted, Połomski was disenchanted with his two seasons at Studio Buffo, receiving only silly and trivial novelty songs to perform. But he didn’t let that dampen his dynamism and he also worked with Polish radio.

Radio listeners loved his baritone voice, and he in fact became so popular that in the 1958 plebiscite for the most popular Polish singers held by Polish Radio, he came second.

He was rumored to have won first place, but radio director famed Polish composer Władysław Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody in Oscar-winning ‘The Pianist’) thought he wouldn’t. not fair for a young upstart like Połomski to conquer the famous Mieczysław Fogg, another star who has remained consistently popular since before the war.

Połomski continued to gain popularity throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. At the first International Song Festival in Sopot he won second prize and at the 6th National Festival of Polish Song in Opole he won received a prize from the Society of Friends of Opole.

As her career gained momentum, the number of popular hits to her credit grew, with some of her best-known songs including “Bo z dziewczynami” (The Trouble With Girls) and “Cała sala śpiewa z nami” (The whole room sings with us). He was known for his renditions of beloved pre-war songs, as well as his covers from abroad, such as “Formidable”, “Kilimanjaro” and “House of the Rising Sun”. His singing style earned him the nickname of Polish Frank Sinatra or Charles Aznavour, although he distanced himself from such comparisons.

Połomski has also performed abroad, in countries including the UK, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, USSR, Yugoslavia, Romania and Hungary. He has also traveled through the Big Drink, performing in Cuba, as well as the United States and Canada. In Chicago, the local Polish diaspora honored him three times as the community’s most popular singer, in 1967, 1968 and 1969. His tours took him to the Land Down Under.

His popularity continued and in 2009 he received the Złoty Fryderyk Award in the category of lifetime achievement.

Deteriorating hearing caused him to retire from performing in 2019. He lived in Warsaw until moving to the House of Veteran Performing Artists in Skolimowo in 2021.

Jerzy Połomski died at the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Interior and Administration in Warsaw on November 14, 2022.

The source:

Comments are closed.