From incredible fame to exile.
Vice Vukov, then a young singer who achieved dizzying success a few years earlier by singing his hit composition "Mirno teku rijeki" (Smoothly Flowing Rivers) at the Opatija festival, was known for his patriotism and expression of feelings that were considered "nationalistic" in the former state.
He was first declared politically suspect in 1967 at the Krapin Festival. There he sang the winning song "Vužgaj", during which he wore a Zagorje costume.
After accepting the prize for winning the festival, he said that it was "a special honor for him to wear that beautiful Croatian costume". Immediately afterwards, he becomes a politically dubious personality. After participating in the "Song of the Summer" festival in 1968, the government at the time claimed that Vice, dissatisfied with the defeat at the competition, said that the tickets "were given to Serbian officers" while "Croatian Zivaj watched the performance behind the wire". Most of the Yugoslav performers who participated in the she publicly took Vic's side at that festival. They claimed that Vice never said such a thing. Some of them were Mišo Kovač, Arsen Dedić, Lola Jovanović and Đorđe Marjanović.
At the next festival in which he participated - "Song of Summer", he refused to wear a badge with the name of the festival written on the label. He stated that in every republic he wants to wear a badge with the language and script of that republic. After that, the Belgrade newspapers declared him a nationalist, but the authorities have not yet succeeded in indicting him. In 1970, he performed again at the Krapina Festival, in front of Tito. The organizers insist that the ribbon with the Croatian tricolor be turned upside down so that it resembles the Yugoslav one. Vice refused.
Also, in the same year at a concert in Postire on Brač, according to the media of the time, Vice, when asked by the audience to repeat his aria from the opera Zrinski, said: - You want Zrinjski, don't you? Don't be afraid: I think about it more than you! - and then adds: - And where are the sabers? It doesn't work without that... - while waving his hands in the air.
After that, he became a symbol of the Croatian Spring and was banned from any public activity in Yugoslavia. His records are withdrawn from sale, and his singles are removed from the radio charts.