Monday, April 6, 2009

Gloomy Sunday

Gloomy Sunday, also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song, was written in 1933 by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezso Seress. Based on a poem entitled "Szomoru Vasarnap" (phonetic pronunciation: sohm-orew-vush-aare-nup), the English language translation of Gloomy Sunday apparently does little justice to the original lament of a suicidal narrator devastated by the untimely death of a lover. 

The song quickly became notorious and was rumored to have been banned from the airwaves after apparently having inspired a wave of suicides. This did not prevent the song from being covered many times over by such artists as Sarah Vaughan, Sinead O'Connor, Elvis Costello and - most notably - Billie Holiday, whose soulful version (complete with a tacked on upbeat epilogue) remains the most popular. 

The rumors of mass suicide attached to the song appear to have been greatly exaggerated and possibly part of a marketing campaign to increase the songs popularity. However, Rezso Seress himself did commit suicide in 1968 after leaping from a window. Gloomy Sunday remains legendary in the annals of morbidity. Listen with caution. 

Billie Holiday's version can be heard HERE.

1 comment:

Dirgesinger said...

Well I am proud to be Hungarian:) Very strange that this song have gained so much international fame, but its worth it. I only know the original version, but goths around me see this as a hymn...

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