Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gloomy Sunday: A Musical Downer

Recently Bilbo posted a most delightful German love song on his blog.  The singer sings most charmingly, even though I don't understand German.

Here a song of a different type of some minor historical note.  Upfront, I will say that I don't know Hungarian or Hungarian culture; I'm familiar only with Litsz and Zichy.  This is the infamous Hungarian Suicide Song!

This is a melancholic song entitled Vége a világnak (The world is ending), written by Hungarian composer Rezső Seress back in 1933.  Soon afterward, László Jávor wrote a poem that was set to music and translated as Sad Sunday.  It was a despairing song, apparently motivated by 1930's pessimism and the rise of fascism in Hungary,

 It was commonly entitled Gloomy Sunday in English and was by urban legend related to a number of suicides back in Hungary.  Therefore, it was banned from radio play.  Frankly, the song is a downer; the only evidence for it being banned was by BBC in the 1940's because it was deemed demoralizing to the war effort.  Gloomy Sunday was covered by Billy Holliday back in 1941; later versions were done by Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughn, Marianne Faithfull, Serge Gainsborough, Ricky Nelson, Ray Charles, Lou Rawls, and Elvis Costello among others.

Don't listen to it if you're feeling depressed; as a matter of fact, just taste it by listening to the intro.

Bjork does a good version, even though this is a departure from her songs which are usually upbeat and bounc.:

Then there's Gustav Mahler's morbid Kindertotenleider (Song of Dead Children)  to make you blue, should you choose.  There's a country song that's hard to take: Sunday Morning Coming Down.  It's for drinking beer and feeling sorry for yourself.  It lacks that special pizazz that country music has.  Taste these kinds of music in small doses.  Life is too brief for gloomy songs.


TexWisGirl said...

yikes! just had a bit of the first and its tragic feel. i need to wash out my head with 'happy' now. :)

Juliette said...

That is a real downer!

Mike said...

The first video doesn't make me want to do anything to myself but it does make me want to put him out of his misery.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Why did so many name singers record it? I would have guessed it would not have enhanced their careers.

Cloudia said...

You are MY kinda gal! Love how fascinated you are with life's intellectual and historic minutiae.
In fact I'm feeling better about ultimately leaving this realm, as I shall evidently be leaving it in the care and keeping of kindred minds like yours, Dear.

Unique ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thank you, Cloudia!

Mike, it is painful!

TexWisGirl, you got the idea.

Juliette, yup!

Bilbo said...

Thanks for the shout! As it happens, I am of Hungarian descent on my father's side, and can tell you that today's Hungarians are not nearly so down. For something a bit more upbeat (and with a really cool video), try Csemer Boglarka's (aka Boggie's) song "Parfum" (on YouTube at

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