2 Plus 1

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2 Plus 1
Also known as Dwa Plus Jeden, 2+1
Origin Poland, Warsaw
Genres Pop, folk, country, synthpop, new wave, rock
Years active 1971–1992
1998–1999
Labels Polskie Nagrania Muza, Tonpress, Autobahn, Savitor, Sonic, PolJazz
Past members Classic line-up
Janusz Kruk
Elżbieta Dmoch
Cezary Szlązak
Former members
Andrzej Rybiński
Andrzej Krzysztofik

2 Plus 1 was a Polish band performing pop and folk music and in the later period of its activity also synthpop and rock. It was founded in 1971 in Warsaw by Janusz Kruk and Elżbieta Dmoch. The band has recorded ten studio albums, won a number of prizes and performed in many countries. 2 Plus 1 enjoyed the greatest popularity in the 1970s, as one of the most popular groups in Poland, and also in early 1980s. At the turn of these two decades the band achieved a notable success in Western Europe. The end of 2 Plus 1's activity was marked by the death of Janusz Kruk in 1992.

The group remains one of the most popular Polish bands ever. They count as one of the most influential entertainers on the history of Polish popular music, having established such evergreens as "Chodź, pomaluj mój świat", "Windą do nieba" and "Iść w stronę słońca".

History[edit]

1971-1975: Formation and early success[edit]

The band was founded in Warsaw in January 1971 by a guitarist Janusz Kruk and a flautist Elżbieta Dmoch (who in the late 1960s had formed a short lived band Warszawskie Kuranty). A new guitarist, Andrzej Rybiński, soon joined the group. The band started to co-operate with Polish lyricist Katarzyna Gärtner and became the first band to perform her songs live. Their initial performances were held in hotel Bristol in Warsaw. The trio called themselves Smak Miodu (Taste of Honey), but the name was soon changed to Dwa Plus Jeden (2 Plus 1). The originator of the new name was Maciej Pietrzyk.[1]

In the summer of 1971 the group performed during National Festival of Polish Song in Opole, where they got an award for the song "Nie zmogła go kula". It was also the first 2 Plus 1's performance in front of a large audience and the first chance to present themselves to mass receivers. However, Andrzej Rybiński very soon left the group and founded his own formation Andrzej i Eliza. After that, Andrzej Krzysztofik joined the group. With this line-up the band later took part in Kołobrzeg Festival, where they performed "Już nie będę taki głupi". In the same year 2 Plus 1 recorded their first EP, entitled simply 2+1. It contained four folk-flavoured songs. The band started to perform also abroad, among others in West Berlin and the Soviet Union.

1972 saw 2 Plus 1's next hits, "Czerwone słoneczko" and "Chodź, pomaluj mój świat", becoming massive hits and the group achieving widespread popularity. In the summer they performed at Sopot International Song Festival and in November 1972 worked for RCA Italiana.[2] In December their debut longplay was issued by Polskie Nagrania label. It was titled Nowy wspaniały świat (The New Magnificent World) and beside two previously known hits it contained the songs like "Wstawaj, szkoda dnia" or "Hej, dogonię lato" which also became popular. It sold very well and later was certified Gold.[3] In many competitions, the band was proclaimed the best group of the year. Their acoustic pop-folk music gained a high popularity, especially among teenagers.

In March 1973 Janusz Kruk and Elżbieta Dmoch got married.[3] One month later the group was invited to perform at a German TV show Disco. Although their pop-folk style differed a lot from the mainstream West European music at that time, the song "Zjechaliśmy kapelą" was received quite well. In June 2 Plus 1 performed for the third time at Opole Festival, where their song "Codzienność" got an award from the journalists. In the same year the band recorded a hit song "Gwiazda dnia" for the movie In Desert and Wilderness, based on Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel.

In the spring of 1974 2 Plus 1 visited United States and Canada for the very first time. They also performed in Scotland, France, Switzerland and West Germany. Owing to the song "Kołysanka matki" 2 Plus 1 took the 3rd place at the festival in Sopot. During that festival the band was also awarded a gold certification for their debut album. The East German band Puhdys also performed at Sopot, and later released their own cover version of the song. In that time the group took part in a TV special Piosenki z autografem among other most popular Polish artists (like Anna Jantar and Danuta Rinn), where they performed "Na luzie". British weekly magazine Music Week acclaimed 2 Plus 1 the star of the year.[4]

The band continued performing frequently in 1975, among others in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and naturally in Poland. Their second, long awaited longplay was released that year. The concept album Wyspa dzieci (The Island of Children) turned out to be another success, including previously known hits "Gwiazda dnia", "Kołysanka matki" and "Na luzie" as well as a popular title song. New arrangements, which included elements of orchestral music, showed a musical progress of 2 Plus 1. Album sold well and gathered favourable reviews. The band was then at the peak of its popularity.

1976-1979: Artistry development[edit]

The group's next song, "Odpłyniesz wielkim autem" became a hit and was issued as a single also in Germany. The band decided to write a suite entirely devoted to Zbigniew Cybulski, a famous Polish actor who had died in the late 1960s. This musical spectacle premiered in Opole in 1976 and immediately got highly flattering opinions. New songs were more mature and ambitious than the group's previous efforts. Also in 1976 Andrzej Krzysztofik left the group and was replaced by Cezary Szlązak, who had already worked with 2 Plus 1, but hadn't been an official member until then. With this line-up 2 Plus 1 achieved the greatest success.

In the early 1977, on the 10th anniversary of Cybulski's fatal death, the band started to work on the third studio album, Aktor (Actor). The album was based on the previously known musical spectacle. The biggest hit from the album was "Muzyka w serca wstąpi nam". 2 Plus 1 toured with that repertoire not only in Poland, but also in East Germany and Czechoslovakia, where the album was released as Herec. In the same year another song gained considerable popularity - "U kowala". In the middle of the 1977 2 Plus 1 recorded two songs in West Germany - "Ring Me Up" and "Free Me" and released them on a single.

Early 1978 saw the band recording their next album Teatr na drodze (Performance on the Road). On this album the band got back to their previous, more accessible style: light pop-folk music. The album contained 2 Plus 1's biggest hit "Windą do nieba", which has become a classic evergreen. Beside this, it included "Romanse za grosz", "Ding-Dong" and "Ballada łomżyńska", recorded with the legendary Polish musician Czesław Niemen. Teatr na drodze met with a massive success. In the summer 2 Plus 1 went to Cuba, where performed "La Habana mi amour" (Spanish version of "California mon amour") and recorded a TV special. During Sopot Festival the band was awarded again for "Windą do nieba" and "Ding-Dong". In 1978 another single-only hit was released, "Taksówka nr 5". It was composed after 2 Plus 1's taxi accident four years earlier.[5]

In March 1979 2 Plus 1 visited Cuba again, where their two-week tour met with success. The band also recorded a single there, with "Margarita" and "La Habana mi amour" (it turned out to be the first issue by a Polish artist ever released in Cuba).[3] In Poland 2 Plus 1's fifth studio album was published. Its title was Irlandzki tancerz (The Irish Dancer). The album was inspired by Irish folk music and contained Polish translations of 13 old Irish ballads. The critical reception of the album was highly favorable. A promotional musical film under the same title was shot to accompany the album. It premiered in May 1979. On the turn of the 1970s and the 1980s the band recorded a number of songs for Polish radio only, which were not released, including "Droga donikąd" and "Cafe Magnolia".

1979-1981: International career[edit]

In the summer of 1979 2 Plus 1 recorded the third single for German market with two pop-disco songs: "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Calico Girl". "Easy Come, Easy Go" achieved a big commercial success, especially in West Germany. The band performed it in on the popular TV show Musikladen; in East Germany, they appeared on the variety show Ein Kessel Buntes. German producers offered 2 Plus 1 recording a longplay with English-language compositions. The album Easy Come, Easy Go, recorded with German and American musicians[6] and released in the early 1980, turned out to be a success on a large scale. It spawned more hits, including "My Gipsy Lady", "More" and also "Singapore", with the latter even reaching number 7 in Japan.[7] The band drew comparisons to ABBA. The same year 2 Plus 1 appeared at the festival in Sopot as the main star with the new repertoire.

In April 1981 Polish television aired a musical program Moje marzenia which consisted of 2 Plus 1's both Polish and international hits. The same year next Polish song was recorded - "Iść w stronę słońca". It became one of the band's greatest hits. Second international album, Warsaw Nights, was released that same year as She Hotness was born. It was promoted by such hits as "Blue Lights of Pasadena" and "Mama Chita" and achieved a similar success to Easy Come, Easy Go, therefore maintaining 2 Plus 1's successful career. The band performed in Villach, Austria and spent several months touring in the USA. However, growing popularity of 2 Plus 1 in Western Europe was suddenly interrupted by the breaking out of martial law in Poland in December 1981. Travelling abroad became difficult and the group focused only on the Polish market. Their last international offering was a song called "Rocky Doctor", released two years later.

1982-1987: New musical direction[edit]

2 Plus 1 teamed up with Andrzej Mogielnicki and in 1982 a brand new single was issued, containing "Kalkuta nocą" and "Obłędu chcę". These two new wave-flavored songs foreshadowed a new musical direction of 2 Plus 1. In 1983 2 Plus 1 gave an avant-garde performance at National Festival of Polish Song in Opole where they presented songs from the forthcoming album. It was critically acclaimed and received positive opinions, especially from teenagers. Soon after that their 8th album was released, Bez limitu (No Limits). It presented a new image and musical style of 2 Plus 1. New compositions sounded like a dark mixture of rock and synthpop. Many songs from the album became hits, including an uptempo rock song "Nic nie boli" and a synth-ballad "Requiem dla samej siebie" which charted very high in Polish charts. The album included also haunting, anti-communistic anthem "Superszczur" and futuristic electro song "XXI wiek (Dla wszystkich nas)" which also gained massive popularity.

Bez limitu turned out to be a huge commercial success, selling well and getting Gold certification.[3] It also met with highly favorable critical response. The album proved that 2 Plus 1 could achieve each trend and find their place in every decade; the band was one of the very few Polish artists from the 1970s who managed to continue musical career successfully also in the 1980s, when Polish music industry was dominated with rock music.

In February 1984 2 Plus 1 performed in the Warsaw Congress Hall. During that concert the band received Gold awards for two of their albums: Easy Come, Easy Go and Bez limitu. The show was aired in television. The next 2 Plus 1 single was "Wielki mały człowiek", which preceded their next longplay. The song became one of the band's biggest hits and managed very well in the charts. The group teamed up with Maciej Zembaty and John Porter and together with these then-top musicians started to work on the new album. Video, their 9th studio album, was issued in 1985 by Savitor. Musically, the album was a follow-up to their previous release. It contained nine tracks whose arrangements were based mostly on synthpop and New Romantic. A number of songs became popular singles, including "Chińskie latawce", with English-language lines sung by Porter, "Koszmar" and the title track. A TV special was shot to promote the record. The album continued 2 Plus 1's commercial success. In 1985 Cezary Szlązak released his first and only solo single, featuring two songs - "Bezpłatny kurs" and "Inne życie, inny świat". However, that solo effort didn't turn out to be successful.

After the release of Video the band's musical activity slowed down. In 1986 only a greatest hits/live album was issued - Greatest Hits Live. The group performed live less and less and was rarely seen on the television. In 1987 Janusz started to compose music for theatrical plays. He created a musical background for the play Szaleństwa pana Hilarego, based on Julian Tuwim's short work. The band recorded one new song, "Ocalić coś", which later was published on a various artists compilation Całuj gorąco. The breakup of Janusz and Elżbieta's relationship took place in the second half of the 1980s, when Janusz left her for another woman. It was a hard wallop for Elżbieta. The couple divorced in 1989, but remained friends.[8] In spite of those problems, the band still was in active and searched the ideas for the next album.

1988-1997: Last studio album and break-up[edit]

In 1988 2 Plus 1 started working with a famous Polish lyricist, Jacek Cygan, who wrote most of the lyrics for the forthcoming album. The band appeared in a TV program Premie i premiery, where presented chosen songs from the new material. In 1989 finally the 10th studio album was issued, entitled Antidotum (Antidote), which contained ten pop-rock songs. The record didn't go as far as previous albums,[3] but several tracks gained a modest popularity - "Ocalę Cię", "Chłodnym okiem" and "Niech w Tobie gra coś pięknie". The band took off a tour in the USA. During one of the concerts Janusz Kruk, who at that time grappled with heart problems, fainted on stage. 2 Plus 1 decided to take a break from their career.

Janusz continued on composing soundtracks for plays in the following decade and in 1990 the band appeared in the program Nocny Klub Jedynki, where sang two songs: "Ameryka Cię zje" and "Margarita". In 1991 the second compilation was published - 18 Greatest Hits by Sonic Records. It was 2 Plus 1's first album issued directly in CD format and also one of the first CDs released in Poland. Year 1992 brought the end of 2 Plus 1's career, when on June 18 Janusz Kruk died of a heart attack. It was a harsh shock for Elżbieta Dmoch, who gave up public and artistic life. Afterwards the singer moved from Warsaw to a small village Gładków in the countryside where she has spent over ten following years.[9]

Sonic Records released two other compilation albums in the mid-1990s. The first one was 21 Greatest Hits in 1996 and was a sort of expanded 18 Greatest Hits re-release. In 1997 Greatest Hits Vol. 2 appeared, containing several hits and a number of previously unreleased tracks. One of them, "W środku dnia" achieved a modest airplay.

1998-present: Comeback and 2 Plus 1 today[edit]

In the fall of 1998 Cezary Szlązak and Elżbieta Dmoch decided to reactivate 2 Plus 1. Their first performance took place in one of Warsaw schools. The band turned up with a slightly new line-up - two new musicians joined them. In September the group appeared at the concert in Gniezno. The performance was highly popular and met with a warm welcome. 2 Plus 1 set up a successful tour. At the time Elżbieta appeared as a quest in the TV music program Dozwolone od lat 40, where she gave an interview.

The comeback was very successful. Live performances gathered numerous fans and many tour dates were scheduled. Allegedly, premiere songs were planned to be recorded. At the beginning of 1999 2 Plus 1 took part in the TV show Szansa na sukces, where participants covered their hits. However, it turned out to be the last TV program with 2 Plus 1 participation. Despite the successful return, in the early 1999 Elżbieta Dmoch decided to ultimately cancel all the plans and 2 Plus 1 dissolved again. Cezary Szlązak founded his own group named Cezary Szlązak Band.

At the end of the 1990s and after 2000 several 2 Plus 1 compilations appeared on the market, released by various record companies. In 2002 in Łomża a group of teenagers from the community centre staged a tribute play Iść w stronę słońca dedicated to 2 Plus 1 and consisting of band's songs. Elżbieta Dmoch appeared as a guest and performed one song with the actors.

In January 2005 Polish TV program Uwaga!, aired on TVN, devoted one episode for 2 Plus 1. The airing spread rumours on Elżbieta's current, allegedly poor living conditions. The broadcast caused a sensation in the media and many fans were moved by this information.[10] In the fall of the same year a maxi single 2 Plus 1: Interpretacje 2005 was published, including four cover versions of 2 Plus 1's classic hits, performed by contemporary Polish artists, among others Reni Jusis.[11]

In April 2008 Elżbieta Dmoch and Janusz Kruk became main characters of one episode of Taka miłość się nie zdarza on TVN Style. The program focused on the history of their love and featured parts of interviews with friends of the couple. In the summer the same year Elżbieta Dmoch appeared at 2 Plus 1 fan gathering in Warsaw. She answered fans' questions and sang several songs with them.[8]

Band members[edit]

In the mid-1970s two additional musicians performed with the band: Adam Pilawa (piano, violin) and Andrzej Wójcik (drum kit).[4]

Discography[edit]

The following listing includes only albums released when the band was in active. For the comprehensive listing of 2 Plus 1 albums and singles, see 2 Plus 1 discography.

Most popular songs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (in Polish) Wideoteka dorosłego człowieka. May 12, 2009.
  2. ^ Dariusz Michalski. Dwa iks plus igrek. Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Oficjalna strona zespołu Dwa Plus Jeden - Biografia". www.dwaplusjeden.pl. Archived from the original on 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  4. ^ a b Lech Nowicki (1975). "Czy "Dwa plus cztery"?". Świat Muzyki. 
  5. ^ "Już pół wieku jeździ taksówką". polskalokalna.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  6. ^ Lech Nowicki (1980). Non Stop. 
  7. ^ (in Polish) Uwaga! Kulisy sławy. January 2005.
  8. ^ a b "Elżbieta Dmoch - wielka artystka, wielka zagadka". www.kobieta.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Wraca do świata i ludzi". Świat & Ludzie: 5. April 19, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Iść, ciągle iść w stronę słońca". uwaga.onet.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  11. ^ "2 PLUS 1: Interpretacje 2005". www.pfm.waw.pl (in Polish). Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-03.